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Charting to Avoid/Ferility Awareness March

post #1 of 64
Thread Starter 

flower.gif   March 2012  flower.gif


Welcome to the March 2012 charting to avoid and fertility awareness thread. We are all at different stages in family planning and our own fertility. Some of us are very ardently Charting to Avoid (CTA); some are CTA but would be thrilled with a BFP; and we even have a few who are "whatevering" or pregnant and continue to hang out here.


If you did not post last month, you may have been deleted from the list. If you have joined recently, please double check I have your chart linked correctly. If you were mistakenly deleted, you would like to be added/removed, or you spot anything you would like me to change, please post or PM me to let me know. Remember, you must post in March if you want to be on the February list!


To those who are new, welcome! Welcome.gif



    Who We Are




blessedwith7 BFPChart2.gif

Buterflymomma BFPChart2.gif




infojunkie BFPChart2.gif BFPChart2.gif


Kat216 BFPChart2.gif


librarygirl BFPChart2.gif




OneWithTwo BFPChart2.gif

physics girl BFPChart2.gif








Pregnant! belly.gif

lactatinggirl (January 2012)

JMJ (March 2012)

alyadri BFPChart2.gif (March 2012)

justKate BFPChart2.gif (STM) (April 2012)

miss_honeyb BFPChart2.gif  (April 2012)

FaithHopeLove29 BFPChart2.gif

Lionessmom BFPChart2.gif



 Wiki Resources for Charting to Avoid


Reasons to Choose Natural Family Planning - Why would you want to use charting to plan your family, anyway?  Feel free to add your own reasons for charting!


Types of Natural Family Planning - It's not just the rhythm method.  They've got this down to a science with options galore!


NFP or FAM Methods While Breastfeeding - You have options in the postpartum period while your fertility is returning!


Resources For Learning About Fertility Cycles - Find books to read or websites to visit, find an instructor, post your chart online, and learn about how your diet affects your fertility.


Fertility Awareness Method - A quick-start guide to the Fertility Awareness, a version of the Sympto-Thermal Method taught by Toni Weschler in her book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.


Common Abbreviations for Charting to Avoid/Fertility Awareness - BBT, EWCM, TCOYF, and more!  Learn what all these crazy acronyms mean here.


 Happy Charting Everyone!

Edited by physics girl - 3/26/12 at 9:33am
post #2 of 64
Thread Starter 

Welcome to the March thread, everyone.


I don't have a lot to report, other than that last month I had several days in a row with a very messed up sleep schedule so I let charting go for the remainder of the month, which doesn't matter much since I'm still just charting for information. I'm on cd 2 now, and very eager to get back to charting.

post #3 of 64

Thanks, physics girl!


CD1 here. Actually, a pretty bad day - started during a presentation I was giving and I knew I was in trouble but couldn't get to the bathroom for almost an hour. Yuck. So the rest of my work day was rather unpleasant (I live too far from work to run home and change and i had on black pants so I just dealt with it). Sorry, probably TMI. I should have been more prepared but ...hindsight is 20/20, I guess.


Either I was off on my O day or my LP was short this month. I thought I O'd on CD18 (based on peak day with CM), giving me an 11 day LP. I almost always have a 13 day LP. I don't know. I was expecting to start Wednesday, not today.


Happy March everyone!



post #4 of 64

Thanks for the new thread, physicsgirl, even in the midst of being so busy.  Librarygirl, that stinks.  I'm glad you made it through the day, and I hope today is better.

post #5 of 64

hi! i am stalking and learning so i can do it again in! i have about 3 months left till this baby is due. then it is back to keeping an eye on mucus for signs of returning fertility. i love reading all the posts in here about mucus. lol. 

post #6 of 64

Thanks, JMJ, it will be just fine. The day actually ended up pretty good. I decided to go to the gym and exercise those bad cramps away and felt inspired to not just walk but actually RUN! I ran for the first time in 3 years and enjoyed it quite a bit. Compared to my sister who is a half-marathoner, it was nothing, but I was happy with myself. Really working on trying to lose some weight and get fit. I had amennorhea (sp?) for about a year when I was even more overweight than I am now and when I started to lose weight, my cycles were absolutely insane. When I had lost about 30lbs, they came back to normal and have been since, but whenever I get a wonky cycle (longer or short LP or whatever), it reminds me that I still have ways to go on my health/fitness journey. I have just been maintaining for about 6 months now and my diet hasn't been ideal (I have type 2 diabetes so it's very important) so it's time to get my butt in gear.


Now to do some laundry and zumba before heading to work.


have a wonderful day everyone!

post #7 of 64

Lionessmom, where else can you talk about cervical mucus? winky.gif

post #8 of 64
Originally Posted by librarygirl View Post

Lionessmom, where else can you talk about cervical mucus? winky.gif


i haven't found anywhere else! ;)

post #9 of 64


Edited by birdie.lee - 5/9/13 at 8:03am
post #10 of 64
Happy March everyone!

So I know anything goes in the first 8 weeks PP, but I'm just curious about something. I'm just past 6 weeks now and haven't bled in a couple of weeks at least. After DTD the other night though, I started bleeding again. It's seriously like DTD caused it. Immediately after was some very light spotting that increased over the next maybe 24 hours, and now is decreasing again. Anyone else every heard of or experienced this?
post #11 of 64
Thread Starter 

Librarygirl, I am impressed by your running, especially considering I spent Sunday morning in bed clutching a heating pad. I always hear about how much exercise helps with cramps, but during the worst of it, I can never manage to actually try it. Also, congrats on losing 30 pounds and maintaining your loss.

post #12 of 64

Lactatinggirl, yes.  That can happen.  BFing can make things really dry, so DTD is more likely to cause you to bleed a bit, especially in the earlier postpartum.  Ignore any DTD-related bleeding.


Birdie.lee, that is a very good question.  I suggest you look at the NFP/FAM while breastfeeding link above.  You have a lot of options.  You would absolutely want to start charting if you experienced any spotting or bleeding of any kind (even if it is before 6 months - as soon as you experience any bleeding, you are no longer eligible for LAM), or, depending on how you are breastfeeding, your baby's needs, and your own physiology, it may be much longer than 6 months before your body even starts thinking about ovulating.  This is kinda one of those areas that you have to make a decision about what your needs for effectiveness are and what signs your body is giving you.


Personally, I started charting at about 6 months postpartum, but there was nothing to chart, so I stopped.  I just loosely kept an eye out for CM.  Once you know what you're looking for, it's really rather obvious.  I'm sure I ignored some not-so-obvious stuff, but when you're talking about your fertility returning while breastfeeding, the signs are very likely to be pretty darn obvious.  When my daughter was about 18.5 months old, I had 4 days in a row of stretchy, fertile CM, and I decided it was time to break out the old thermometer.  (I was doing ecological breastfeeding and have a number of other factors that make my fertility more likely to return later.)  A month later, I had a bit of spotting, and two months later, I ovulated and then had a period.


Temping can be tricky.  Different women's bodies respond differently to sleep disturbances.  We don't normally sleep through the night anyway, and most of us don't need solid sleep to get good temperature data.  If you're cosleeping and just waking up to nurse, as long as you're taking your temp at about the same time, it's not likely to be a problem.  If your baby is in the other room that's 10 degrees cooler, and you're getting up several times a night to walk down the hallway, sit in a cold rocking chair to nurse your baby back to sleep for half an hour or longer, that's much more likely to cause an issue, though some women's bodies may be able to handle it and still give them good temp readings.


The tricky thing is that temp doesn't tell you anything until you ovulate.  Your temp will be all over the place before your first postpartum ovulation, and you'll really have no way of knowing if it is because you're not getting any sleep and have so many disturbed temperatures or if it's just that you're not ovulating yet.  It really is most likely the latter; most women that I have run into who have been charting temperatures at the time of their first postpartum ovulation have caught a temperature rise coinciding with their first postpartum ovulation.


I've talked to many more very confused women long before they ovulate.  You have to be pretty discriminatory on what you consider a temperature rise.  We're looking for 6 valid temps (you can shave 1 or 2) that are lower followed by 3 valid temps that are higher, and likely, the highest of the 3 higher temps will be at least .4F higher than the highest of the low temps.  Be skeptical of anything else.  Your temps will be going up and down, and it's really easy to interpret an ovulation out of them if you're not careful.  If you chart on Fertility Friend, it will give you many, many false positives.


Many women find that charting temps before their first postpartum period is just an exercise in futility.  It's a lot of work for possibly no gain.  CM alone is sufficient for helping you to know when you are potentially fertile, and mostly, it's what you're relying on.  The one advantage that temping gives is confirming ovulation (or perhaps even more importantly, lack thereof).  If you have a CM patch that dries up, if you're charting CM only, you can know that you were potentially fertile during that CM patch until the evening of the 4th day of dry-up, but you don't know if you should be expecting your period now, and if your period doesn't come, you wonder if you should take a pregnancy test if there was any chance that you DTD close enough to get that egg.  If you were charting temp as well, you could see if ovulation was at all likely, and that can reduce your worrying about being pregnant when your body really isn't doing anything.  I can tell you, I saved myself a lot of money on pregnancy tests postpartum by taking my temperature, and I knew exactly when I ovulated for the first time before my first postpartum period.  Of course, this requires being able to trust that your temps are at least somewhat accurate.

post #13 of 64

JMJ, you are just an encyclopedia of fertility information. Wow! :)


AFM- CD4 and all is well. Headed out of town to see my parents and sisters this weekend and I'm so excited. My sisters are throwing me a bridal shower so I'm sure I'll get to see some old friends from my hometown, even though I'll miss STB DH waaaaay too much (and miss several days of safe time...)


Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

post #14 of 64

Hi there! First time chart-er here! I got the billings ovulation excel sheet to track, is that effective for most? 

post #15 of 64

Welcome, Canadianhippie. I don't know about the Billings excel spreadsheet. My instructor just gave us charts she had made or taken from her book of instructional materials. For the class purposes, I am using those for now but I've always charted with fertility friend because I like their android app and think their charts are easy to read.


As for the method- there isn't a specific FAM for this thread. There are sympto-thermal, Creighton, Billings, and others here. And some that use a combination of different methods, I think.


Personally, I just switched from sympto-thermal to billings and don't follow all the rules anyways ;). I don't abstain or use a barrier during my period (i have long cycles- never O earlier than CD18 and am willing to take the risk of DTD without being to confirm the absence of CM) and do use barrier methods during fertile CM times. Honestly, if I absolutely, positively didn't want to get pregnant, I'd probably follow all the rules and temp to confirm ovulation but I'm just going through the motions right now and not being that conservative (we're TTC starting in two more cycles).


Anyways, there are some great people here with TONS of great knowledge. Welcome to the one place on the internet where it's okay to talk about cervical mucus! :)

post #16 of 64
Thread Starter 

Welcome. Canadianhippie. If you are teaching yourself charting, it might be best to get a basal thermometer and use a sympto-thermal method for now. Categorizing and interpreting mucus can be tricky, especially at first, so it's nice to have objective temperature data to use as well. Mucus-only methods, such as the Billings method, really require specialized training from an instructor in order to use successfully.

post #17 of 64

Oh ok, thanks so much, that was useful, Ill need to investigate the basal temp method, take temp in the morning before you get out of bed right?

post #18 of 64
Thread Starter 

Canadianhippie, yes, you must take your temperature after you've had at least a few hours of sleep and before you get up, drink anything, etc. It's best to use a basal thermometer since it gives a more precise reading than a fever thermometer. I've had good luck with the BD digital basal thermometer, which you can get for around $14 on Amazon, and I found the Target Up&Up brand thermometer to be worthless.


I'd recommend reading the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility as an introduction to charting using FAM( sympto-thermal method). It isn't the most comprehensive guide out there, but it was the most comprehensible to me when I was first getting started, plus many public libraries have it. The wiki article linked on the first post of the thread has a summary of the rules for FAM, but it's helpful to read the entire book. Another option is to download Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach, which is free. It offers far more options for rules to follow when interpreting your charts, which I find handy now but found rather overwhelming when I was first getting started, so it might be better to read once you have a couple of cycles of charting under your belt. The authors also have a very conservative Catholic perspective, which some might find off-putting.


If you want to keep a chart online so members of the board can access when you have questions, you can set one up for free at Fertility Friend or Taking Charge of Your Fertility. However, if you do keep an online chart, please don't blindly trust the computer's interpretation of your chart; they are far too often incorrect. The TCOYF site also has paper charts you can print.

post #19 of 64

Librarygirl, I hope you have a great weekend and a beautiful shower.


Welcome, canadianhippie!  You've got some great information already.  The Billings method is about 94-98% effective, slightly less than some other methods of NFP, but effective enough for most.  Check out the Methods of NFP wiki in the first post for more information on your options and their effectiveness.  Also, check out the Billings website.  They've got a lot of information there.  I would recommend a class, though, if you can find one available near you.  The Creighton Model is very similar, though more standardized and slightly more effective because of that.


If learning on your own, I would also second the recommendation to start with taking your temp as well, even if you want to eventually go CM-only.  It's helpful to see the temperature rise that indicates that you're actually ovulating, and that it matches up with the CM patterns that you're seeing.  Physicsgirl gave you some good information on resources for learning about this method.  Temping does require a basal thermometer, and it requires that you take your temp at the same time every morning after getting several hours of sleep.  Some women are very sensitive to sleep disturbances.  Others can get great temp patterns despite major disruptions to their sleep.


If you really do not want to deal with temping, I would very strongly recommend abstaining from any genital contact for an entire cycle when you start.  (It's generally recommended even with the sympto-thermal method to abstain until after ovulation the first cycle of charting as well, though it's much more possible to learn the STM without being completely abstinent.)  You really want confirmation that you're seeing your ovulation pattern well enough to trust the information you're getting, and seminal residue (or even vaginal secretions related to sexual arousal) can make this much more complicated.


The Billings method originated out of the STM.  Many people who chart using the STM find that over time, they get to know their cycles really well and do not need the temperature sign to know what is going on, and it's not worth the hassle of making sure to take their temperature at the same time every morning, and they choose to chart CM-only... basically moving to the Billings Method.  Over time, you'll get to find what works for you.  There's a lot of diversity on this board.  When I started, it was pretty much just STM people, but now, we've got people using the STM, Billings, Creighton, and Marquette (Am I missing anybody's method?), and this is a great place to get questions answered to support you in any of those or any other method you might choose.


ETA:  How could I forget LAM and Ecological Breastfeeding???  Crazy, stressed out preggo brain of mine...  Just a few more days, and Ecological Breastfeeding (and technically LAM as well) will be MY method of choice, and of course those are the ones I forgot!  Haha!

Edited by JMJ - 3/9/12 at 4:00pm
post #20 of 64

wow! so much information, thank you all so much for taking the time to give me so much advice! 


it really is complex science right now to me lol, but i will browse at the pdf book and I started a chart on taking charge of your fertility.com It does identify your ideal days, i started because I thought i might be ovulating (thick, white CM not typical through the month) and it says there from my approx. days I was right, ill be careful and start measuring my temp


Ive had so many problems with birth control lately me and my DP are willing to try other options now, what are the biggest benefits you've noticed by staying off birth control meds?



OO and what would clear runny/stringy type CM mean following the days after the thick, white CM of ovulation


and its true, how do you tell which is your own wetness from arousal or CM?

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