Fertility charting and using a menstrual calendar is like having a window to peek in on your fertility cycle. One of the indicators of the healthy fertility, cervical mucus, is observed and tracked. Here is a great 3-part series on how to use these methods to increase your fertility through having fertility awareness.
Article by: Marie Zenack
Charting the signs of our menstrual cycle is a good way to keep in touch with our bodies, our feelings, and our health. It is also a good way to predict our days of menstruation in advance, even if menstrual cycles are irregular, and to know the most fertile times if we are hoping to conceive.
The sign that is easier to observe is the cervical mucus, since it is noticed in the course of daily activity. Fertile type mucus is produced by the cervix during the days when the ova are maturing and preparing for ovulation. This mucus is not only an indicator of fertility, it is essential for fertility. Cervical mucus nourishes the sperm, protects them from the natural acidity of the vagina, and guides them toward the ovum. Following is a simple way to observe and chart your fertile type mucus.
Pay attention to how you feel as you go about your daily activities. Just as you have learned to notice a certain wetness at menstruation, you will begin to notice a second wet time, but later in the cycle, and without bleeding. The second wet time is caused by your fertile type mucus.
Each time you go to the bathroom, wipe with toilet paper both before and after you use the toilet, noticing: a) the sensation you feel as you wipe with toilet paper, b) what is on the toilet paper. Chart what you see and what you feel in the following way. Or use any charting method that makes sense to you.
1) Menstruation: mark the days of bleeding in some way, such as coloring the calendar day red.
2) Nothing: if you don’t see or feel anything outside your vagina, you can leave the calendar blank on those days.
3) Something: if you see or feel something – anything -such as pasty or sticky mucus, or a feeling of wetness – draw something, such as a raindrop, on these days.
4) Slippery something: If the pasty or sticky mucus turns to slippery mucus or a slippery feeling, color the raindrop dark to indicate the slippery wetness.
After a few slippery wet days, the mucus may disappear or return to sticky or pasty. When it does, begin to count the days until menstruation arrives. In a normal fertile cycle, the time between the last day of slippery mucus or slippery feeling and the next menstruation is between 11-16 days. You will become quite accurate about your predictions after you chart for about three cycles.
The slippery mucus time is your most fertile time, since fertile type mucus is produced during the days leading up to and including ovulation. But don’t try to use this information for birth control unless you seek out a qualified teacher of fertility awareness or natural family planning. However, if you are hoping to become pregnant, charting the mucus and the dry times of the cycle will allow you to know your most fertile time. It will also allow you to predict your next menstruation with accuracy, and to begin a new and sensitive relationship with yourself.
Under the influence of the hormone estrogen, when the fertile mucus is present, we may feel courageous and loving. Men who bored us last week may suddenly appear interesting and attractive. Like Mother Earth in her rainy season, we are full of potential. We may also be interested in sexual activity. These emotions and reactions are caused by the hormone estrogen, which is getting us ready to have a baby, even though we may not want that for ourselves yet!
After ovulation, under the influence of the hormone progesterone, we may feel somewhat deflated compared to our wet, fertile time. Like Mother Earth in her dry time, we may feel quiet, with less energy. When menstrual bleeding begins, both estrogen and progesterone are at low levels. We may feel sensitive, solitary, or inward.
Generally speaking, dark red bleeding for about three days indicates that hormones are high enough to build a good uterine lining and nourish a fetus in the event of conception. However, more than three days of heavy bleeding can be exhausting. Three to five days of wet, slippery mucus 11-14 days before the next menstruation is a probable indicator of normal ovulation and a fertile cycle. Cycles are often 28-30 days from the first day of bleeding to the first day of the bleeding of the next menstruation. However, irregular cycles do not indicate infertility. If the time between the last day of slippery mucus and the next menstruation is 11-16 days, the cycle is probably fertile. Even if one cycle is not fertile, the next may well be fertile. Much depends on the stress we may be feeling. Keeping a chart allows us to keep all things in perspective, and feel our own harmony with all the cycles of nature.
Part 1: Cervical Mucus
Part 2: Basal Body Temperature
Part 3: Charting
About The Author
Marie Zenack is a teacher of fertility awareness and a facilitator of women’s rites of passage at Earth Wisdom, Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness.