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Top 6 Things to Track in Your Period App When Trying to Conceive

Top 6 Things to Track in Your Period App When Trying to Conceive

Jackie Vinyard, M.S. Health Sciences | January 26, 2021 | Getting Pregnant
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You probably know that tracking your period is great for knowing when it will show up (and therefore avoid accidentally ruining your favorite pair of pants) and for keeping your doctor up to date at your next exam, but did you know that by tracking your period and menstrual cycle data you can learn exactly when you are fertile and if your hormones are functioning as they should? 

Since your menstrual cycle is an indication of how your hormones and other systems are working, you can also learn a lot about the patterns that dictate your sex drive, your mood, and your overall health (1). All these elements come into play if you're trying to get pregnant, and so a period tracker can be a great tool to help you get pregnant faster as well as help your doctor figure out the best treatment plan for you should getting pregnant become difficult.  

Track your period to learn more about your menstrual cycle 

It's a common misconception that a "normal" cycle for everyone is 28 days, but your menstrual cycle, starting on the first day of your period to the day before your next period, could range from 21 to 35 days. Bleeding may last from 2 to 7 days (2). Knowing your period length can shed light on whether you have regular periods or not, help with estimating your fertile window (the days when you're most likely to conceive) and is also important to know for when to use ovulation predictor kits. Also, if getting pregnant proves to be difficult, knowing your period length will be essential for your doctor to know.  

It's important to know what a normal cycle looks like for you, and that includes menstrual flow, pain, your mood and behavior at different times of your cycle, any bleeding between periods, and of course, your period start and end dates. "You have to know when you started your last menstrual period to know when each new cycle starts," says Dr. Colleen Mathis, a Missouri physician who has used period tracker apps (including Kindara) for more than 6 years, for both avoiding pregnancy and trying to get pregnant.

Charting your cycle allows for strategically timed sex, and potentially, conception. Irregular cycles does not mean you can't conceive, but depending on why they're happening, they may indicate an underlying condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome or a thyroid disorder, that needs to be addressed to make conception easier. 

When tracking your period, record the following:
  1. Length (bleeding start and end date)
  2. Flow (light, medium or heavy) 
  3. Spotting
  4. Notes (anything unusual - shorter or longer/heavier or lighter than usual)
Track cervical mucus to predict when your body is ready to conceive 

Cervical mucus (CM), also referred to as cervical fluid, is influenced by the same hormones that control your menstrual cycle, so what it looks like, how much there is, and what it feels like depends on where you are in that cycle. The consistency of CM affects the ability of sperm to travel through your reproductive tract and live long enough to fertilize an egg (3). CM has been proven to be an excellent predictor of your chances of conception, so if you’re trying to conceive, definitely have sex when you observe fertile CM (4).

There are a few ways to identify your CM to get an accurate read on its characteristics (5): 

  1. What is on the toilet paper when you wipe after using the toilet
  2. What it feels like when you touch it
  3. What it looks like on your underwear  

When you're the most fertile, your CM will likely be wet and slippery, sort of like the consistency of raw egg. This is the best kind of mucus for sperm to coast through on its way to the egg (6). But not everyone has this kind of CM, and if you don’t, that’s ok! That doesn’t necessarily spell trouble when you’re trying to conceive, but it’s definitely something to watch. Make sure you drink lots of water, and keep in mind that some medications and procedures could dry up CM too, so check with your doctor if you’re concerned.

Inputting what you observe about your cervical mucus in your fertility tracking app will help you stay aware of how, when, and if it changes. For more detail on CM, check out The Many Faces of Cervical Mucus.

Track your daily waking temperature to confirm ovulation 

When you take your temperature the morning after a good night's sleep, before you do anything else and while you're still nice and relaxed, the number shown on your thermometer is known as your basal body temperature (BBT) (7). Like cervical mucus, due to a variety of hormonal shifts, your BBT is a proven indicator of aspects of your menstrual cycle: you’ll likely see lower temperatures before ovulation, then a sharp rise or spike the day after you ovulate. After which your temperature will remain high until the end of your cycle — if your BBT is high for 18 days or longer, take a pregnancy test (13)! 

You're usually most fertile in the 2 to 3 days before your temperature increases, so tracking CM is necessary to prevent missing your fertile window (8). 

Why take your temperature? 
  1. TTC might be stressful! Your temperature pattern may reassure you that your body is working as expected. 
  2. Confirming that you are ovulating may be especially important if you have irregular cycles. Remember, BBT can't predict ovulation, but it can tell you if it's already happened. 
  3. Confirming ovulation with BBT will also allow you to identify the length of your luteal phase, which occurs after ovulation. During the luteal phase, the follicle that burst during ovulation and released that egg forms the corpus luteum. This structure is responsible for secreting progesterone, a hormone that's vital for thickening of  your endometrium and supporting the fertilized egg (9). If you have a short luteal phase, it could mean that you are not producing enough progesterone to support a pregnancy, which may cause the uterine lining to shed too soon and perhaps infertility (10).

Taking your BBT every day consistently and accurately can be a challenge. For a more accurate method, purchase a sensor that measures continuous core body temperature measurements (CCBT), which actually can predict ovulation. 

Learn About The Priya Fertility Monitor

What to track to confirm ovulation:

Your daily waking temperature results 

If you want to know more about getting an accurate BBT and what qualifies as a temp spike, check out Basal Body Temperature 101.

Track sexual activity to help ensure proper timing

In your app, track which days you're having sex, as well as whether or not you used contraceptives or any treatments (e.g. IUI) — if you have Kindara Premium, you could also select Amorous 🥰 using our Mood feature to track your sex drive! 

Why bother monitoring this stuff? Having a record of when and how often you're having sex when you’re trying to conceive could help you figure out if you need to change things up, check in with your doctor, etc. If you are tracking this activity, that information could help you and your doctor determine if you’re timing sex correctly and within your fertile window. When you're trying to conceive, as long as the data collection isn’t causing you too much stress, there's no such thing as too much information!  

What to track for intercourse:

The days you have intercourse, even if they’re outside your fertile window

Track luteinizing hormone to double check your fertile window

Around the midpoint of your cycle, a surge in your levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) triggers ovulation, which occurs 36-40 hours after the LH spikes(11). Once released during ovulation, that egg could potentially be fertilized by sperm. Tracking LH (aka ovulation predictor kits, or OPKs) may also help with timing the fertile window. OPKs resemble a pregnancy test — you urinate on the test stick and a chemical in the test checks your level of luteinizing hormone. A dark line will indicate whether or not you're about to ovulate. These tests can't tell you if ovulation already happened; they're looking for that surge of LH that comes right before ovulation. 

When used correctly, OPKs are 97% effective in detecting that surge, and they can be used in combination with other fertility awareness methods, such as monitoring your cervical mucus and/or basal body temperature (12). The caveat with these tests is that you could miss the LH surge since it may last less than 10 hours. In other words, if you only test once per day, you could miss it entirely (13)! Read about How You Might Be Missing Your Fertile Window With OPKs for more details.

Summary

This might seem like a lot to keep track of at first, but once you get the hang of it, tracking your signs becomes second nature, and many are able to develop a new kind of relationship with their bodies. The key with charting is to be consistent! 

Tired of another month gone by without a positive pregnancy test? Priya Fertility System Now Available

References +
1

Why you should track your period to learn more about your body. (2020, August 6). Retrieved October 29, 2020 from https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/health/a31994731/track-period/

3

What's the cervical mucus method of FAMs? (n.d.).  Retrieved October 19, 2020 from https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/fertility-awareness/whats-cervical-mucus-method-fams

4

Mucus observations in the fertile window: a better predictor of conception than timing of intercourse. (2004, April 01). Retrieved October 28, 2020 from https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/19/4/889/2913645

5

The Many Faces of Cervical Mucus. (2019, 12 July). Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://www.kindara.com/blog/the-many-faces-of-cervical-mucus#

6

Fertility Tracking 411: What to Track When Trying to Conceive. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://www.fertilitytips.com/fertility-tracking-411-track-trying-conceive/

7

Basal Body Temperature 101. (2019, 16 May). Retrieved October 20, 2020 from https://www.kindara.com/blog/basal-body-temperature-101-bbt#

9

What Happens During the Luteal Phase of Ovulation? (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2020 from https://progyny.com/education/fertility-101/luteal-phase/

10

Impact of short luteal phase on natural fertility. (2015, 01 September). Retrieved October 29, 2020 from https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(15)01575-7/fulltext

12

Ovulation Test Pros and Cons: Understanding OPKs. (2014, 17 March). Retrieved October 23, 2020 from https://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/ovulation/fertile-days/ovulation-pros-and-cons-of-ovulation-predictor-kits-opks/

13

Weschler, Toni. (2015). Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health, 190-191.

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