Helping You Monitor Your Fertility

Recommended Pages for Further Reading


"Although fertility charting can seem complicated at first, it really is not that difficult to learn. New users should consider using fertility charting software to help get started."


Ovulation Calendar


Many new terms are explained and used throughout this site. This page attempts to define some of the most common terms for reference.

Basic Terms

  • Fertility Awareness:
    A method of determining fertility by recording daily symptoms. The data is frequently charted to facilitate analysis. Basal body temperature and cervical mucus are the core symptoms that are usually tracked although symptoms can also be included. It is sometimes abbreviated FAM (fertility awareness method).

  • Natural Family Planning:
    Another term for the fertility awareness method. It also refers to sympto-thermal charting, but is usually used in the context of trying to avoid pregnancy.

  • Fertility Charting:
    A more informal term for the fertility awareness method. Since these techniques require the charting of fertility symptoms, it is often nicknamed fertility charting. Charting can be done manually on paper or automatically using software.

  • Symptothermal Chart:
    A chart of multiple symptoms that is generated to illustrate fertility. This usually includes basal body temperatures and cervical mucus. The stand chartings conventions are defined here.

  • Fertility Chart:
    Another name for a symptothermal chart.

  • Ovulation Chart:
    Another name for a symptothermal chart.

  • Fertile Window:
    The interval within a given cycle where conception is likely. Couples trying to conceive should have intercourse in this window and couples trying to avoid should abstain from intercourse during this time to reduce the likelihood of conception.

  • Rhythm Method:
    A rudimentary method of estimating ovulation based only on cycle length and menstruation dates. No daily symptoms are recorded. This approach can offer an initial estimate, but should not be relied upon due to its significant shortcomings. This is also known as the calendar method. More information is available here.

Medical Terminology

  • Ovum:
    The female egg. Pregnancy can result when the female egg is fertilized by a male sperm.

  • Ovulation:
    This term refers to the release of the egg. The chance of conception is highest immediately around this time. For more information, see the ovulation page.

  • Anovulatory:
    This describes a cycle that is not ovulatory. Since ovulation did not occur, there is no chance of pregnancy. This can be assessed in hindsight by noting the lack of a temperature shift or biphasic pattern in a BBT chart.

  • Menstruation:
    The process that involves shedding of the uterine lining. The presence of this flow marks the beginning of the menstrual cycle.

  • Menses:
    The uterian lining shed by the uterus at the beginning of a new cycle.

  • Conception:
    The successful implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. This is when pregnancy begins.

Fertility Symptoms

  • Basal Body Temperature:
    The body's baseline temperature. It should be taken in the morning immediately after waking for consistency. Environmental factors can influence temperature if taken at other times. It is sometimes abbreviated as BBT. Information on tracking this symptom can be found here.

  • Cervical Mucus:
    Mucus produced by the cervix which can be observed in the form of vaginal fluids. Information about its consistency, color, and sensation are charted to help gauge fertility. Additional information on tracking this symptom is available here.

  • Fertility Monitor:
    A electronic device that must be purchased and can be used with test strips to determine the onset and passing of fertility by looking for the presence of two hormones in urine. It requires daily testing. More information is available here.

  • Saliva Ferning:
    A technique that monitors ferning patterns in samples of saliva from the mouth to relate to fertility. This is not typically given nearly as much weight as CM and BBT. More information is available here.

  • Cervix Observations:
    Noting the position, consistency, and dilation of the cervix as an indicator of fertility. More information is available here.

  • Rhythm Method:
    An older approach that estimated fertility using rules associated with given cycle days. This approach is not always effective. More information is available here.

  • Calendar Method:
    Another name for the rhythm method.