The Trying to Conceive and Just Starting Out Primer

This is a "primer" created by Krista (Rudylover) and posted by Jennifer (Tigger062077). We made this as a source of information for the "newbies" who are afraid to ask a "silly question"...and for the "oldies" who have been doing this so long they've forgotten the basics.

If you want to reach us, you can reach Jennifer at and Krista at

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Pros & Cons of Charting

Charting can be helpful for women who are TTC, whether they have fertility issues or not. It does take some getting used to and some time each day, but the charts can be very helpful, particularly if your cycles are not predictable in length.

Charting involves keeping track of your cycle days, basal body temperatures (BBT), and other fertility signs such as cervical mucus, cervical position or ovulation predictor kit results (OPK). Charts can help you see when/if you have ovulated, how long your luteal phase is, what your body does in the days leading up to ovulation and how long your cycles are among other things.

What does charting tell you that other methods cannot? Charting can confirm ovulation pretty reliably if you have a clear thermal shift. (A positive OPK cannot actually confirm ovulation occurred, just that hormone levels were right for it to occur.) Charting can show you if your luteal phase might be too short to be ideal for pregnancy achievement (most sources say 10 days or longer is okay, but some experts think you need at least 12 days). Charting can show when you ovulate in your cycle, which may be very different than the 14th day of your cycle that many people believe is “the day.” Charting can also help you to see if you ovulated later than usual for you and therefore will have a longer cycle than you normally do, which can save you from thinking you are actually late and need to take an HPT.

What are the cons of charting? Basically the time and effort you have to put into it. Also, some ladies charts are not clear and are hard to interpret. The extra effort may seem like it is all for nothing, if you are one of those ladies with ambiguous charts. The process of charting can make some people obsess over TTC more than they would if they were not charting (though it saves others from worrying) too, and it is easy to get burned out on charting.

The bottom line is this: charting can give many women a lot of helpful information if they make the effort and get the hang of doing it, but it does not work well for all women.