Once I’d learnt to chart my cycle, I then had to learn how to read it. What do the weird red lines mean? What do those dips in my temperature mean? When should I be having intercourse? How do I know if I should test or not?
|My non-pregnancy cycle chart|
|My pregnancy cycle chart|
Above you can see two of my charts from when I was TTC my second child. The first chart is a normal non-pregnant cycle. The second chart is the one when I got my BFP (big fat positive) for pregnancy. Can you see any differences? Those differences are what helps you to predict whether you are in for a normal cycle or a pregnancy cycle.
First lets look at how the chart is set up. The date at the top left hand corner indicates the day that the cycle starts. The line of numbers at the top of the chart indicate the date of the day (Friday 25 February, Saturday 26 February etc) that you are filling in the data for. The numbers on the sides is your temperature range and the numbers at the bottom is the day of your cycle. So for me in the normal cycle chart Sunday 6 February was day 10 of my cycle.
Next let’s look at the symbols that line the bottom of the chart.
The CM Indicators
The CM line indicates your cervical mucus. The red squares are your menstrual phase, L meaning light flow, M meaning medium flow and if you have an H there it means a heavy flow. The * symbol indicates blood spotting. The there are the D, S, W, E and C symbols. Those indicate that your cervical mucus is dry, sticky, wet, egg-white or creamy on those days. The green squares on that line indicate your ovulation phase.
The Test Line
This is pretty self-explanatory. This shows when you tested for pregnancy on a HPT (home pregnancy test) and what the results were. Ideally you shouldn’t test for pregnancy until the day you are due for your period but most of us in the TTC world find it hard to wait so long and often test from around 9 DPO (days post ovulation).
The OPK Line
This is also fairly self-explanatory. This shows when you tested for ovulation and the results from the testing. As you will see from both charts above, I start testing with an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) once I start getting the wet type of cervical mucus.
Now lets look at the chart itself.
The Blue Line
This is your temperature readings taken from each morning. The first part of the blue line is the follicular phase of your cycle. Then it usually dips around the time that you get an egg-white cervical mucus and when your OPK shows a positive for ovulation. Then in the luteal phase your temperature usually spikes much higher.
If you notice in the non-pregnant cycle chart, there is a massive dip in my temperature before 10-12 days have gone past in the luteal phase. This indicates that my luteal phase was not long enough to successfully get pregnant. However, in the pregnancy chart you will notice that my temperatures stayed high. This indicates that my luteal phase is long enough to get pregnant successfully.
You will also notice that in the non-pregnancy cycle, my temperature only gradually rises whereas in the pregnancy cycle, my temperature spiked immediately. The quick spike will indicate a possible implantation especially if followed by a small dip (not a huge dip) and then consistent high temperatures. This dip is generally known as the implantation dip.
The Red Horizontal Line
This is your base follicular phase temperature and is used as a guideline for the luteal phase to see if your temperature stays high enough to conceive a baby.
The Red Vertical Line
This indicates the day that you most likely ovulated and generally corresponds with the dip in temperature and positive OPKs and CM. For me, that usually means day 15 of my 29 day cycle. You may ovulate earlier or later depending on the length of your cycle.
Lastly, when should you be having intercourse? The best time to be having intercourse to conceive your baby is in the 3 days leading up to ovulation day, the day of ovulation and the day immediately following ovulation. This insures that you have a higher chance of getting pregnant.