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How (and Why) to Keep a Fertility Calendar

How Fertility Calendars or Charts Can Help You Get Pregnant

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Updated July 11, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

USA, Illinois, Metamora, Close-up of woman using calendar on digital tablet
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What Is a Fertility Calendar?

Keeping a fertility calendar or fertility chart allows you to record your menstrual cycles and fertility signs. Some people think fertility calendars are only for those charting their body basal temperature (BBT), but that isn’t necessarily so. Fertility calendars can be as simple or as detailed as you like.

What form your fertility calendar will take depends on what fertility signs you are tracking. If you’re going to track your BBT, then you’ll need a graph style chart, which you can make by hand, with computer software, or by signing up with one of many online fertility charting websites.

If you’re not tracking your temperature, you can use a wall calendar or a pocket book calendar. There are also apps available, if you want to track your fertility signs using a smartphone. You can choose the method that fits your personality and lifestyle best.

Why Should You Keep a Fertility Calendar?

Tracking your fertility signs and menstrual cycles when you’re trying to conceive can help you pinpoint your most fertile days. If you chart your BBT, you can find out when you actually ovulate, which can help you time sex for pregnancy in future months.

Keeping a BBT fertility calendar can also help you discover if your ovulation is not normal. If you are not ovulating, or you notice anything unusual about your ovulation period, you can show the information you have gathered with your fertility calendar to your doctor. She can use this information to help you.

Plus, while doctors usually suggest trying to conceive for a year (for women under 35) before seeking help, if you can show your doctor that you have timed intercourse for ovulation for six months already, she may be willing to investigate earlier.

A fertility calendar can also confirm whether or not your period is late, which is important to know if you’re itching to take a pregnancy test.

Another reason to track fertility signs is to help plan your month. If your cycles are regular, tracking when your last period was will help you know when to expect your next one. If you or your partner is out of town on business, and you’re trying to conceive, you can try to plan trips to occur after ovulation.

A fertility calendar can also serve as a reality check. Maybe you feel like you’re having sex every other day, but when you start tracking things, you might notice you’re having conception sex just once a week. Then, you can adjust what you’re doing to help boost your chances of conception.

What Fertility Signs Can You Track with a Fertility Calendar?

You can track as little or as much as you like on a fertility calendar. At the very least, you should track the first day of your periods. This will help you see if your cycles are regular or irregular, and help you figure out when to test for pregnancy.

Of course, tracking more fertility signs will help you detect your fertile window – the time sex is most likely to lead to pregnancy. Tracking more than the bare minimum can also help your doctor, if you need help with trying to conceive.

Fertility signs you may want to track include:

Don’t look at this list and think you must track all of it. Think of this list as your options, and track what seems most helpful to you.

Hopefully, keeping a fertility calendar will help you time sex for pregnancy and conceive faster. If you end up trying to conceive for longer than you hoped, you’ll have more information to share with your doctor.

More on fertility calendars and charting:

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