Last modified: August 2, 2019
Richard Honaker M.D.View Full Profile
Observing and monitoring your menstrual cycle can be very helpful with family planning, be it in trying to get pregnant or in delaying and preventing any pregnancy. If you can’t seem to remember the date of the first day of your last menstruation keep track by maintaining a menstrual cycle calendar.
Keeping a Record of Your Monthly Menstrual Cycle
Monitoring your menstrual cycle simply means recording any details that are related to your menses. Start with a regular planner or use a red marker to encircle the date on your calendar. Count from the start of one period to the following first day and you can determine your cycle length.
If you’re a bit confused and feel like you need help, your gynecologist can help you determine the length of your menstrual cycle for you so you can begin and keep a menstrual cycle calendar. Most women have a 28 day cycle, but it can vary from 21 to 35 days in adult women and still be deemed average or typical.
Tracking Your Menses Helps Your Reproductive Health
Being familiar with and understanding your cycle length can become very helpful for women who are trying to get pregnant, for those who are trying to prevent pregnancy, and for understanding the rhythm of their menstruation.
For those who are trying to avoid pregnancy and have a consistently regular cycle, the calendar method can be a very effective way of birth control. In fact, for many people, it has been the go to family planning method for generations. This way you can plan the year when you will be ready to experience pregnancy.
The aim or main purpose of such method is to avoid sex during the time that you are most fertile, which is during ovulation and for several days before and after. When it’s accurately executed, this method can be between 80% and 87% effective in precluding pregnancy. Be reminded that it can be a bit tricky to exactly determine what days you should avoid having sex, so if you don’t monitor your menstrual cycle accurately there will be an elevated chance for failure. You might get pregnant. This will not be advisable for those who have irregular menstruation. For women who have irregular monthlies that don’t want to get pregnant, it would be best to consult your gynecologist about other contraception methods.
The main objective of monitoring your menses is to determine the length of your menstrual cycle and deduce the probable timing of ovulation. To avoid getting pregnant, you can stay away from having sex for several days before ovulation and the same amount of days after ovulation. Since it is complicated and strenuous to exactly determine when you will ovulate, experts suggest that it would be best if you use additional methods of birth control to preclude pregnancy. It’s better to take extra precautionary measure if you don’t want to get pregnant.
On the other hand, if you want to get pregnant or pregnancy has always been one of your life’s goals, it is also crucial that you understand the timing of your menstrual cycle. Since ovulation normally happens 14 days before your next period begins, it’s critical that you know what day your period is expected to start. Make sure to have unprotected sex days before, during, and days after ovulation. This will give a greater chance of getting pregnant. Just don’t get too stressed out about it or the amount of stress you and your partner are in might hinder or minimize your chances of entering the pregnancy stage that you so desired.
Helpful Tools for Monitoring Your Monthlies for Pregnancy and Health
There are plenty of tools available today that can help you keep a menstrual cycle calendar. Try these online resources: My Monthly Cycles and BabyCenter’s Ovulation Calendar.
If you’re always on the go, here are applications that you can utilize on your mobile phone: Fertility Friend (iPhone), iMensies (iPhone of iPod Touch), and LadyTimer, that sends your phone text alerts about your menstrual cycle. You can also use Healthy Style Hub’s Ovulation Calculator if you’re trying to get pregnant.
For the less technologically predisposed, put a red mark on your calendar on the first day of your menses. You can also try to wear a beaded bracelet that you can move relative to where you are in your cycle. The latter will be a better option for those who prefer interactive reminders. The calendar method is the more preferable option, especially to the ones who opt for the easier method.
Whether you are trying to prevent pregnancy or you’re trying to get pregnant, keeping track of your cycle will be beneficial for both attempts. Use whichever tool you feel that will be more comfortable for you in getting pregnant or in precluding pregnancy, each to his own.
Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker: http://www.independentmedicalexaminer.com/IME-Directory/Virginia/Dr-Richard-A-Honaker-MD.asp
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.