I am 35 years old, living with stage IV Endometriosis, possibly adenomyosis and struggled with infertility for almost 4 years. I also struggled with PPD and now struggle with PMDD. I am a mother to a son that was born at 18 weeks and too precious for this earth; and now a mother to a son born in August 2011. By journaling here, I hope to benefit both for myself and for others that are dealing with this disease and fertility struggles. Thanks for visiting!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Time to chart!

I started my period this weekend. Coming up on day 3 and I am a bit nervous. It hasn't been too bad so far...usually the 3rd and 4th days are my worst. Tomorrow is my first day back since vacation, so, I'll need to be on my game. Along with some new diet changes (that I really need to set in place), we are planning to chart again. We charted for a while until all my endo troubles started surfacing. I'm eager to see how my chart looks this month. Also eager to start trying to conceive.

Here's a little tid bit about "charting". We use the sympto-thermal method. Obviously we are using this method to GET pregnant, not for prevention anymore!

Sympto-Thermal Method

The sympto-thermal method of natural birth control involves determining the few days out of a woman's menstrual cycles when conception can occur, and then avoiding sexual intercourse on those days. This method involves determining this fertile time in two ways: based on a woman's basal body temperature (it rises after ovulation) and by recording other fertility cues (such as mood and cervical secretions). The name "sympto-thermal" method, comes from body cues (i.e. symptoms) and a woman's temperature (i.e. thermal or thermometer).

How It Works: The Thermo Part

The sympto-thermal method requires that a woman take her temperature every morning before she gets out of bed and record the reading. Depending on where she is in her menstrual cycle, there will be slight variations in her temperature. These variations are most easily measured with a special thermometer that has a range of only a few degrees, known as a basal thermometer Before ovulation, the temperature is likely to be between 97.2 and 97.4 degrees F. After ovulation, it will rise by at least 0.5 degrees and is often above 98 degrees F. When the temperature stays elevated for at least three days, a woman may assume she has already ovulated. Intercourse for the rest of the cycle will not result in pregnancy. To determine the infertile time before ovulation, a woman needs to look at her pattern of previous cycles. Her last "safe" day is one week before the earliest recorded day of temperature rise, or 5 days after the first day of her period.

How It Works: The Sympto Part

sample chart
By recording other cyclic symptoms, in addition to basal temperatures, the infertile time before ovulation can be more accurately predicted (see Ovulation Method). Cervical mucus and firmness, mid-cycle cramping, breast sensitivity, and mood swings are all symptoms which give insight into the progression of a woman's cycle. With careful monitoring, it is not difficult to predict your fertile period, when intercourse is to be avoided. A blank NFP chart for recording these changes is available to view, download, or print.

Intercourse during the time before ovulation is less safe than the time after ovulation because sperm have been known to live up to six days. For this reason, some couples choose to have sex only after the fertile period. This practice, known as the post-ovulatory temperature method, is the most effective of all natural methods, with a failure rate of only 1% among perfect users. However, it is not recommended because it requires a very long period of abstinence.

Effectiveness of the Sympto-Thermal Method

Consider the sympto-thermal method if you are committed to following the rules strictly. This method can be more difficult to use for women with small infants, as getting up frequently in the night can make the temperature readings less accurate. Illness, travel, or alcohol consumption can throw off the basal temperature reading as well. This is why it is important to use as many body signs as possible to predict ovulation for maximum efficacy.


Alex said...

This is what I do as well. Do you use a charting software? If you're looking for a good one, check out www.fertilityfriend.com I've been using it since May '06 and love it! Congrats on your period and good luck! Lots of baby dust your way!

Jeanne said...

My endo journey,

Great post!! I thank heavens I used a basal thermometer. I learned from charting my basal temperature that I ovulated quite early compared to many women (it was almost always on day 11, if I recall correctly). Since my periods sometimes last 10 days, I never would have dreamed that ovulation was taking place just a day later.

I also was amazed at how low my basal temps were... so low I had to write in a section on the chart to graph my temperatures! I've heard that having such low basal temps as I had can be tied to thyroid problems. All I know I'm really glad I did the charting. It was very helpful!


My Endo Journey said...

Thanks for the charting software suggestion-I was looking for one! :) My temps are WAY wacky this month. So interesting how the body works!

Jeanne-it's a great way to get to know your body better. although my charts have been pretty consistent, I was paying more attention to my signs and symptoms more when I chart that when I don't!