Understanding Your Fertility Chart

Sometimes looking at your fertility chart can be confusing.  When you look at your completed chart you will see a whole series of marks identifying your temperature changes. To help you better understand what you are seeing, circle each temperature and starting with Day 1 of your chart join all the circles together in a line using a ruler. This will give you a jagged line going across the page.

Identifying The Temperature Shift

Look at the pattern of the line. You will see that in an ovulatory cycle there is a distinct pattern of lower temperatures, followed by a rise of temperature that continues more or less evenly across the page. The higher temperature then drops back down again when you have your next period.

Now you need to identify the temperature shift from lower to higher temperatures. There should be at least 3 consecutive higher readings of 0.1 degree C following 6 lower temperatures. Sometimes there is even a fall in temperature the day or two before the rise. Often this change is very distinctive and looks like a little tick on the page.

Drawing A Cover Line

Once you have found the shift in temperature, get your ruler and draw a straight line across the page to separate the lower and higher temperatures. This should be one space on your chart higher than the highest of the six recorded temperatures you identified before your temperature went up.

In our sample chart you would draw the line across at 36.4C, and you wouldn't worry about the higher temperature on day 5, as this is an aberrant temperature, probably related to the fact that there was spotting on that day.

Peak Day

The peak day of mucus is usually a day or two before the temperature shift. This can be on the day before ovulation or on the day of ovulation itself. In our example it is on day 14 of the cycle, and if you look at day 15 there is a temperature drop before the temperature rise on day 16.

Once you have been charting for a few months you will notice that even if your cycle is irregular, the length of your cycle after you have had the temperature shift will be almost the same from cycle to cycle.

Ovulation Microscope

An ovulation microscope can also help you identify when you are ovulating. This works with saliva and produces a fernlike pattern as you are approaching ovulation. You can also record this information on your chart.

Irregular Cycles

In irregular cycles it is the period of time before you ovulate that varies from cycle to cycle. If this time period is too short, or the length of your cycle after you ovulate is too short, this may be preventing you from getting pregnant.

Advantages of Charting

By charting you will help your doctor to identify any problems that may be preventing you from getting pregnant. It will also help you to time intercourse to give you the best chance of getting pregnant, and let you know when you've succeeded.

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