Deciding to start a family or grow your family can be such a joyous and amazing time. It can also be a stressful and scary time. One thing that can undoubtedly make trying to conceive easier is tracking your cycles. This includes things like tracking your basal body temperature (BBT), cervical mucus and using ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) to better understand when you are the most fertile. It also includes monitoring what your period is like. The number of days bleeding occurs, how heavy the bleeding is and the consistency of the blood (color, thickness, clots, etc.) are all examples of what you want to be paying attention to.
Despite the benefits of tracking your cycles, it can be a little difficult to remember to fit all of this into your already busy life. Below are 5 reasons why tracking your cycles is so important. Hopefully, these reasons will give you a little motivation to keep on keepin’ on.
1. Gain information on ovulation
Tracking your cycles allows you to see if and when you are ovulating. This is crucial when it comes to fertility because this is when the egg is released from the ovary and then can become fertilized. If you are not ovulating, then you cannot get pregnant. Ovulation can be detected by an increase in your BBT, egg-white consistency cervical mucus and/or positive OPKs. While the only way to be sure that ovulation occurred is through lab testing and imaging, these things will give you a pretty good idea. Some conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and being underweight can lead to cycles where ovulation doesn’t occur.
2. Learn when to get the most bang for your buck in the bedroom
To piggy-back on that last point, knowing when you ovulate will let you know when your fertile window is. This is the time in your cycle that having sex is most likely to lead to a baby and is generally a few days before and after ovulation occurs. This isn’t to say that you should only have sex during your fertile window, but when life gets busy and chaotic it is important to know when sex will be the most fruitful in terms of getting pregnant.
3. Discover if your hormones are in balance
Your cycles can give great insight into how balanced your hormones are. Things that may suggest that your hormones are not optimally balanced for fertility include:
4. Gain insight into the health of your uterus
Your uterus is where a fertilized egg will attach (implant) and grow into a baby. Tracking your cycles can tell you how ready your uterus is for this job. Heavy periods, painful periods, long periods and spotting could all be signs that the lining of your uterus may not be ready to harbor a baby. Uterine fibroids, polyps and hormonal imbalances could all be to blame. A simple ultrasound can rule these things out.
5. Get to know your body
Finally, tracking your cycles allows you to get to know your body and feel empowered to take control of your reproductive health. Women’s periods can often be an annoyance that puts a damper on beach vacations or prevents you from wearing that great white pencil skirt you just bought, but they also are a new beginning and the reason life exists at all. It is so important to remember the latter. In a world that overvalues our physical appearance, it is important to take a moment to remember all the amazing and miraculous things our bodies do for us that have nothing to do with our looks.
When we see value in something, we are more likely to put out time and effort into it. Hopefully, this blog post helps you see the value in tracking your cycles and gives you a little motivation to keep it up.
Still feel like you need more support? Check out our Facebook group, Fertile Bloom TTC group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/fertilebloomttcsupport/?source_id=107746580584010
About the Author: Dr. Nicole Largent, ND
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