NFP Charting question- please help


I’ve only been charting for the past 3 months and I have a couple newbie questions. Forgive me if I don’t have all the terminology down yet. Ok so my cycles seem to be very regular, 27 days every month. I’m charting that and also charting my CM secretions. I’ve read that ovulation begins aprox. 12 days into a cycle. And then that the Luteal phase (which is the phase with the secretions?) arrives toward the end of the ovulation phase and extends past it.

But with me, the CM secretions have been starting pretty regularly 8-9 days into the cycle. So my questions are, does anything seem amiss about this, or am I not understanding the phases yet properly? When exactly do I ovulate and when is my fertile window in all this?

I’ve googled around for the answer but there is SO much info out there and half of it I don’t even understand. :o

Thanks in advance for any help.


You are correct on all you information, although the estimate on ovulation seems a bit early, IMHO.

The CM secretions begin well before your actual ovulation. It is intended to help the facilitate conception by creating a welcoming atmosphere for the sperm. That is why the CM dwindles around ovulation- because it has served its purpose.


Ovulation has occurred when you see your temperature rise six-tenths of a degree above your low temperature level. When you have a thermal shift of “three-over-six” (three days of elevated temps over six previous days of lower temps), you’ve likely ovulated.

When you’ve had 3-4 days with tons of thick, clear, egg-white mucus (usually preceded by tacky mucus), you’ve likely ovulated. Temps and mucus typically mirror each other.

I typically ovulate anywhere from cycle day 14 to 21. My non-breastfeeding cycles range from 28 to 36 days.

Your luteal phase is the period of time between ovulation and your next menstruation. It’s the time when the baby has a chance to implant in a lining-rich uterus. You typically see your CM dry up during this time.

Cervical mucus helps sperm reach your egg, so having CM is essential prior to (and during) ovulation.

You sound normal to me. :smiley:

Do you take your temps, too, or do you only observe mucus and menstruation? I’m trained in the Sympto-Thermal method, which involves temperature taking.

Have you taken a class or bought a book to teach yourself? Which method are you using?

I hope I’ve helped clear a few things up!


One thing that might help you pinpoint ovulation more precisely is to check the level of your cervix. It freaks some women out at first, but it’s really not bad at all and a good help to figuring out ovulation exactly. It helped DH and I know the exact date of conception (we weren’t trying to avoid - so don’t get nervous! NFP has worked for us for two years).


Sorry to sound so pessimistic, but this NFP business sounds like a lot of trouble just so that people will not conceive - sounds like contraception to me… I think abstinence is the best way


We’re trying to use it to help us conceive. :slight_smile:


woohoo! That’s always nice to hear! :smiley:

Do you take your temps, too, or do you only observe mucus and menstruation? I’m trained in the Sympto-Thermal method, which involves temperature taking. Have you taken a class or bought a book to teach yourself? Which method are you using?

I did take an online course for our marriage prep but it was mostly an overview of all the different methods. We’re using the CM and menstruation observation method, because my temps have been known to run high just normally so I thought the Sympto-Thermal might not be the most accurate.

Also I should have made it clear in the OP, we’re TTC, not TTA.


I suggest you take a class in a method and follow that method’s instrctions.

I use Creighton, so I don’t take temps and the Creighton instructions are solely on mucus.

You are fertile *whenever *you have mucus. Mucus helps sperm live and transport to the fallopian tubes.

Forget about averages of when ovulation occurs. It only matter when YOU ovulate. If you are starting to see CM around day 8 then you are fertile starting then. Charting will tell you how many days you typically have CM before ovulation. Sperm live between 4-6 days in CM (depends on the sperm!) Of course if you were trying to avoid, you would not have intercourse on those days. But, since you are TTC, then you could do so.

In the Creighton instruction you chart ovulation by your peak day of mucus. Peak can only be determined in retrospect, because it is within 24 hours of the last day of fertile mucus (same with STM, the thermal shift is what alerts you to ovulation, which you only can see in retrospect). When avoiding using Creighton you then count 3 dry days after peak and then you are infertile.

You aren’t going to be able to *predict *ovulation without an ovulation kit which tests hormone levels. So, you should be aiming for days when you have CM, and the clear, egg white CM that stretches 1+ inches is **peak **mucus. That would be a good time for intercourse if you are TTC.

The book Taking Charge of Your Fertility should help you immensely. Toni Weschler does a good job of explaining everything. She uses sympto-thermal charting.

The luteal phase is between ovulation and menstruation. It’s good to chart this too. A defective luteal phase (less than 12 days) is common in women with repeat miscarriages, and the doctor can help with that to make sure sufficient progesterone is present.

So, don’t count so much on averages and trying to hit THE ovulation day. Just work with your body when CM is present. Getting the TCOYF book will help you.


Thanks 1ke, that was very clear easy to understand. :slight_smile:


It’s not having temps that run low/high that determines accuracy; it’s seeing a shift in temperatures. My temps are consistently a full degree lower than all the NFP charts, so I just modify the chart and go from there. :thumbsup:

So I assumed. :wink:


I don’t have much to add to what 1ke said, ac claire, but just wanted to reinforce that getting formal instruction in whatever NFP method you and your fiance have chosen is essential to using the method as effectively as possible, for TTC now and potentially TTA whenever you discern the need to in the future. There are so many “little things” that need to be sort of drilled into your head with using NFP (consistency in making and charting observations, only observing CM by finger-testing what’s present on flat layers of TP, etc.) If you’re able, get thee a real life NFP instructor!

When I learned NFP while we were engaged, I was still in college and had a crazy sleep schedule, so I knew the temp thing wouldn’t work for me either. I settled on Creighton (which like 1ke said is the mucus-only observation) and am really happy with it. It is the most medically-based of all of the NFP methods I’ve encountered, so my instructor is an OB nurse and my follow-ups are all held in a medical office affiliated with the local Catholic hospital. My OB-GYN is affiliated with NaProTechnology, so I can bring my charts to my office visits and he and the nurses know what is going on better than I do! Definitely look into Creighton–you can visit their website to search for an instructor in your area.

If Creighton doesn’t work for you, you might want to look into the Billings method. I’m not as familiar with it, but I do know that it is a CM-only method as well. The Marquette Model is modified Creighton/Billings, too, but adds a fancy-schmancy machine into the mix to help pinpoint ovulation and the fertile window.

I hope those leads help! NFP is awesome, so kudos to you and your future husband for getting started with it!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit