Charting Your Period

There are many different reasons why charting your menstrual cycle can be a good idea. Knowing when to expect your period is always helpful so that you can avoid being caught off guard (and tampon or pad free) when it does show up. Of course, for those women who are trying to conceive, keeping track of your periods will let you know when you are most likely to ovulate and therefore be fertile.

Natural Family Planning Charts
farenheit and celsius versions (pdf)

As for those trying to prevent pregnancy, it is also a good idea to know at what point during your menstrual cycle you are most fertile. Additionally, having a regular period is a sign of good health, so paying enough attention to your body to know that you should have had your period a week ago can signal to you that something might be up.

The Period Chronicles
If you like to keep things simple, then the best way to chart your periods is to just mark off on your calendar the first day of your period (the first day you bleed). This is considered to be Day 1 of your menstral cycle. When you start your period again in about a month or so, mark that day off as Day 1 of your next cycle.

Now that you have the first day of at least two menstrual cycles marked off, you can start counting the days in between. Starting from Day 1 of your first cycle, count all the way up to, but not including, Day 1 of your next cycle. The number you end up with is the length of your period.

It is important to remember, though, that cycles can vary in length from month to month. This is why, in order to find out the average length of your period, you need to keep track of your periods for at least six months or so. There are other ways to keep track of your period that will give you insight as to when you are fertile as well as when you are ovulating.

Not Just Menstrual Flow
While marking off Day 1 of your period is pretty easy, it doesn’t always offer the most insight into your body. Other things that you may want to keep track of include your:

All of these things change according to what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in. By tuning in to your body’s own instinctive signs and marking them down in a calendar or a diary, you will soon see your distinct and natural menstruation patterns emerge.

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