NFP and TTC- 2 questions


If anyone could help me out, I’d really appreciate it. I’ve been charting for several months now, preparing for my upcoming marriage (wedding in 3 weeks!!). There are a couple of points that I’m not 100% sure about and I can’t find a straight answer anywhere online.

First, how exactly do you calculate how many days your cycle is? A cycle begins on Day 1 of your period and then ends…when exactly? The first day of your next cycle or the day before your next cycle starts? If I calculate my cycle ending the day before my next period, then my cycle is exactly 28 days every month. I would imagine that’s the correct way to calculate it, since the first day of your next period is the beginning of your *next *cycle…so it wouldn’t be counted as part of the last cycle as well…right?

Second question, when exactly is the fertile window? I know we can’t pinpoint it exactly but if I could get a rough picture it would really help. This is a question that I’ve googled and have come up with many, many different answers.

I use the mucous method, and chart it along with my menstrual cycles. So, I’m wondering when exactly does a person ovulate? And the fertile window is supposed to be 5 days prior to ovulating through 2 days after, correct?

I know these are silly questions, but with all the different answers online I just wanted to be sure…:blush:


Yes, you are correct that each cycle begins on the first day of your period. It ends on day before your next period starts.

As for the “fertility window”… I know you mentioned you use the mucous method, but here’s a good link regarding the sympto-thermal method:

Specifically, in the online handbook - check out this chapter and go to page 33…
There’s a nice graphic of the menstrual cycle.
Ovulation isn’t an instantaneous thing that just HAPPENS, it’s a PROCESS, a buildup of hormones that surges and then tapers off. As your body gears up to ovulate, the signs change gradually. As your mucous becomes more and more egg-white, it holds the ability to allow the sperm to travel and survive for longer periods of time. When the egg is released it slowly travels down the fallopian tubes and travels down into the uterus. The egg and the sperm each have their own life spans, so that’s where the “window” comes into play… since it’s not just an instantaneous MOMENT…

HTH a little!


If your are just using mucus observations…please look at this link:

It is the website for the Billings method. Basically in a nutshell. you avoid sexual contact from when you start noticing fertile mucus (egg white type mucus) until 3 days passed peak.

The website also offers an online teaching course, and an online charting service.


Yep. Day 1 is first day of menses, and your last day of that cycle is the day before your period starts again.

Your egg is available for conception for 24 hours, and then starts to break down. Sperm can live up to 7 or 8 days in good mucus, but usually live for only 3-5 days. So, if you’re trying to conceive, you focus on having relations after your period ends (or during your period, if you tend to ovulate early in your cycle, and you feel comfortable doing so), until 2-3 days after your peak-type mucus starts drying up.

When your mucus is a stretchy, egg-white consistency, and you see lots of it, is when your body is ovulating. It is my understanding that the egg enters the fallopian tube the day before, the day of, or the day after you see the largest quantity of good mucus (which, of course, you won’t know ahead of time).

Your egg is only viable for 24 hours, so you really only have 1 day after ovulation, but since we can’t pinpoint when ovulation happens (before, during, or after peak-type mucus), you essentially have 2 days of hope. :smiley: But because sperm usually live up to 5 days, you have those 5 days before you ovulate to give sperm the opportunity to hang out and wait for the egg to show up.

I was trained in the Sympto-Thermal method, in case that matters.


I have a feeling this won’t be my last thread on this topic lol. I don’t know why I feel it’s so overwhelming. Thanks all so much for taking the time to reply! :slight_smile:

Ah…thank you! This is some good practical advice.

So, I have a part B to my OP now. How much success have you guys had in using NFP to try and conceive? I know that every woman is different, but I’m just trying to get some kind of picture. Like, if you were just going along, normal sex life, without a real plan for awhile and then started NFP, did it happen immediately? Is a couple months the norm (assuming that everyone is healthy and able to conceive)? Or, (if this is easier to answer) how would you compare your success (= conception) in using NFP and charting, etc. with the “uncharted” method-- just going with the flow and taking the blessings as they come?


Charting made it possible for me to identify my luteal phase defect. Once I figured out what was wrong, I was able to correct it, and we conceived 4 months after my luteal phase lengthened (with “optimal timing” of sex). With normal, healthy fertility, conception usually takes place within 1-3 cycles of good timing.

I strongly prefer to go with the flow (now that I’ve corrected my problem), just because there was a lot of pressure/stress and tears during those 4 months when I didn’t conceive while doing everything “right.” I had already experienced months of disappointment trying to conceive, before figuring out that the generally acceptable luteal phase of 9-12 days didn’t apply to me (mine have to be in the 15-17 day range). Every month my period came was another reminder that I didn’t have a baby yet, and my husband said afterward that he felt kinda “used” in our quest to get pregnant. :o :frowning:

We decided to not “try” after my fertility returned for the first time, after my daughter was born, and God immediately blessed us with our son. :smiley:

I continue to chart, so that I can estimate my due date before I visit my OB. I rarely ovulate on Day 14, so my doc and I discuss my charts to determine when the baby’s due.

Since my son’s birth in early 2008, my cycles just resumed last month. I am currently charting my second cycle postpartum. I got really spoiled, during all those pregnancy/nursing years of not having a period! :smiley:


You’re right, claire. A new cycle starts on the first day of your period and ends on the last day right before the next period starts. Sometimes this can get tricky if you have spotting at the end of your cycle right before the period “really” starts…

It’s different for everyone. If you are using a mucus-only method (like Creighton or Billings) it’s important to remember that any day fertile mucus is present is considered a day of fertility. Sometimes the fertile CM will be present for many days, and sometimes for not many at all…it all depends on your body. There is no set number of days, and the rule “5 days before and 2 days after” isn’t really helpful for all women. For Creighton, any day where fertile mucus is present is considered a day of fertility, AS WELL AS three days after the peak day (where no fertile CM is present, but because the egg has probably just been released, conception is still possible).

They are not silly questions! I learned Creighton before we got married, and I thought that what they did when you were actually starting to use the method in conjugal life was wise…the rules went from strictest to less strict when it comes to TTA based upon your experience with using the method. What I mean by that is that when you first start using Creighton, if you are trying to avoid conceiving you should only have intercourse every other day, at the end of the day. This is so that you can learn to bear down at the end of the day to check for the presence of any CM (and determine whether or not that day is a day of fertility), and so that you can learn to recognize seminal fluid after intercourse and become able to differentiate it from CM or eliminate it through bearing down after sex.

NFP has a bit of a learning curve, and it can be used very successfully according to your intentions, but it takes time and learning about everything that is involved.


I just saw this so I wanted to respond…

My experience is that we used NFP to avoid conceiving, successfully but sometimes frustratingly, for 2-3 months. Then we decided we were in a place where we could be and really wanted to be open to a child. We didn’t so much start following all the rules for conceiving every cycle, but there probably wasn’t one month where we didn’t have sex, multiple times, during the fertile time. And still no baby, a year later.

I told my friend, also a Creighton user, my story before her wedding in August, just saying that “not every young 20-something who gets married and has sex one time during the fertile period is going to get pregnant…just trust God!”…and they got pregnant within a month!

Everyone is different! Heading into marriage you really just need to trust God and try to discern His will for your family. He will provide :slight_smile:

The great thing about NFP is that by charting your cycles and then consulting with a professional who understands what it all means, you have a powerful tool for understanding how your body works and what issues you may or may not have.


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