WHY YOU SHOULD BE TRACKING YOUR PERIOD
I believe that tracking your monthly visitor and all the symptoms in-between should be second nature to everybody who has a period. It’s so useful to know the ins and outs of your body. Here’s why, and how.
1. For Your GP or OBGYN
Even if I go in with something completely unrelated, my GP always asks me when my last period was. Writing things down helps you remember information better (it’s proven), so if you’re tracking your period you’ll be able to remember the specific dates of your last few cycles. If you carry your journal with you, you can just go into your handbag and check to give your answer if you’re unsure. If you have medical issues to do with your period or reproductive organs, noting down symptoms each day will help you and doctors keep an eye on what’s going on and will help you remember what happened on what day or how bad the pain was.
2. You Can Predict Your Period
Seeing the dates down in a chart or a list may help you see a pattern if you’re not exactly sure when your period is due. Most people don’t ‘come on’ every 28 days like the magazines and tween handbooks say; anywhere between 25-40 days per cycle is normal. Another plus side of this is you can schedule activities around your period if you’d rather not be out-and-about during your bleeding or you’re planning a trip away.
3. You’ll Feel ‘At One’ With Your Body
There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of knowing exactly what your body is doing at any given time throughout your cycle. You feel like you and your body have made their peace after a long while of guesswork when it comes to your period. Getting to know what each symptom means and predicting the next move makes you feel very in sync with yourself and mother nature and you’ll immediately know when something feels wrong.
4. You’ll Know When You’re Fertile
If you’re trying to conceive, noting down your period dates, when you’re ovulating, discharge consistency and cervix position (sorry) can really help you find your fertile days in the month. There will be plenty of mum-blogs that can help you with the tracking of all of these. Or if you prefer the cross-your-fingers-and-hope method of contraception, you know which days to avoid getting frisky on.
5. It’s Useful If You Get Pregnant
If you decide to have a baby or find yourself with child, you’ll know when your last missed period was, which helps the ultrasound technician give you an estimated due date of your baby, and how many weeks or months you’re gone, without needing to measure the foetus. You can also see what symptoms you had in the first weeks before you got that positive result on your pregnancy test!
My personal tracking method involves a chart of numbers down the side and months up the top. I have a key that shows different symptoms and it looks a little like the one above. My current tracker has evolved since the one pictured but still has the same days-and-months box chart with a key, but I now track my mood associated with PMS as well instead of discharge and boob ache. You can create or copy a tracking method that works for you, or you can use an app like Clue to manage your cycle digitally. Whatever works best for you!