Tracking your cycle can be one of the most informative and encouraging things you can do when trying for a baby. Not only can it give you vital information about what your hormones are up to and when your fertile window is but you can also watch with fascination as it improves in response to positive health changes you make.
This is part one of a three part series. Today is a quick fire guide to how to track your cycle. Next week we will go into more detail about what all the information means and in part three we will use all the information we have gathered to make personalised dietary changes based on what our body most needs.
Tracking your temperature
First thing in the morning as you wake up, your temperature is at its lowest. This is called your basal body temperature and it varies over the month depending on what levels of hormones you have in your system.
You can track this temperature by buying a special digital basal body thermometer and taking your temp (normally under your arm) at the same time each morning before you get out of bed.
Once you have taken your temp, jot in down on a chart or use an app such as clue or kindara (two of my favourites) to keep a record of how your temperature varies over time.
We will look at the data next week to decipher what your squiggly line means. It’s best to have at least one month of data so you might want to wait before to start decoding.
Tracking your mucous and cervix
You can also keep an eye on what your cervix and cervical mucous is up to. This will give you more clues about where in your cycle you are. Especially useful if your cycle is erratic! It can take a little bit of practice to begin to notice changes but stick with it and you will reap the benefits.
Your cervix is at the top of your vagina. It is best to monitor it at the same time every day, either just after you take your temperature or after you have been for your first wee of the morning.
- Wash your hands with warm, soapy water.
- Sit on the edge of your bed and gently insert your index finger into your vagina.
- You will find the cervix at the top of your vagina, where your fingers can’t go any further.
- Is it high or low? This will take a while to gage as you get used to how it feels. Low is normally 3-4cm and you should just be able to touch it when it is high.
- Is it soft or firm? When it is firm it will feel like the end of your nose, soft will feel more like your bottom lip.
- Remove your fingers and note down if there is any mucous present and what it looks like.
Your cervix will change in position and texture so note these two things down.
Your mucous will vary a lot depending upon your cycle, your diet and your environment. Here are some suggestions to how it might look. You can use your own terms if it helps you.
None – Feels dry, your fingers might be slightly damp but any fluid disappears quickly.
Sticky – Whitish or yellowish sticky texture, may be crumbly or clumpy
Creamy – Similar colour to sticky but feels creamier a bit like double cream
Egg-white – Slippery and stretchy. Opaque in colour
Watery – Wet and runny like water may leave a damp patch in your knickers