5. SymptoPro in Other Circumstances

I don’t have 28-Day cycles, can I still use SymptoPro?

Some women think that “regular” means having a 28-Day cycle, but a typical cycle range is 23-40 days, so even a 1-2 week variation in one’s cycle is still generally considered typical. Even women who do not have “regular” cycles can use SymptoPro. In all cases, it is important to learn from a certified SymptoPro Fertility Education Instructor.

What about using SymptoPro with cycles that aren’t typical? I’ve been told that I can’t use fertiltiy charting for family planning purposes because my cycles are irregular; is that true?

No, it is not true. SymptoPro works no matter what the woman’s cycling pattern. It can be used with long or short cycles, when discontinuing hormonal contraception, as well as during breastfeeding and premenopause. While the historic Calendar Rhythm Method required regular cycles because it was based upon a woman’s cycling history, modern fertiltiy charting methods are based upon day-to-day observations with decisions about fertility based upon those observations. Your SymptoPro instructor will give you specific guidelines to help learn the best ways to apply our guidelines to your personal circumstances. It may not necessarily mean extended periods of abstinence, but it is important to ask for help when needed, and work closely with an trained instructor.

How can SymptoPro help a couple who wants to have a baby?

A great benefit of SymptoPro is the same information couples use to avoid a pregnancy, can help them know the best time to achieve a pregnancy. It also provides for very early identification of pregnancy and the information to set a correct due date. In addition, the information gained from charting your fertiltiy helps identify fertility problems and the best times for fertility tests.

I am expecting a baby and plan to breastfeed. Will I be able to use SymptoPro while breastfeeding?

The return of fertility after giving birth depends upon whether or not a woman is breastfeeding and how she is breastfeeding. It also depends upon the individual woman—there is a wide range of when fertility returns. The best thing to do in this circumstance is to consult with a certified SymptoPro Instructor for specific recommendations for your cycling pattern based upon your charting and specific circumstances surrounding your breastfeeding habits.

What’s involved in using SymptoPro while breastfeeding?

Just as at other times, it is important to chart while breastfeeding, even if cycling is delayed for many months. Ovulation can precede your first bleeding, and you will need to make observations as well as chart and interpret them to know when you become fertile. Because ovulation may not occur for many months, the cervical mucus observation is the focus during this time. However, it is recommended that the temperature observation may be made as well. It is important to work with a certified SymptoPro Instructor for feedback during this time. Our instructors are well-equipped to handle any special circumstances, even a woman experiencing no cycles and constant mucus.

What’s involved in using SymptoPro as one approaches menopause?

During this time of life, cycles may become more irregular—both shorter and longer. Because of this it is important to consider the days of menstruation possibly fertile. If a short cycle occurs, the cervical mucus flow may begin during the heavy menstrual flow days and be masked by the bleeding. Beyond that, it is important that there be good, consistent charting. Both the cervical mucus sign and temperature pattern provide valuable information about the fertile and infertile times. It is important to work with a certified SymptoPro Instructor for feedback during this time.

I want to discontinue hormonal contraception. Should I learn SymptoPro first and then discontinue it or should I discontinue it now?

To really learn SymptoPro, first you need to discontinue your use of hormonal contraception. While you may be able to learn the method in a theoretical sense, an important piece of learning to chart your fertility is to apply the information to your own cycles. Any charting you do while using hormonal contraception will reflect those artificial hormones and not your own cycling pattern.

How long will it take for me to return to my own cycling pattern?

It depends on the type of hormonal contraception you were using and your individualized response to it. Those discontinuing a hormonal IUD or birth control pills have a quicker return to typical cycling than someone discontinuing injectable contraception or implants. No matter how long it takes for cycling to return, SymptoPro can be used confidently. It is important to work with a certified SymptoPro Instructor for feedback during this time.