Our Chart Can Be The First Indication That Something Is Wrong...

I am reopening my 1:1 instruction in January! I would love to work with you to chart your cycles. Are you looking to ditch the pill and find a natural yet effective form of birth control? You've come to the right place. You can book your free meet & greet via my Calendly link below!

Let’s imagine that you have been charting for two or three years, you know your body well. One month you notice that you have odd and periodic spotting, out of the normal for you. You reach out to your fertility awareness educator and they recommend that you follow up with your physician.

Figure 1. Displays spotting at the end of menstruation, during the pre-ovulatory phase, and during/following ovulation.

You visit the physician, they complete a pap test, and they indicate that there appears to be a lesion on your cervix. A few weeks later, the results come back positive, and a follow-up with an OB-GYN is recommended. You see the physician, and they complete a LEEP procedure, then a follow-up, and indicate that you are now in the clear. You continue to have yearly follow-up pap tests that are normal, and no other follow-up is necessary.

Now let’s imagine if this story was different…in someone who is not as familiar with their body and their cycles. Perhaps, someone with an IUD in situ who experiences periodic spotting, as I did with mine. Can we see how the identification and diagnosis might be different? It could take some time before someone sought help or went to have an assessment.

This is one of the reasons I believe that fertility awareness is valuable and can be the first indication that something is wrong or outside the range of normal within our reproductive structures.

Let’s look at another example, one that is benign and may not result in such a catastrophic result. Let’s say that you are charting, and you are following the rules correctly, but you continue to chart and realize that you are well past the typical time period in which you ovulate. Let’s say you typically ovulate on day 19, and you are on day 35. You’ve been charting for some time and assess the situation, then reach out to your instructor. The instructor asks the typical questions: any stress, travel, changes in your lifestyle and so forth? You answer yes to most of those questions, and after further evaluation of intercourse timing plus evaluation of the evidence (biomarkers), you both conclude that pregnancy is not possible, and you are being impacted by these stressors in your life. You carry on charting, and lo and behold, you finally ovulate and have a luteal phase (the time period following ovulation) that is of normal length.

Figure 2. Displays a chart showing delayed ovulation using the FEMM protocol.

Throughout this time period, you never once took a pregnancy test because you were confident in your ability to chart and apply the protocol to avoid pregnancy.

Now let’s look at this in contrast, where someone is not charting. In this situation, you would have waited until the end of the cycle (more than likely) and would have determined that your period was ‘late.’ If you were sexually active, perhaps you were using condoms, it would bring worry, understandably. I can assure you that in my teenage years, this scenario played out, and I would run to the grocery store and purchase several pregnancy tests, and they were all negative! You might visit your physician and have bloodwork completed and continue to worry until a bleed shows!

The last example is for those who are trying to conceive. Let’s say someone has been trying to conceive for several months, following the conventional guidelines of alternate days of unprotected intercourse without success. They visit their physician after a year (as this is the typical recommendation under the age of 35), and the physician makes a referral to a fertility clinic. At the fertility clinic, they begin to run a series of tests, including bloodwork and ultrasound. They make further recommendations based on the results, which are expensive. The people pursue the recommendations, and after a couple of months of working with the fertility clinic, they become pregnant.

Now in contrast, this person is unsuccessful in conceiving for those few months. They do some research and come across fertility awareness and seek out a certified educator. The two meet and work together and complete chart follow-ups and assessment. After a month, the educator assesses the person’s chart and realizes that their luteal phase (the time period following ovulation) is short, even though the cycle is of normal length. Let’s say the luteal phase is five days, but the cycle is 27 days in length. This is an obvious reason for the inability to conceive and could result in prompt referral to a provider to assess the cycle based on the charting information and implement a protocol to increase the length of the luteal phase. Lo and behold, one month later the person is pregnant!

Figure 3. Displays a chart which has a short luteal phase (time period following ovulation) using the FEMM method. Cervical mucus + ovulation test strips were utilized in this chart.

This is the value in charting your cycles, whether it be for preventing a pregnancy scare or to determine abnormalities that may exist in your reproductive structures! It can result in early diagnosis of conditions with a better outcome over the long term.

It should be known that the FEMM institute, the method in which I am certified, has a medical management program, where educators can refer their clients for medical assessment based on chart analysis. The program has physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives present in several states who offer in-person and telemedicine options.

So, whether you are charting to conceive, to avoid pregnancy, or for overall health, there is value in being in tune with your body and consulting with your educator when a chart appears to be outside of your range of normal!

If you are interested in working with me to chart your cycles, I will be reopening my 1:1 instruction beginning in January! If you are looking to come off the pill or want to conceive, I would love to work with you! Check out to book your FREE meet & greet today!

How has charting with fertility awareness allowed you to become more in tune with your body, and/or what has been identified and fixed for you using the fertility awareness method? Comment below!

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