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What is a Fertility Calendar?

Margo Upson
Updated May 17, 2024
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A fertility calendar is a way for women to chart their monthly cycles. It can be used as both a method of birth control or as a fertility method. Learning how to use and read a fertility calendar is easy. By inputting a few numbers, a fairly accurate calendar of a woman’s fertile days can be created.

Also called the rhythm method, fertility calendars are designed around a woman’s personal monthly schedule. It takes into account that each woman’s cycle is unique. For example, the length of a woman’s cycle averages twenty-eight days. However, it can be as short as ten days, or as long as sixty days. Some cycle lengths vary from month to month.

Fertility calendars help to track and measure the length of a cycle. For a woman trying to conceive, it is important to know when she is ovulating. This is just as important for a woman who is trying not to get pregnant. By keeping track of the first day of her period for a couple months, a woman should be able see a pattern to her monthly cycle.

By using the length of her cycles, and the first day of her most recent cycle, a fertility calendar can tell a woman when she will be most fertile. Some charts can even predict when the best time to achieve a boy or girl will be. Y-sperm (male) move faster than X-sperm (female). However, X-sperm live longer. So having intercourse a few days early will be more likely to result in a female child, because the Y-sperm will have died off by the time the egg is released. Waiting a few days for intercourse, until a day before ovulation, will give the faster Y-sperm a better chance of reaching the egg first. Abstaining from sex during the fertile time will prevent a woman from becoming pregnant.

A fertility calendar can also tell a woman when her period is next due, as well as when to test for a pregnancy. They can even tell when the baby will be due, based on the estimated date of conception. Fertility calendars have helped millions of women conceive, but they are not perfect. They work on the assumption that women ovulate halfway between their cycles, which is not always true.

A more accurate picture of when ovulation will happen is gathered by taking the idea of a fertility calendar one step further. By charting her cervical position, vaginal secretions, and temperature, ovulation can be more accurately predicted. Because the female body changes in definite ways through the different stages of a woman’s cycle, it is possible to track a woman’s fertility. It is called basal body temperature (BBT) charting, and is recommended by a lot of fertility doctors for couples having a difficult time conceiving.

With a fertility calendar, women are able to plan for a pregnancy. Women who know when their fertility window is have a better chance of conceiving than a woman who is just guessing on the best times to have intercourse. Fertility calendars are an easy to use tool that all women should be familiar with.

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Margo Upson
By Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education, Margo Upson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role as a WiseGeek writer. Her wide-ranging interests and skill at diving into new topics make her articles informative, engaging, and valuable to readers seeking to expand their knowledge.
Discussion Comments
By MissDaphne — On May 23, 2011

Hush's situation is why keeping a fertility calendar is so helpful for all women! A lot of people think of "the rhythm method," but you keep the more detailed chart the article was mentioning, it's actually called the Fertility Awareness Method. (Disclaimer: this method should only be used by monogamous couples and if you're interested in, talk to your doctor and/or read a book on the method.)

It's totally compatible with barrier methods of birth control, too. Using fertility awareness will help you know when your most fertile days are (you might want to abstain altogether or use two methods those days) and will let you know when to take a pregnancy test, so you don't wind up biting your nails at the end of every month!

By ElizaBennett — On May 22, 2011

@ hush - Yes, it is. You don't say whether you mean six days after the first day of your period, or six days after the LAST day.

Assuming you ovulated during your last menstrual cycle, you usually can't get pregnant by having intercourse on the first five days of your cycle. But day six is definitely possible, if not super-likely. Remember that during your fertile time, sperm can survive in the body for up to five days until you ovulate.

If you're worried, take a pregnancy test! It sounds like you're mostly worried about one particular instance, and if that was two or three weeks ago, you should be getting a positive already if you are pregnant.

By hush — On May 21, 2009

is it possible to get pregnant 6 days after menstrual period??

Margo Upson
Margo Upson
With a vast academic background that has ranged from psychology and culinary arts to criminal justice and education,...
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