How Charting Your Fertility Cycles Can Improve Your Health
My last post regarding the four abnormal fertility signs that women often miss received a lot of comments and questions, so I’d like to do a follow up post to address one of the main questions that women seemed to have.
Valerie (not her real name) from Toronto asks, “I have a lot of the brown bleeding before and after my period. I also recently had a miscarriage (my first pregnancy) and I’m heartbroken. What do I do now?”
One of the first proactive steps that women like Valerie (and really all health conscious women) can take, is to begin charting their fertility cycles. Here are a few reasons why:
First, your fertility cycle is full of biomarkers which indicate the health of your fertility and your overall health. Just as you would do a breast self exam, take your temperature, weigh yourself, or take your blood pressure to gain knowledge of your health, charting your fertility cycle adds to your self-knowledge. It is data about YOU! This becomes a good starting point for getting quality medical care.
What is happening with your cycle reflects a number of different hormonal and physical processes, so if they aren’t functioning properly your chart can be your first clue. For instance, the amount, color, and length of your period are all relevant biomarkers. Brown bleeding before or after your menstrual period can indicate that your body is not producing enough of the progesterone hormone. Excessive bleeding can be due to fibroids or endometriosis. During a healthy woman’s cycle (that being the length of time from one period to the next) she should expect to see an external flow of mucus as her ovaries prepare to release an egg. The quantity, color, and consistency of the cervical mucus can indicate if a woman may be at risk for infertility, cervical inflammation, or polycystic ovaries. You can also become aware of where in your cycle you might experience PMS symptoms and how long they begin before your period. In my opinion, the two main signs that a woman should always chart would be any bleeding and her cervical mucus from day to day, but there are other symptoms, such as basal body temperature, that can be helpful.
Another obvious reason to chart is that you can use your chart to plan your family without the added health risks of contraceptives! You don’t have to take a pill, have an IUD, or use a condom in order to be a responsible person. The birth control pill is a known carcinogen (increases the risk of cancer). You and your spouse can enjoy sex without increasing your risk of cancer when you decide to use a natural method to avoid or achieve pregnancy. Modern, scientifically based, natural methods of family planning are generally 99% effective for avoiding pregnancy, depending on the method. For help with determining the days of fertility and infertility in your cycle, I highly recommend contacting a Creighton practitioner or other qualified natural family planning teacher.
Use of hormonal contraceptives also makes it impossible to be aware of your body’s natural fertility signs, and thus you miss out on this incredible health tool.
Charting your fertility cycle can be empowering! Good charting should include the days that you chose to have sex, which can be helpful in calculating a due date for a pregnancy. A typical pregnancy length is calculated based on the day the woman began her last monthly period, which basically assumes that all women would ovulate and become pregnant around 14 days after their last period started. But consider this scenario from a colleague of mine, which is not uncommon:
Rachel was charting her fertility cycle using the Creighton Model. Due to stress, Rachel did not ovulate until very late in her cycle. Through her charting, she and her husband were certain that the date of conception was Day 37 of her cycle. Had her care provider insisted upon calculating her due date based on her last menstrual period, her due date would have been adjusted more than three weeks in advance. This could be the difference between a full term and premature baby. A mother can also use these dates to advocate for herself when it comes to scheduling an appropriate date if she needed an induction or C-Section.
So what should you do if you find that your chart shows concerning biomarkers? You can make an appointment with your care provider to discuss your concerns and request that the doctor investigate the underlying causes of your issue. If your doctor doesn’t take your concerns seriously, another excellent option is to seek out a doctor trained in NaPro TECHNOLOGY. These doctors use the woman’s Creighton Model chart to diagnose and treat gynecological health issues. To find a doctor trained in NaPro TECHNOLOGY go to www.fertilitycare.org or google your state/country and “NaPro TECHNOLOGY.”
Thanks for reading!
As always, I can be reached for questions or comments at Shirelle@InfinityFertilityCare.com .