Lesson 20 – Learning About Chart Variations

Lesson Objectives:

  • Become familiar with non-ideal fertility chart patterns

Major Points in this Lesson:

  • As all women are different, some may have fertility charts that do not match the “ideal” pattern.
  • Some women will only have the occasional unusual cycle, while other women will experience irregular cycles month after month.
  • As not all fertility patterns are “textbook,” you will need to have some flexibility. Knowing your unique pattern can help you analyze a chart that is less than ideal. 

Fertility charting can be more challenging for women who have “non-ideal” patterns. It’s not uncommon for one or more elements of the ideal ovulation pattern to be absent, or for the signs do not perfectly correlate with one another. Know that this is not a cause for concern. You can still narrow down the day of ovulation through careful analysis, even if your chart is less than ideal.

Patterns may become skewed due to poor data collection techniques. The inability to follow the manufacturer’s instructions properly on certain tools or devices can cause your results to differ. Taking your BBT at varying times and with insufficient sleep can also alter your results. Travel, stress, fatigue, illness, and similar issues can also impact your fertility chart. 

As you gain experience with charting, you’ll likely notice that your patterns are more distinguishable. This makes it possible for you to better pinpoint ovulation even if your patterns are non-ideal. Your chart can differ from the norm in several ways, such as:

  • Fallback rise
  • Slow/sloping rise
  • Staircase rise
  • Sawtooth rise
  • Out of place temperatures
  • Erratic temperatures
  • High or erratic temperatures during the period
  • Dip before rising or ovulation dip
  • Multiple positive OPKs or positive OPKs before ovulation
  • Multiple patches of fertile cervical fluid
  • No egg white cervical fluid
  • OPK, microscope, or fertility monitor does not correlate
  • Cervical fluid or position does not correlate with BBT
  • Fertile cervical fluid after ovulation
  • Ambiguous temperature shift

Your fertility pattern may include one or more of these unique circumstances. Having an ambiguous fertility chart can be stressful, especially when you are trying to conceive. However, know that no fertility chart is perfect. While having a clear chart is convenient, it’s more important to understand how charts can vary and how to use this information to read your own chart. Making use of certain tools and devices, such as an in-ear BBT thermometer, can also be useful for achieving more accurate results.