Everything You Need to Know about Using an Ovulation Calendar
Getting ready for pregnancy is one of the most exciting phases in a new couple’s journey. It signals their readiness to start building their own family and take on new responsibilities as parents. It is a significant life decision, so it needs a lot of preparation and planning.
Before beginning this new chapter, there are many things to learn and consider, one of which is family planning methods.
Family planning methods can be categorized into two: natural and artificial. Natural methods, also called “fertility awareness methods,” help predict a woman’s fertile days by tracking their menstrual cycle or recognizing symptoms that can signify fertility. This includes the use of an ovulation calendar and symptoms-based techniques such as the basal body temperature method.
On the other hand, artificial methods include synthetic hormones like progestin pills or barriers such as condoms.
This article discusses the advantages of using an ovulation calendar and other essential things you need to know about it.
What is an ovulation calendar?
As mentioned, the ovulation calendar is one example of a natural family planning method. Ovulation calendars help women predict their fertile days, which is when the chances of getting pregnant are high, by tracking their menstrual cycle over several months.
Why should I use an ovulation calendar?
The efficacy of using an ovulation calendar can be as high as 95%. This means a 95% chance that the method will not fail, especially when you do it correctly. Family planning methods with high efficacy are generally more favorable because they ensure that unwanted pregnancies will not occur.
Ovulation calendars are 100% safe. They do not have side effects as compared with artificial methods such as oral contraceptives. Finally, ovulation calendars are absolutely free. This method can be done using regular calendars or through smartphone apps.
How do I use an ovulation calendar?
Let’s discuss this step-by-step.
- To determine your cycle length, mark the first day of your period on your calendar. Do this every month for at least 6 months. The number of days your menstruation is your cycle length. Note that the cycle length may vary every month.
- To predict the first fertile day of your current cycle, find the shortest cycle from your past record and subtract 18 from it.
- Count that number from the first day of your current cycle and include the first day in the count. Mark the day on your calendar. This is your first fertile day.
- To predict the last fertile day of your current cycle, find the longest cycle from your past record and subtract 11 from it.
- Count that number from the first day of your current cycle and include the first day in the count. Mark the day on your calendar. This is your last fertile day.
- Mark the rest of the days between your first fertile day and your last fertile day. These are your “fertile days” for your current cycle.
Let’s say your shortest cycle is 25 days. Subtract 18, and you get 7. Count 7 from the first day of your current cycle.
If the first day of your current cycle is January 1, then the first fertile day for your current cycle is January 7.
The next step is to get your longest cycle. For example, your longest cycle is 28 days. Subtract 11 and you get 17. Count 17 from the first day of your current cycle.
Again, let’s take January 1 as an example. If the first day of your current cycle is January 1, then the last fertile day for your current cycle is January 16. January 7 to January 16 are your fertile days for this cycle.
Remember: your “fertile days” are the days in your cycle when your chances of getting pregnant are high. While an ovulation calendar cannot tell for sure when you are fertile, it is a reliable way to predict fertility.
For couples who are not planning to get pregnant yet, it is recommended to use contraceptives such as condoms during fertile days.
You may find it hard to use ovulation calendars if your cycle lengths vary, and you cannot use them at all if all your cycles are shorter than 27 days. To increase the accuracy of ovulation calendars, you can combine it with other natural methods such as the basal body temperature and cervical mucus methods.
Using an ovulation calendar can be a safe and natural way to practice family planning. By understanding your body’s natural cycles, you can determine your body’s fertile periods with reliable accuracy. Along with other contraceptive methods, the ovulation calendar can be an indispensable tool for proper family planning.