Tips for Charting While Traveling

posted on December 15, 2018 by Cassie Moriarty Cassie Moriarty

It’s the time of year for making cookies, wrapping presents, lots of parties, and you guessed it—traveling. Traveling (and the stress often associated with it) can not only affect your cycles, but it can provide obstacles for charting. Here are some practical tips for charting while traveling this holiday season.

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Don’t forget to pack the thermometer. And if you do….

For our Sympto-thermal charters, if you forget your thermometer, you can always run to the corner store by your in-laws to get another one. But that’s also not totally necessary. You can consider charting your cervical fluid readings alone for the week—and if you’re in the infertile period of your cycle, it’s likely that will be pretty easy. If you’re smack in the middle of your ovulatory phase and you’re avoiding pregnancy, proceed with caution and consider any day of uncertain fertility—fertile.

If you’re traveling across time zones…

Again for our Sympto-thermal charters, you’re probably used to charting by an alarm. Same time. Same way. Every day. If traveling East, try temping an hour earlier a day or two or three before you leave so that you will be right on schedule by the time you get there. So if you live in LA and are traveling to New York, and you normally temp at 8 am, temp at 7 am PT 2 days before you leave; 6 am PT the day before; 5 am PT the day you leave; and when you get to New York, 8 am ET will be “on schedule.” If you are traveling West, do the same once you arrive (so you’re charting at your body’s natural time, adding an hour each day). Any temps that seem totally off, you can mark them as “questionable.” I always say it’s better to have a questionable temp than no temp. You get to make the call whether or not it fits in. And remember the forest is way more important than the trees. We are looking for patterns over time rather than an individual day.

If you miss a day of observations…

Say you have a crazy long flight and you were lucky to not throw out your back in the tiny plane bathroom—checking biomarkers wasn’t exactly high on the priority list. Or you had a day of running errands, wrapping presents, and you simply forgot to check. It happens. Remember, any day of uncertain fertility—especially before ovulation—should be considered fertile.

If that holiday party punch was stronger than it seemed…

Alcohol can raise basal body temperature. So you may find after that holiday party that the next morning you see a false temperature rise. Again, it’s better to temp and mark as questionable, but if temping just doesn’t happen, you can rely on trusty cervical fluid, which is not affected by alcohol consumption.

If all the festivities get the best of your immune system…

When we’re traveling and celebrating, the common cold may creep up on us. Keep in mind that cough expectorants and antihistamines affect cervical mucus production. Anything like Robitussin that works to decongest will add fluidity to cervical fluid. Anything that takes away moisture in the nasal cavity (Benadryl and Claritin, for example) will also dry up cervical fluid. You can mark these days as you observe them but put in the notes section of your chart that you took medicine. Prior to ovulation, consider these days fertile no matter what. If you have already confirmed ovulation, you can consider these days infertile.

If your cycles seem unusually tricky to read…

Stress is one of the most common factors in delayed ovulation. We all know that family dynamics, managing schedules, and gift giving can sometimes be…stressful. Don’t fret if your cycle seems longer than normal in this typically taxing time. While we’re on the subject—

Carve out some time.

For yourself. For your partner. For your family unit. Clear your schedule for one day and spend time in the moment together. Your cycles will thank you, as will your sanity.

Posted by Cassie Moriarty Cassie Moriarty
Cassondra Moriarty is a fertility awareness educator, postpartum doula, and lactation mentor based in New York City, where she lives with her 2 year old daughter and husband. She manages a local wellness clinic that focuses on hormonal health, and she leads monthly La Leche League meetings to help nursing moms connect and get guidance on breastfeeding. After ditching hormonal birth control in 2012, she became an ardent fertility awareness enthusiast. Now, as a FEMM certified instructor, she teaches women and teens how to chart their cycles. When not running after her toddler, she enjoys attempting to make her thumb green and listening to live jazz music.

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