25th January 2006 18:21Charting your cycles is really helpful for letting you know a) when you’re fertile (so should be having loads of sex :lol: ), and b) when you’ve ovulated. You ovulate once a month and the egg lives for about 24 hours. However, sperm can survive in fertile cervical fluid for up to 5 days. So, you could theoretically have sex anywhere from up to 5 days before ovulation and get pregnant (in my case, it was 3 days before). Once the egg is gone, it’s gone, and your chances for that month are over. The time after you ovulate and before you get your period is called the luteal phase. It is almost always 12-16 days in length in most women and, most importantly, it should be very consistent for you from month-to-month. If it’s usually 13 days for you, it shouldn’t ever be more than 14 or less than 12. If you’re having irregular cycles, this means that your time to ovulatation is what is varying, not your luteal phase. So, for example, if you have a luteal phase of 13 days and your cycle last month was 28 days, then you ovulated around Day 15. If your cycle the month before that was 36 days, you ovulated around Day 23. I have long cycles and I wasn’t ovulating until Day 20 or so - it was so good to know that from the charting, otherwise I would have been timing sex for Day 14 or so and that would have been useless. So to chart you basically just record your cervical fluid and temperature. The cervical fluid will indicate when you’re in your fertile phase (it goes from dry or sticky to creamy or stretchy/eggwhite (the most fertile)). Your temperature will let you know when you’ve ovulated – it will be low until you ovulate (about 36.0-36.5), will go up once you ovulate (36.6-37.0), and will stay up until you get your period again (unless you’re pregnant, in which case it’ll stay up!) You can’t use an ordinary thermometer to take it, you have to get a basal body one (available in Boots & other chemists), they are more accurate and will usually give you a double-decimal reading (eg 36.25). And it is a bit of a pain the arse because you have to take it first thing in the morning, the same time every morning, before you get up or go to the loo or talk or anything. So it is a bit of a pain, but I didn’t mind it too much – I thought I would hate having to set the alarm on the weekends but it was quite nice to just wake up, temp, then snuggle back in. The cervical fluid checking is easy enough, you just use a finger to “sample” the outside of your vagina a few times a day – sounds gross but hey, no worse than changing a nappy, right? ;) One important thing – your temp will let you know when you’ve ovulated, but once it goes up then the egg is gone and it’s too late, so you can’t rely on it for timing sex – that’s what the cervical fluid is for. It will go from dry/sticky to wetter/creamier as you enter the fertile phase. The most fertile-quality fluid is clear and stretchy, like raw eggwhites – if you have that then you should jump your hubby straightaway! :wink: That is just a brief overview – I REALLY, REALLY recommend getting the book “Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. I got in from Amazon but they prob have it in Easons too. It explains all of the above in much greater (and better) detail. She has a website – www.tcoyf.com – you have to pay if you want to use her software, but the forums are free & the girls are really helpful. Another great website is www.fertilityfriend.com – this lets you input your temp & cervical fluid data, it will track your cycle for you & tell you when you’re fertile, when you’ve ovulated, etc. You can get a basic membership for free or pay for a VIP one with a few more bells & whistles. I hope that helps a bit. If you have any questions post below or PM me.