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Menstrual Calendar, Charting Your Signs of Fertility: Part 1

Menstrual Calendar, Charting Your Signs of Fertility: Part 1

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.

Cervical Mucus

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.

Complete Series
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.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Great article! I have a question. I usually have 3-4 days of very little spotting, in brown/dark color, before the period finally come. Is this an indication of low progesterone or something? I have on average 35 days menstrual cycle. Thanks!

    • Dear Jen,

      Spotting before menstruation is often a result of hormonal imbalance. It can be an indicator of a fertility health issue – thyroid issue, fibroids, endometriosis, etc. – so if you are concerned do consider talking to your doctor. Brown or dark blood indicates old blood that was not able to come out from a previous cycle. There may be natural therapies to support balance. We share more in our Natural Guide for Menstrual Health.

      I hope this is helpful!

  2. Avatar

    I have excessive vaginal discharge. How would I go about tracking my cervical mucus? I am aware of a more amorous period after menstruating but I’m usually dry during that time.

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Natasha,

      Are there noticeable changes in the consistency of this discharge in the different phases of your menstrual cycle? There are often a few days after menstruation when there is less cervical mucus. It is as one enters her fertile window around ovulation, the three-four days prior to, the day of and even day after ovulation, that cervical mucus tends to be more noticeable. It is also during this time when many women enter this more amorous state reflecting the hormonal changes that happen in preparation for ovulation. Might it be helpful to learn more about Fertility Charting from and how to support healthy cervical mucus production?

  3. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  4. Avatar

    i m carting bbt for 5 month everymonth i have my period but ovulation date vary so much i.e(20-17-25-18-22) while luteal phase is of14 days…before ovulation (35.9-36.2 degreecentigrade) while after ovulation(36.4-36.9)….do i have progestrone difficiency …why ovulation day vary so much ?? is it possible to concieve such a varying days?? i was diagnosed with pcos with high lh ratio 2.1 and no other symptoms so doctor was confused while i m ovulating at my own….what is progestrone level required for sustaining a pregnancy…

  5. Avatar

    hi i am 27 i already have child i concieved her with no problems my periods were fine then i had the coil fitted 3 yrs ago i had it took out about a yr ago we have been trying since then but my periods arnt as regular my last period was 58 days apart when in that time will i be ovulating. there is no calender that i can look at to see please help…. thanx laura

  6. Avatar

    i’m 25 yr old (PCOD),married for 5 yrs.we did laproscopy on 23 december 2011,i have been taking METFORMIN i’m consulting infertility specialist in kuwait.dr said that my uterine line was not well even my follicle rate on 11-15 after having gonadotropin injections for 7 dys and also said that so many polycysts remained in my both ovary. so my treatment would take much more long it will continue?i’m wating to hear from u……..

  7. Avatar

    I was molested and raped from as far back as i can remember (around 4ish) until i was 12 ys old when I got my period. My question is can going through that make me infertile? Ive been with my boyfriend for almost 5 years now – we dont use any protection and i dont take any birth control, and we still have yet to get pregnant. I’m healthy and so is he. I was just wondering if that could be a reason?

    • Hi athena,

      First off, I am very sorry for what you experienced, that is an extremely difficult situation to live through. First, those violations may have cause some type of physical trauma…infection, tearing, scar tissue, ect. Infections left untreated may cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, this can lead to blocked fallopian tubes. The only way to determine if there is a physical reason for fertility issues would be to get some testing done by your doctor. Next is the emotional and spiritual trauma that may also hinder pregnancy. This needs to be addressed as well. I think a great way to connect and heal yourself is to learn more about your emotional and spiritual aspects. I did an interview with a wonderful woman last year, Tami Lynn Kent MSPT. Tami addresses the issue of physical abuse and fertility, and useful natural ways to heal from those traumatic experiences. You can see the 3 part interview here:

      Best Wishes,


  8. Avatar

    I am 39 years old I have had 5 births and 2 miscarriages. I breastfed all except one for 16 and 18 months. My oldest is 18 yrs and my youngest 2 children are 18months apart. 19months old and almost 3 1/2. My question is this: I am occasionally breastfeeding my 19month old maybe two or 3 times in a 24 hour period with very little milk at this point. It’s mostly just comfort nursing for her and I just started my periods back in November. I had my first regular period nov. 11th that was normal length . I started having hot flashes the end of that month and in december. maybe 3 or 4 the whole month and are having them off and on this month in Jan. I didn’t have another “period” until dec. 25th that was dark red with small clots and not enough to fill a pad over a 3 day period. Pregnancy tests were all negative. There was no pain or cramping. I’m assuming I am dealing with a hormonal imbalance. I normally have a 35 day cycle. On day 34 after dec. period I had one spot of pink with cervical mucus one day after intercourse and wondering if maybe implantation from previous weeks as we are actively trying for our last child or is it ovulation spotting. I’m not sure when I should test because I don’t know if I should count by dec. 25th or what. If I should go get my hormones tested what tests should i ask for? My other question is did I possibly mess my body up because I breastfed so long and I worry if I get pregnant will my body reject if I still nurse her? Thanks for your time

    • Hi m,

      It is very normal to feel like you have hormonal imbalance after breastfeeding. The body has a lot of shifting and changing to do to get back to it’s old self. I would never associated breastfeeding with causing hormonal imbalance or “messing up your body”. There is no way for me to know if it will be harder for you to get pregnant while breastfeeding or not. You have other considerations that come in to play, you are getting older, you are still nursing, and you just got your menstrual cycle again in November, that was only 3.5 months ago. It is very normal for some women to have inconsistent cycles when they are still breastfeeding. It can take many months for the menstrual cycle to regulate once again. You may find the end of this article helpful for you, to determine if weaning is best for your long-term fertility plans: Is it Safe to Breastfeed and Take Herbs for Fertility? Try to be patient. I don’t think at this point it is necessary to get any sort of testing done.

      Best Wishes,


  9. Avatar

    Hello, i have an ovarian cyst and im currently on birth control pills for the past 2 months. is it possible for me to get pregnant after i leave drinking these pills and when should i try again?

    • Hi Dee,

      Many women all over the world use birth control pills and when they discontinue them, many go on to have children with no problems. It is really up to you to decide when it is best for you to begin to try and conceive. You will want to plan ahead. It may be best to wait to try and conceive for at least 1-2 cycles after discontinuing the BCP. This will give you time to see what your cycles will be like after BCP. It will also give your body time to cleanse of the synthetic hormones. You can learn additional ways to support your body after birth control use here:

      All the best,


  10. Avatar

    I had my period from December 24th through December 31st and I was curious if I am fertile from January 1st through January 7th and my Calender says that I’m ovulating the 6th, if I had unprotected sex the 1st and 2nd, what are the chances that I conceived on the 6th? I was once told sperm can live only 3 days inside of me, so if that’s the case why would I be fertile on the 1st or the 2nd? please help. 🙂 thank you so much for your time.

    • Hi Savannah,

      I am not exactly clear on what you are saying. Your chances are greatest for conception when you have sexual intercourse 2 days prior to ovulation, the day of and after ovulation. I would have to say your chances are not very great on the 1st or 2nd of January.

      All the best,


  11. Avatar


    When I think about my reproductive system, I think of a train wreck. I had what was loosely diagnosed as endometriosis (for lack of biopsy to confirm or deny it) for about twelve years and it has since abated, but I still experience intense cramping with bleeding and a wild, unpredictable period, both in when the period is going to arrive and how long/what character it will be once it does arrive. My point is that it’s difficult for me to make sense out of data that I gather from charting my reproductive cycle. I’ve not done it yet for longer than two months for this reason – because it didn’t seem to make any sense at all. It makes me feel frustrated and like I’m less of a woman that I vary so widely from what a “normal” cycle could be considered to be. I am getting married in a year and my fiance and I talk about having children and a family and I’ve even started to name them and have dreams about holding them (both waking and while I’m sleeping hehe) In the past, I have had multiple opportunities to get pregnant when I was being reckless in my relationships as far as protection is concerned and to my knowledge have never been pregnant. I’m staying positive and looking for solutions, but what are the chances that I could be infertile, and if I am infertile, is it possible to correct?

    • Hi Katie,

      Wow, it sounds like you are really frustrated and don’t know where to turn for guidance. Have you considered joining a charting group? We have a great one at our Natural Fertility Community! A group or a site like Fertility Friend may help you to read your chart, to help you determine what may be going on with your cycle. If you have not been to a doctor to help you determine if you are ovulating or not, that is another option. Fertility Friend also has wonderful courses on how to chart the correct way. Many times the greatest mistakes women make when charting, is that they do some of the steps incorrectly or time the steps inaccurately. Learning how to chart will increase your understanding and accuracy. Pinpointing ovulation can be very helpful for couples who find they are not getting pregnant easily. It helps them to know when to try to conceive, as well as when to take natural remedies if they choose.

      One of the bodies miracles is that every cell in our body renews over time and is replaced by healthy new cells. This gives us the opportunity to work toward changing our fertility issues by nourishing and taking care of our bodies now, so that those new cells have the best chance possible to be vibrant and healthy! This also means there is always a chance to correct fertility issues!

      Best Wishes,


  12. Avatar

    I’m trying to conceive for maybe five months with no success. In march I had major surgery going in-between my rib cage to remove a large cyst behind my heart. I was on heavy pain meds and didn’t finish them because I knew when I recovered I wanted to conceive. I have one child who is five as a result from rape. Could damage have been done to prevent conception? When I had surgery I felt my one lung was weak and was pushed down for surgery access. I’m overweight, long dark heavy periods every 35 days that make me sick and depressed feeling. I’m trying to learn to eat healthier and be more active.I currently can’t afford your fertility cleanse kit, but until then what can I find at a local health store that maybe able to help me?

    • Hi Krista,

      Though I cannot be for sure, it is unlikely that your surgery affected your fertility much. Concerns that stand out to me more than your surgery are your issues with your weight, your long heavy periods and emotional trauma from rape. I am sorry to hear of your difficult struggles.
      The #1 thing you can do to change your fertility would be to lose weight! This is also the cheapest way to increase your fertility! You can learn about how being overweight affects fertility and what you can do about it, by reading our article at this link:

      In addition, have you worked through the trauma surrounding the conception and birth of your child? The circumstances around this may inhibit conception as well, fear can manifest in very odd ways, including prevention of conception. Healing trauma through therapy is an important part of the fertility journey, especially if you have been violated sexually. This past year I did an interview with a wonderful woman’s therapist, Tami Lynn Kent. She is the author of the book Wild Feminine and she helps women like you everyday! If you would like to watch that interview and learn more about her very healing book, please go to this link:

      Best Wishes,


  13. Avatar

    Can/should men take royal jelly, considering the fact that it makes Queen bees? In men, will it help with sperm production and quality?

    • Hi Nefertitti,

      We do not recommend men using Royal Jelly as a supplement alone, it has the propensity to mimic estrogen in the body. Alive bee power with Royal Jelly, Bee Propolis and Bee Pollen would be better for men, then a Royal Jelly supplement alone. Royal Jelly is so high in nutrition, it may aid in improving sperm health.

      Best Wishes,


  14. Avatar

    Hi Hethir,

    Is it okay to take CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid together? I am also taking vitex and false unicorn, I just got the fertility cleanse and will start next cycle. Can I take the herbs during the cleanse?

    • Hi Natalie,

      Yes, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic acid are safe to use at the same time. You can learn more about the benefits of combining antioxidants for fertility at this link:

      We do not recommend using Vitex and False Unicorn Rt. with the Fertility Cleanse Kit. It would be best to not use them until the cycle after the Fertility Cleanse. We do not support the use of False Unicorn, it is an endangered plant and we feel there are other plants that are just as effective. Tribulus, Vitex and Dong Quai are some examples of fertility herbs with similar actions. As for aiding in prevention of recurrent miscarriage, Partridge berry is a great alternative. You can learn more about False Unicorn’s decline here:

      Best Wishes,


  15. Avatar

    Hi Hethir,

    What would you recommend for high FSH levels, I am 33 and been TTC for 6 years.

    • Hi Bella,

      For fertility, Vitex increases luteinizing hormone production while mildly inhibiting the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This indirectly boosts progesterone production and chances of achieving and maintaining a successful pregnancy. Vitex is an incredible hormone balancer, which adapts to women’s different needs. You can learn more here:

      In addition, a healthy diet and exercise are the foundation to any natural healing journey.

      All the best,