Fertility Awareness: Which Chart Should I Use? Regular, Low Temp, NFP, Conceiving, and more.
Fertility Awareness 101: Learn the basic ideas behind this natural and effective method for either achieving or preventing pregnancy while learning about your body. Also known as Natural Family Planning.
When beginning to practice Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), or even if you have for a while, you might wonder where to find the “right” chart. As long as it has space for both temperature recordings and notes on cervical fluid, then it can be used for FAM. You may occasionally find charts that only have space for one of these symptoms; these are not true “FAM” charts, but charts for a different method that only follows one symptom. Fertility Awareness, Natural Family Planning, and the Symptothermal methods all follow these two (and usually more) symptoms.
Temperature and Cervical Fluid should definitely be on there, but most charts also have space for other information and details that can help you interpret your cycle. How many details you want and which ones are relevant are up to you. Some people are highly organized and want lots of details, others find this confusing and stressful. Here are a few charts I’ve found so that you can use a chart that is most useful to your life.
#1. Katie Singer's Garden of Fertility
I like these because I find them straight-forward and uncluttered. This would be a good chart for “basic” cycles: it has the information you need to interpret a cycle without needing space for medications or procedures that affect it. It doesn’t dictate what symbols or abbreviations to use; the user is free to write whatever makes sense to them. This is a good chart for the no-frills user who just needs to write down the important information and analyze the rest in her head. Singer offers charts in Fahrenheit, Celsius, and an expanded chart for those with Low Temperatures. You can find Katie Singer’s charts in the back of her book “The Garden of Fertility” or on her website.
#2. Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility
This will be the first result in your Google search because of the wide recognition of her book. I have to admit these are not my personal favorites; however, others might like them for their greater detail. Some of her charts have a space dedicated to any medications or procedures/diagnostic tests you might be taking, aimed at women seeking fertility treatments and others whose health might frequently impact their cycles. Some of the details are redundant. For example, her charts have two spots to mark the type of cervical fluid each day. This could be a good thing for detail-oriented individuals who like to see visual patterns to interpret the data, but for others it might be a waste of space and confusing.
I would recommend these charts to users who like to be extra organized or those needing the section on medications and treatments. Her charts are found in the back of her book or on her website. She has several different charts to choose from: F, C, Low Temp, Achieve Pregnancy, Prevent Pregnancy. Her site also has the option to chart online for a small monthly fee.
#3. Hunter House Publishers
Hunter House Pub. has a chart that is similar to Singer’s. It is simple and uncluttered. You may think the symbols on the bottom are arbitrary or you might like to use them for established consistency. It differs from Singer’s charts in that it separates the notes for cervical fluids and “disturbances” (you slept late, had a fever, etc.), which is good for the organized. Another good, basic chart. The chart does not go low enough for those with very low temperatures, however. You can find it here.
#4. Natural Family Planning
NFP is basically the same thing as FAM but from a Catholic perspective, making abstinence the only "acceptable" way to prevent pregnancy during fertile phases, rather than, say, using condoms. The mechanics are all the same, however. This chart is also fairly straight forward, but has more analyzing details than Singer’s or Hunter House Pub’s for those who like to track “overall trends”. There’s not much room for note taking except in the form of symbols, however it includes a handy-dandy symbol guide on the bottom for just that! Once again, it may not be low enough for those with very low temperatures. You can find a NFP chart here.
#5. Justisse Healthworks FAM
Well I don’t actually know what these charts look like, because you’d have to buy them first. It seems a little silly to me since you can find others for free. However, I decided to include them in the list because they have a lot of good information, and they also sell other supplies you might like for your FA charting, such as guides, charting stickers, and (gasp!) a glass mercury thermometer!! (It’s almost impossible to find these any more, but they are reputed to be the most accurate BBT thermometers around). Here they are.
Don't get scammed, get FAM!
Please note that online “ovulation calculators” and predictors are not a form of Fertility Awareness. These software programs are based on mathematical models, not on YOU. Fertility Awareness is all about YOU knowing and being aware of your own body and cycles. This is valuable knowledge, so please don’t pay (or sign up) for others to figure it out for you!
I hope you found a chart above that fits your needs for practicing Fertility Awareness.
Did I miss your favorite chart? Let me know!