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Menstruation may be the most obvious event during a menstrual cycle, but a lot happens during the rest of the month as well. Are you trying to get pregnant? Are you hoping to avoid conception?

Or are you just getting to know your body a little better? In all cases, you will benefit from one or more of these methods to get information about your menstrual cycle. 

Basal body temperature

Have you ever heard of fertility charting? Fertility charting can use many different tools, but basal body temperature is always included. Perhaps you know that some women measure their temperature to find out when they are fertile. What is basal body temperature exactly? Also called BBT is fertility jargon, basal body temperature is the lowest temperature your body gets to when it is resting during sleep, mostly. It is the BBT that rises slightly during ovulation (only slightly; half a degree to a degree Fahrenheit, or quarter to half a degree Celsius).

This is why women who want to find out when they are fertile often measure their basal body temperature, by taking their temperature first thing in the morning as they wake up. You get the most accurate results if you take your BBT at the same time each day, so a lot of women who chart their temperature set the alarm at the same time every morning. Where does the chart come in?

Well, you clearly have to write the temperatures down for them to be useful to you. Many women do this on a chart, so they can see trends. It is possible do this with pencil and paper, but these days you can also use the internet instead. There are sites that make these charts for you, all automatically. Fertility charting is really handy if you want to conceive, and essential if you are using the natural family planning method to avoid pregnancy. If you want information about your cycle just for informative reasons, you will probably not want to go through all the trouble for measuring your temperature and charting.

Cervical mucus

The cervical mucus that every women of menstruating age naturally has gives plenty of information, from where in her cycle she is to whether she may have a yeast infection or other problems. Unlike following your basal body temperature, checking your cervical mucus is effortless and it only takes a minute. All you have to do is stick two of your fingers up your v@g1na (no, we not too prude to spell it out, just trying to avoid people with the wrong intentions from coming to this blog!) and to look. You are obviously familiar with menstruation.

After menstruation, you'll notice there is not much cervical mucus. Then, as you approach your ovulation date you will see mucus that is a bit more slippery and fluid, and usually egg white in color. During ovulation, the cervical fluid you produce is at its most liquid, to enable sperm to reach their destination more easily. After ovulation, during the luteal phase of the cycle, cervical mucus becomes white and thick.

Cervical position

My friend tells me that she can tell where in her cycle she is just by feeling the position of her cervix. I know, I am supposed to be writing an informative post about how to get to know your menstrual cycle. In truth, I know absolutely nothing about this even after hearing descriptions on how to check your cervical position. Maybe I will try it this month, in which case I will let you all know about it. My friend says a hard and closed cervix is not fertile, while a soft and open cervix is fertile. So far, so good. The other thing they say is that a non-fertile cervix is high, while a fertile cervix is low. That's the part I personally don't understand. If you want to use this method, you will have to play around with it a bit.

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