Teens and Charting
Why would we recommend teaching tween and teenage girls how to chart their cycles? Can charting help girls who are experiencing irregular cycles? Painful PMS? Excessively heavy flow? Abnormal bleeding? Absolutely, yes!
I have witnessed it happen when young girls learn about their cycles and understand what is going on throughout the month that a transformation takes place. They go from feeling embarrassed that they are set apart from boys to being able to embrace more fully the gift of femininity they have been given. Instead of viewing their period as a monthly inconvenience, the additional insight charting provides helps them gain a greater understanding that the period is simply another part of how they are intricately designed to support and give life.
Charting can be taught to women, regardless of their state in life or age, so that they are able to understand their fertility. It doesn’t have to be complex or complicated. What we recommend is just simply begin making observations throughout the month. The first day of the cycle is the first day you notice bleeding/spotting. These are typically followed by some dry days, and then you’ll notice mucus when you go to the bathroom. The closer you get to ovulation the more you will notice the mucus gets watery and more transparent. After that the mucus will dry up, sometimes over night. The rest of the cycle is typically dry. Observing these things in this simple manner in a personal notebook, or on a calendar, can help you understand your body better and have increased confidence.
The time when you notice the mucus dry up is about the time you ovulate. When you start charting you will notice from one cycle to the next this time, from ovulation until menstruation begins, is pretty stable in length. Fluctuation may happen from the beginning of the cycle until ovulation and that is okay! But if we keep an eye on our observations you are less likely to be caught off guard and surprised by your period.
What if something is wrong?
This type of charting can help you to see what your body is doing every month, and that it is normal and healthy! It is important to note that irregular cycles are normal, especially the first few years after they begin. Some women get nervous if they do not have a cycle every month but that is not always a sign that something is wrong. Symptoms that should not be ignored are if you are having intense PMS, heavy abnormal bleeding, or sporadic bleeding episodes you may need to begin charting in more depth. This will help you to gain more information to help you get to the root cause of what your body is trying to tell you through the pain or bleeding patterns.
We believe that every woman has the right to have healthy cycles free from pain and stress. If there is something not right, or if you suspect there may be, you can learn how to chart your cycles with the Creighton Model. The reason I would recommend charting with the Creighton Model, as opposed to a different method, is because the Creighton chart can be used as a diagnostic tool. You would begin by attending an introductory session, and then a series of follow ups. What may vary from a single woman learning the method for health reasons, vs a couple who is using the method to avoid/achieve pregnancy, is the number of follow up sessions that are needed. There may be less follow ups needed for a single woman who is learning the method to assess her health and gain confidence in her observations. (Go here for more information on the follow up schedule and costs.)
After a few months of charting has been completed then we suggest seeking out a NaPro trained physician. (Here is a directory to help you find a NaPro trained medical professional near you. Keep in mind you also may hear of some not on this list who has been trained in NaPro protocols but have not been certified.) NaPro doctors have a specialized training that allows them to be able to utilize the chart as a diagnostic tool. Armed with that they seek to get to the root cause of what your bodies is trying to tell you through your symptoms of sporadic bleeding, painful PMS, etc.