So, what is a menstrual calendar? Well, simply put – it’s a way to track your menstrual cycle, so you’re not left wondering when you’ll get your period. This will help you plan a trip or special event. It’s also useful if you’re trying to conceive. You can start creating your menstrual calendar today, or wait until the first day of your next period.
If you’re anything like me, you like to record everything. A record of things can help you feel more in control, and this is also the case with a menstrual calendar.
It’s great to have an good idea of when your period is coming, and not to get get caught out unexpectedly. An excellent proactive measure is to make and keep this type of calendar.
Perks of using menstrual calendar
For those of you looking to conceive, the menstrual calendar is a really useful tool. It can help you see when you are likely to ovulate, and help you to understand how ovulation works. So if you’re planning a new addition to your family, planning ahead can [really] help.
There are only a few days during each menstrual cycle when you can become pregnant. You’re most likely to get pregnant from having sex during the 3-4 days before or on the day of ovulation. A menstrual calendar can help highlight that window of opportunity. Let it help you identify your most fertile days, as well as ovulation signs and symptoms.
How to make a calendar?
Making a calendar like this is a simple and easy way to record and track your reproductive health. Having knowledge of the first day of your last period is important. Should anything go wrong with periods, having a record of past dates is beneficial when talking to doctors.
So how of you create a menstrual calendar for yourself? The first step is to decide which calendar format suits you best. Start by grabbing your calendar. A paper calendar, one on your computer, phone or tablet will work just fine.
Now note when your last period started. This is the first date for your menstrual calendar – day 1. Just to clarify – this is the very first day you see bright red blood, as brown spotting doesn’t count. Mark this date on your calendar. How do you want to identify your date? Some women simply write ‘1st day’, or their initials. You can also use an ‘X’, an asterisk or exclamation mark. Choose a symbol of some sort, or you could circle the date if it suits your chosen calendar format. A red marker or other bright colour will make the noted days easier to spot.
The next bit of information to note is how long did your period last? Pop this on your calendar. Next up, how long is your cycle? It can be anywhere from 21 to 35 days. If you’re unsure, just count 28 days for now. The way to measure this cycle is that it starts on the first day of bleeding, and ends the day before the next menstrual bleeding. Next, count forward by the number of days your menstrual cycle normally is. Put your identifying mark on the last day. This is when your period is due to start.
Monitoring your period in this way allows you to figure out your actual cycle length. Over time, you will be able to adjust your calculations accordingly.
You may be keen to add additional information for your own reasons. If that’s the case, for each day during your period – describe the flow of your menstruation on your calendar. Is it heavy, medium or light? You could just add ‘H’, ‘M’ or ‘L’ for ease of recording. Again, this information can really come in handy later on down the line. If your flow is extra heavy or light, you could simply put ‘XH’ or whatever coding works for you.
Consider updating your calendar at the same time every day during your cycle, so it becomes a routine. You could set an alert or alarm to remind you to update. Other additional information you could note on your calendar is whether you have any signs or symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Do you have a headache? Are you feeling bloated? How’s your mood? Are you happy, or feeling miserable? Just a word or two added regarding how you feel each day will help you to see if there is a pattern emerging. This also serves as more data for your doctor, should you need to see one. The extra info can help diagnose PMS, or help you pick up on signs of it when you look back.
If you do choose to opt for a paper calendar, one with big squares is a good idea. This way you have plenty of room to describe how you feel on days when you want to write a little more. The other advantage of the paper option is it allows you to more easily see overall patterns in your cycle. Your calendar can let you know whether your cycle is irregular.
For ease, there are also free online tools that track your cycle, and are compatible with smartphones. These can offer a wide range of services based on your needs, such as file sharing with your doctor, and birth control pill reminders. An electronic option may work better for you, as some women will find it quicker and easier to call up necessary information this way. Online tools also have the function of importing and exporting information to other calendars.
So now you know how to make menstrual calendar. It doesn’t have to take long to keep this kind of data about ourselves up to date, and to hand. And a few minutes invested can really pay off. Also, charting your periods in this way provides a handy record of your health.
Every woman has a cycle unique to her. You’ll soon grow accustomed to keeping and having this information, and find it useful in maybe more ways than you initially thought.