Guide to tracking your menstrual cycle: observations and methods
Cycle tracking is the embodied practice of menstrual cycle awareness. Whereby you note daily observations of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual signs and sensations. This practice offers you the opportunity to create a deeper connection and understanding of your cyclical experience; and through noting your cyclical observations and interpreting patterns, you are able to adopt the knowledge gained to create and invite more ease and flow into your day-to-day.
Observations may include
Cycle start and end date (helps to identify cycle length)
Cycle days (CD1, CD2, CD3 …)
Moon phases and/or inner seasons
Menstrual flow (spotting, light, moderate, heavy)
Cervical fluids (dry, creamy, watery, egg white)
Energy levels and/or mood
Specifics (eg.cramps, headaches, tender breasts, sex drive)
Anything else you feel is relevant to track across your cycle
Unsure what observations to record, ask yourself:
🌀 What is most important for me to know right now? Go with that.
🌀 Record what you need + want to know and leave the rest!
There are a number of methods available to you to choose from to record your daily observations and insights, such as
Pen and paper cycle charting
Cycle tracking apps
Using a paper or electronic calendar
Using the 'Notes' feature on your mobile phone
A method of your own design
🌀 When choosing a cycle tracking method – choose a method that fits in with your current routine and lifestyle; and one that you will find supportive and enjoyable.
🌀 Daily observations offer the greatest opportunity for insight and reflection, and yet start with a frequency of charting that feels right for you.
Observing your menstrual flow
Your period is made up of blood, vaginal secretions and the endometrial cells of the uterine wall. Your period (menstruation phase) will vary in appearance (colour, consistency, flow) and typically last anywhere between 2 – 7 days.
Heavy flow: approx. 3 – 4 pads/tampons
Moderate flow: approx. 2 – 3 pads/tampons
Light flow: approx. 1 – 2 pads/tampons
🌀 Unsure how to rate your flow? Next time you have your period, make note of the # of period products you use each day. 🌀 Count cycle day 1 (start date) of your cycle as day 1 of full flow, not including spotting.
🌀 What is the difference between spotting and full flow? Spotting is much less blood than your period. You may notice a red/pink tinge on your toilet paper when you wipe, but not on your underwear. You also do not require the use of period products.
Observing your cervical fluids
Cervical fluid is fluid that is secreted from your cervix and changes in appearance and consistency throughout your cycle. Charting your cervical fluids within this context (menstrual cycle awareness) is not a method to confirm ovulation, nor for natural contraception or conception, but rather charting cervical fluids is a helpful way to begin noticing the phase/season you’re in, or transitioning between.
DRY – no fluid post menstruation phase; transitioning to inner spring from inner winter or pre-menstruation phase; transitioning from inner summer towards inner autumn
CREAMY – thick/sticky fluid post menstruation phase and pre-ovulation phase; transitioning from inner spring towards inner summer
WATERY – wet/slippery fluid pre-ovulation phase: transitioning from inner spring towards inner summer
EGG WHITE: clear/stretchy fluid ovulation phase; inner summer
Did you know ...
🌀 an average cycle length is 28days, and yet it is normal to have a cycle length between 24 to 35 days.
🌀 bleeding may last between 2 and 7 days.
🌀 menstrual blood loss is typically between 5ml and 80ml over the entire period.
🌀 on average your will experience 450 periods across your lifetime!
The preceding text is taken from Embrace Your Flow, a beginner's guide to menstrual cycle awareness and cyclical living - you can access and download the full guide here.
Also included is 3 printable cycle trackers for you to choose from.
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