4. SymptoPro Observations: Temperature and Cervical Mucus

What observations does SymptoPro require?

SymptoPro is a Sympto-Thermal method, meaning that it combines the mucus pattern (the "sympto" part) and the temperature ("thermal") to crosscheck the changes in fertility for a very effective method.

There are two main ways to observe the mucus pattern:

By tissue: Before and after going to the restroom, a woman observes any mucus found on a tissue that is folded and wiped between the vaginal lips. She notes the qualities of the mucus. At the end of the day, she notes on her chart the most fertile qualities she observed that day.

By sensation: A woman is aware of her vaginal sensations throughout the day, as she goes about her normal activities. At the end of the day, she notes what her most fertile sensation was that day.

An optional sign is noticing the changes in the cervix itself once a day. We find that about 1/3 of women find this added sign helpful.


The temperature pattern is tracked by taking the woman's resting temperature. This is best done upon waking before getting out of bed. Read below for more details on taking your temperature.

The total time it takes to observe the fertility signs is about 2-5 minutes per day. It is not difficult to find the time to observe these signs. The difficulty lies in incorporating new habits, which can be a struggle with anything new! Once diligence has been taken to form the new habits, many women find that it becomes as part of her routine as it is to brush her teeth.

How important is it that I take my temperature at the same time each day?

To get a usable temperature pattern, it is important to take your temperature pattern at approximately the same time each day while you are trying to establish infertility. The same time each day means roughly the same time – you can take it up to 45 minutes before or after your usual time without considering the temperature disturbed, provided all temperatures are taken before 7:30 a.m. Once you are in the post-ovulatory infertile time, you can relax regarding this point. 

What if I work a night shift?

For women who regularly wake up later than 7:30 a.m. or have jobs with irregular hours, they can take their temperature when they wake up. Generally, they would give more emphasis to the cervical mucus signs however some find that the temperature pattern is still consistent and helpful despite their changing schedule. It is best to clarify such a case with one’s SymptoPro Provider first.

How long should I take my temperature?

If you are using a digital thermometer, the recommendation is that you take your temperature a minute beyond the beep indicating that an initial reading has been reached. This enhances the accuracy and consistency of the temperature data. 

What about using an ear thermometer?

The tympanic or ear thermometers are not accurate enough to be used for charting your fertility.

What about taking my temperature under my arm?

Axillary or temperatures taken under the arm are not accurate enough to be used for charting your fertility.

What about the more modern temping "wearables" that are on the market?

Techology is ever increasing and at a rapid pace!  While there is great excitement behind some of these new products, use care and caution when incorporating new technology into your charting routine.  Consider dual temping, using an standard digital thermometer, until you are confident in the accruacy of a wearable.  And be sure to consult with your SymptoPro Instructor for guidance. 

What should I do if I am sick or sleep in?

Take your temperature anyway, chart it, and make a note of the disturbance.

What if I have to get up during the night?

As long as you have one hour uninterrupted sleep prior to taking your temperature, you should get a usable reading. Light activity such as getting up briefly to care for a child or to go to the bathroom should not affect the temperature reading. However, if you are up repeatedly for extended periods of time, you may find that your reading is disturbed. Just make a note of it on your chart.

How many times a day do I have to do the tissue exam?

You should do the tissue exam every time you go to the bathroom—both before and after urinating or having a bowel movement. Bear down, as if trying to force mucus down, before the last tissue exam of the day.

What if I'm not comfortable touching mucus? Will I be able to chart successfully?

We encourage women to try to get comfortable with their bodies and to treat the fluids the body produces as normal and healthy. Many women find that this gets easier with time, especially after giving birth. It will be important to test the mucus by stretching it to note the clarity and the stretch. Both are important qualities of fertile mucus.  However, if you are not comfortable touching it with your fingers, it is perfectly acceptable to test the mucus by folding the tissue together and then opening it up again.

I have a yeast infection and don’t feel confident of my mucus observation. What should I do?

If you don’t feel confident of your mucus observations, give greater weight to the temperature observation. This is a perfect time to apply a temperature-only rule to determine the post-ovulatory infertile time. Consult with your instructor as needed.