You Can Have Better Charts & Cycles!

Natural Family Planning and Responsible Parenthood go hand and hand.  However, the virtuous practice of Responsible Parenthood, or discerning whether to abstain or achieve a pregnancy, can be more ambiguous if you are having difficulty charting your cycles.  Here are 3 ways that Fertility Science Institute coaches can help you with your use of NFP and your practice of Responsible Parenthood. 

Charting Support.  One typical issue that we coaches often see is the lack of signs input on the chart.  If you forget to take your temperature or forget to put the temperature on the chart, it can delay identifying the start of phase 3 or even make it impossible to use the Sympto-Thermal Rule.  The same goes for missing mucus observations.  If, one day, you forget to put your mucus observations on your chart, it may delay the identifying of peak day or be unable to assign a peak day due to lack of observations, which leads to no interpretation. If you are using the PeakDay app, this may keep you stuck in phase II.   However, the PeakDay app is a great help when charting your mucus signs.  There is no need to remember at the end of the day mucus you observed when you were away from home at 10 in the morning.  You can mark your mucus observation right away from anywhere in the app.  PeakDay app can also send you a reminder each day to input your observations so you can have fewer missing data.  

By working with a coach, you can hone your skills of taking and recording your temperature and mucus observations so you will have more data on your chart.  For instance, the type of thermometer you use can make a difference.  The new digital thermometer available in the CCL store has a large LCD screen for easy reading and a 30-day memory recall.  If you forget to note your temperature one day, no problem!  Look through the memory of your thermometer and you can record more than one day at a time.  Coaches can also assist you with your mucus observations so you understand the mucus types and, with health and nutrition guidance, you can improve your mucus signs for ease of observation. A coach can help you come up with a plan to achieve your charting goals. 

Health and Nutrition Advice.  You may be doing a good job of charting your observations, but you are still having difficulty identifying the fertile window on your chart, or your fertile window is abnormally long.  If you are charting continuous mucus or only have the less fertile-type mucus, it may be difficult to find peak day and therefore use the STM Rule.  “Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition” by Marilyn Shannon is the go-to guide for help with these issues but can feel overwhelming to read at first.  A FSI coach can help you find the right path through the nutrition landscape.  Your coach can also help you use alternative ways to confirm your fertile window which may include LH strips and the cervix sign.   

Identifying and Mitigating Stress. Both the habits of charting and the cycle itself can be affected by the elephant in the room, stress.  It’s easy to say “reduce stress” but it is not always easy finding concrete steps toward that goal.  An FSI coach can walk with you to show how both physical and emotional stress can impact your cycle and can suggest ways to decrease its effects.  

Our coaches have developed a NFP Wellness evaluation to help you identify the areas in your life that you see as stressors. Then, based on your own evaluation, a coach can help you identify the problem areas and offer resources and suggestions, as well as share their own experiences.  The NFP Wellness evaluation can also help you to identify other struggles you may have using NFP.   

Practicing NFP is not always easy, but identifying the underlying issues can help you move towards a remedy and better overall success. Having a solid handle on your charting, nutrition and stress makes it easier to practice virtuous and responsible parenthood. 

Written by FSI Coaches Stacey Nagle, Elizabeth Timpe and Bernadette Jones, for Family Foundations. magazine