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How to track your menstrual cycle naturally

How to track your menstrual cycle naturally

How to track your menstrual cycle naturally
When it comes to tracking menstrual cycles women use a variety of different methods. Some turn to the contraceptive pill, injection or patch to give them some more control over their bodies as well as their fertility. With that in mind we were surprised to learn just how many women track their menstrual cycles naturally. 
 
So what does naturally tracking your cycle actually mean? It means just that. Instead of choosing one of the above (or many other) contraception methods they control their menstrual cycle by naturally tracking every element of their menstrual cycle. They do this in a variety of different ways by looking at their body’s signs, symptoms and even temperature. 

If your GP asked you when the first day of your last period was – would you know? Our guess is that many of you (me included) would not. Those who track their menstrual cycles are likely to know exactly when their menstrual period began and ended because they have made a note of it. They are also usually aware of when they are about to ovulate and when they are actually ovulating. 
 
But it is not just about contraception. In fact many women choose to track their menstrual cycles when they are trying to conceive. Knowing the right “windows” and phases is extremely helpful as it gives you the best opportunity to pin point exactly when you are ovulating. It also helps you to recognise certain signs and symptoms that may be indicative of conception and pregnancy. 
 
Keeping a menstrual calender can be really helpful even if you are not trying to avoid conception or actively trying to conceive. It can be as easy as starting off with a simple calender and journal. Marking the first day of your menstrual period is the best place to begin. You can then use this as a starting point and eventually as the months go on you will see a clear picture of your cycle length even if that means recognising that they are irregular in nature. This information can be really helpful in terms of any fertility or gynaecological issues or concerns. 
 
Understanding the rhythm of your menstruation can be really empowering. It can help you manage pain and discomfort as the pattern can help you feel a little bit more prepared. It may encourage you to stock up on the pain relief that you often find yourself looking for when it comes upon you as a surprise. 
 
Many women use this method for family planning reasons. If a woman has a very regular cycle the idea is that sexual intercourse is avoided during their most fertile period. It is believed that when doing this correctly it can be up to 85% effective. However, it is unlikely to work out as well for those who have irregular cycles as the fertile days are less predictable and routine. 
 
For this reason your doctor is unlikely to recommend that you use this method to avoid pregnancy. It is also worth noting that tracking your cycle naturally will not provide a barrier for sexually transmitted infections. A condom is the recommended way of managing this. 
 
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at Family Friendly HQ. Tracey also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie