What Do I Record as Cycle Day 1? (The Difference Between SPOTTING and Your PERIOD)


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When you’re new to (Charting) it can be a bit confusing sometimes to know exactly WHEN or WHAT to Record on your Fertility Chart as CD (Cycle Day) 1. We used to assume that anytime you had any kind of bleeding, “Well that MUST be the start of our Period!” Yeah, ummmm, no matter how Light, Heavy or even when it happened!

I’m sure you’ve heard this from a friend or family member, “You must just be starting Early,” OR,  “It must be a LATE Period.” Better yet, no matter how Light it was, maybe they also told you – (or maybe you just assumed as so many of us do) that it was just an EXTREMELY LIGHT Period! Well, as time goes on more and more research is done to help expand our minds and give us some clarity!

There are two phases to our Cycle – The Follicular Phase (The time from the first day of our Menstrual Period until Ovulation takes place) and that’s controlled by a Hormone called, “Estrogen.” The next Phase of our cycle is known as The Luteal Phase (The time from Ovulation until either our Period starts or we achieve Pregnancy) and that’s controlled by a Hormone called, “Progesterone,” which is a heat inducing Hormone.

If you happen to take your BBT’s (Basal Body Temperatures) throughout your cycle, Estrogen keeps your temps low during the first Phase prior to Ovulation and Progesterone elevates and sustains our higher temps post Ovulation. Most of the time, (either one or two things will happen) – we will notice that our BBT’s have remained High past 13-16 DPO (Days Past Ovulation) and have possibly achieved Pregnancy! Or, our temps will drop back down which is a good indication that we can expect our Period sometime soon.

Sometimes though we can experience what is known as, “Mid-Cycle Spotting,” on or around Ovulation. That is not uncommon! Usually (if you’re also keeping track of your Cervical Fluid or Cervical Mucus) you may notice a bit of Fluid that resembles raw Egg Whites. If you happen to see a bit of Pink, Red, or even Brown tinged EWCM (Egg White Cervical Mucus) that is considered to be amongst the most fertile, and is caused Sometimes by a bit of spotting due to the Mature Egg breaking through the Egg Follicle.

At other times, (although it is considered RARE) you may notice a bit of spotting between 7-10 DPO and if you’ve achieved Pregnancy than that can also be known as, “Implantation Spotting,” which OFTEN gets mistaken for a Period! (Now, not ALL spotting is associated with Ovulation and Pregnancy) BUT – it can be considered as a clue, and can therefore give you a bit of insight. To actually peak into your Fertile Window – you may wanna consider taking a OPK (Ovulation Predictor Kit), also to confirm Early Pregnancy I would highly suggest taking a High Sensitivity HPT (Home Pregnancy Test!)

So, how do you differentiate between Spotting and actual Flo? Well, (as some licensed Doctors have put it) if you wipe and only see a bit of Pink, or a few drops of Blood – then that would be considered, “Spotting.”


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Any amount of RED Blood that requires a pad or a tampon would be considered, “Menses or actual Flo.”


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So essentially, if you need a pad or a tampon than you can officially record that as, “Cycle Day 1.”

Cycle Day 1 (again) is defined as your first day of actual Bright RED or Dark RED Flo that requires a Pad or a Tampon!


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If you’re actively TTC (Trying To Conceive) and you have a higher Temperature above your coverline – (and you notice a bit of spotting) Don’t lose hope just yet! There may be a possibility that it’s simply Implantation Spotting.

If you’re new to Charting, (or tracking your Period) even if you’re NOT actively TTC – Charting is still a great way to pinpoint your Period each cycle and can also indicate whether or not you should possibly Test for Pregnancy.

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Home Pregnancy Test Sensitivities

Pregnancy TEST Sensitivities

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At the end of every cycle, (one of two things can happen) either the dreaded AF (Aunt Flo) rears her ugly head or you find you’ve missed your Period!

Some of us Chart our cycles every month by taking our BBT (Basal Body Temperature) using a special kind of Thermometer called a, “Basal Body Thermometer.” They are a bit more sensitive, and can record even the slightest body fluctuations. The next thing would be our CM (Cervical Mucus) which goes through different phases throughout the course of our cycle, as well as our CP (Cervical Position).

During the first Part of our cycle, Estrogen is responsible for gearing our bodies up for Ovulation. Once that happens you’ll notice your CM and CP getting less fertile and Progesterone (which is a heat inducing Hormone) keeps our Temperatures higher and elevated until AF shows up. Progesterone is responsible for the second half of our cycle known as the (Luteal Phase). If your Temperatures remain elevated past your ETD (Estimated Testing Day) or the day you’re expecting your Period – chances are you may be Pregnant! Estrogen is responsible for the first Part of our cycle, (Follicular Phase) so it just makes sense that our Temperature will drop within a day or two of AF.

There are all kinds of different Test Sensitivities, and you’ll find it rather easy deciding which one is right for you depending on how far along you may be in your possible Pregnancy. Usually the first day of your missed Period you can expect a reliable result, although some opt to start testing as Early as 8dpo (Days Past Ovulation). A good rule of thumb is if you KNOW you’re testing Early, you may want to rely on a HIGHLY SENSITIVE TEST that’s at least 25 mlU/ml and if you’re far enough along than usually a 40 or 50 mIU/ml should be sufficient.

Here is a List I’ve put together by Name Brand and Sensitivity!

Tests UNDER 25 mIU/ml:

– First Response Digital Gold 18mIU/ml
– First Response Early Result (Quantative Test that will pick up ANY amount of HCG per the manufacturer)

20 mIU/ml Tests:
– AimStep
– Aim Midstream 
– AimStick OTC PBO
– AimStick OTC/Accu Dip
At Home Pregnancy Test
– D Best One Step
Early Pregnancy Test
Save On Tests
– Simplicity
Tests For Less

25 mIU/ml Tests:
– AccuHome
– Answer
– Answer Quick & Simple
– Clearblue Easy (Digital) 35-50 mIU/ml
– Clearblue Easy Earliest Result
– Confirm 1-Step
– CVS Brand (Midstream)
– E.P.T. ( + or – ) Result Window
– Equate ( l l ) 2 line Result Window
– Equate ( + or – ) Result Window
– Fact Plus (Cassette)
– Fact Plus 1-Step (Cassette)

– First Signal One-Step Pregnancy Test (cassette)
– Health Check
– Health Mark
– Insta Test
– Iverness ( + or – ) Result Window
– Life Sign One Step (Midstream)
– New Choice (Dollar Tree Brand – Cassette)
– Smart Strip HCG (Fertilinet)
– Walgreens Brand (Digital)
– Puralin One Step Pregnancy Test
– One Step Be Sure Pregnancy Test

40 mIU/ml Tests:
– E.P.T ( l l ) 2 Line Result Window
– E.P.T ( + or – ) Result Window
– E.P.T Certainty

50 mIU/ml Tests:
– Clearblue Easy
– CVS Brand (Cassette)
– Early Pregnancy Test
– Iverness II
– Dollar Store Tests
– Target Brand
– Rite Aide Brand
– Drug Emporium Brand

100 mIU/ml Tests:
– Fact Plus Pro (Cassette)
– Walgreens Brand (Midstream)

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