Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Health Benefits of Charting

Natural family planning is very education, even if family planning is the furthest thing from your mind! Toni Morrison, author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health, advocates teaching the observational methods of NFP/FAM to young women, in order to empower women to advocate for their health. (She's written a book for middle school and high school girls, Cycle Savvy: The Smart Teen's Guide to the Mysteries of Her Body, which teaches girls to observe the menstrual cycle, but avoids discussion of family planning).

Here's some of the ways charting can help you and your doctor:

  1. You will have a great idea of what healthy cervical fluid looks like, and you'll have a much easier time identifying when discharge is unusual or a symptom of an infection.
  2. You will be able to identify changes in how heavy or long your period is. Without written records, it can be very difficult to see trends, or to associate those trends with other changes. It's very interesting to see how heavyness/length is effected by medication, weight loss or gain, or dramatic dietary changes.
  3. You will know if you are ovulating most cycles. Most women experience the occasional cycle where ovulation does not occur, but if you regularly have cycles where ovulation does not occur, this is worth talking about with your doctor. Many women do not know if ovulation is occurring until months into trying for a baby. NFP gives you this information in advance.
  4. If you check your cervix, you will notice any cervical cysts and polyps. Common (and rarely an indication of a problem), these are still worth tracking with your doctor at routine exams.
  5. You will have a good idea about whether headaches, cold sores, or other aches and pains are related to hormones, because you will be able to see them occurring at the same times in your cycle.
  6. You will be better able to schedule routine doctors appointments - for example, the best time to schedule a pap smear is mid-cycle (when the cervix is slightly dilated), and the best time for a routine breast exam or mammogram is around day 7 (because the tissue is less dense before ovulation).
  7. You will know if you are having early miscarriages. If you have 18+ high temperatures following ovulation, it is very likely that conception and implantation occurred. If those temperatures drop again, it is likely that the pregnancy occurred and was lost. While many women experience these early losses, they are often unaware that they occurred. It is worth discussing this with your doctor, especially if it occurs more than once.

No comments:

Post a Comment