Contraception OR Pregnancy → Follow your menstrual cycle

To maximize your chances of procreating or on the contrary to protect yourself from pregnancy … There may be several reasons for monitoring and recording the dates of your menstrual cycle. But these methods should be taken with a grain of salt: Sophie Gaudu, gynecologist, gives us her opinion on these practices.

Pilule, implant, patch… many means of contraception hormone-based allow us today to protect ourselves from unwanted pregnancy. But some women prefer to stop hormones, out of mistrust or in the face of proven incidents. It is possible to follow your menstrual cycle, for contraceptive purposes or on the contrary with a view to procreating.

follow her cycle for contraceptive purposes

There are several methods of keeping an eye on your menstrual cycle for contraceptive purposes. They require a maximum of rigor but also several adjustment cycles to know for example the length of her cycle, which varies from one woman to another.

the ogino method

This method consists of observing the days of your period to deduce the ovulation period in order to avoid intercourse during this period. It requires that you carefully note each stage of your cycle, first for a year to know its duration, then during the entire period of contraception. Sophie Gaudu emphasizes the fact that this method is not 100% effective, but reduces the risk of pregnancies.

“When it comes to contraception, any method is better than none at all. However, there are more effective methods. If we use this method, we will get pregnant less frequently than without any protection. ”

Note that the cycle can be disrupted by many factors, such as stress or jet lag. This effectively reduces the reliability of the estimates.

the billings method

By choosing this method, one determines his fertile period by examining his vaginal secretions. Also called cervical mucus, they protect the uterine cavity from possible pathogenic germs. During the period of fertility, this substance becomes less viscous and more abundant.

“In the pre-ovulatory period, there are indeed secretions in the cervix which are not the same as at other times of the cycle. Here again the risk of pregnancy will be reduced but not eliminated. After that, it all depends on the person’s profile: if they are forty years old, they will be less fertile, so the risk of pregnancy will be further reduced. ”

la symptothermie

Symptothermia is offered as much to monitor one’s cycle with a view to having children, as to avoid having them. It is similar to the ogino method and the Billings method in the sense that it is also necessary to analyze the dates of the cycle and the consistency of the vaginal secretions. But it also requires taking your temperature every morning, assuming that your body’s temperature varies with the cycle. To be as reliable as possible, it therefore requires recording a lot of data.


Withdrawal is not strictly speaking a “method”, and its reliability rate is very low. During intercourse, the man must withdraw his penis just before ejaculating, in order to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. However, the pre-seminal fluid, secreted before ejaculation, may contain sperm from previous ejaculations. Thus, pregnancy can occur even when the penis has been removed just before ejaculation.

Some of these methods involve very specific periods of abstinence. But Sophie Gaudu points out that sperm can live for up to five days, so the risk of pregnancy is prolonged. In addition, all these strategies influence the relationship functioning of the couple.

“You have to get along very well within the couple so that periods of abstinence do not pose a problem, it must be part of the romantic discourse.”

follow his cycle in order to procreate

Watching your cycle to maximize intercourse during the fertile window is a good way to increase your chances of childbearing. Note also that when you want to have a child, it is good to consult a health professional first to check that all is well. This will, for example, identify the possible presence of fibroids, which could interfere with pregnancy.

keep a log

You can calculate your ovulation period yourself, and therefore when you are most fertile, by observing the stages of your menstrual cycle. Usually, ovulation starts about fourteen days before your period and lasts for five days. It is therefore necessary to note the dates of the rules over several months, in order to be able to calculate with more accuracy the arrival of this period.

However, this method is not 100% reliable, since these fourteen days only apply to women who have a cycle of twenty-eight days, which is not the case for everyone. We can therefore couple these calculations to the symptothermy method, mentioned above.

mobile applications

Here again, it is a question of analyzing the dates of his menstrual cycle, in order to identify the period of ovulation. If writing everything down on paper seems tedious, there are many mobile applications available that perform these calculations based on the person’s observations. Clue is often acclaimed but it is “predictive”: it is based on previous cycles to determine the ovulation period, but this factor can vary. Kindara for example, will provide sharper estimates based on more precise criteria.

Many websites also offer a ovulation period calculator, but they are less precise: they will not work in the long term since it is simply a question of indicating a few factors at a time T.

ovulation tests

It is also possible to spot the ovulation period with these tests. Sold in pharmacies, they work like pregnancy tests: they are sticks on which you have to urinate. The test will then measure the level of LH hormone, produced throughout the cycle and which increases just before ovulation. Ideally, do one every morning starting four days before the supposed ovulation period. If you were on hormonal contraceptives, it is recommended that you wait about three cycles before using these tests.

Tracking and documenting your menstrual cycle can be a good way to maximize your chances of childbearing. On the other hand, from a contraceptive perspective, they only reduce the risk of pregnancy, and do not eliminate it.

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Contraception OR Pregnancy → Follow your menstrual cycle

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Catherine Coaches