Saturday, March 5, 2011

NFP, Mittelschmerz, and Russian Roulette

Between babies #1 and #2, we used NFP (Natural Family Planning) as our baby-spacing method. Right now, we are "technically" using NFP, but I'm not taking my temperature (which means that we're not really using NFP). Why? Well, I don't get up at the same time every day right now (too tired!), and I don't get the requisite four hours of straight sleep needed to get accurate temperatures.

However, here's something interesting! Every month, I get predictable "Mittelschmerz," also known as ovulation pain, cramps that occur mid-cycle cramping during ovulation (I'm assuming that it occurs during, and not before or after).

Assuming that mittelschmerz is the day before temperature rise, and that the next day would be the first day of temperature rise (the first day of the luteal cycle), I have been using Mittelschmerz to predict when my period will arrive. Since my luteal phase is 10-11 days long, I count off 10-11 days after Mittelschmerz, then mark the following two days as possible period days. For the past two months, I have been dead-on with a 10-day luteal phase.

Thus, if I experience mittelschmerz on March 1st, I would count off 10-11 days (that is, March 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and possibly 12) and predict that my period would start on March 12th or 13th.

It's worked! I'm interested to see if I can keep up the run of accurate predictions.  

Any thoughts on this? And does anyone know if Mittelschmerz really does occur during ovulation (and not before or after, or all three?)

(Oh, and if anyone was wondering - Yes, I technically do have a "luteal phase defect," that is, a luteal phase that is "too short to support a pregnancy." However, we have never had any fertility problems (quite the reverse!). How that works I don't know!)


  1. I just wrote a long-ish comment that didn't seem to post. Will try to recreate it, and hope I don't double-post. Doctors aren't sure what mittelschmerz is. Until just a few years ago, they assumed that ovulation was near-instantaneous, but some docs happened to be performing abdominal surgery when a woman was ovulating, so saw that it actually took about 15 minutes, and got it on film or video.

    My hunch is that it *is* from ovulation, but I don't know how that could be determined since not all women get mittelschmerz, and some (like me) get it only sometimes, and not all times.


  2. Hi, Kathy! Thanks for your comment! One thing that I have wondered from my own experience is if mittelschmerz might be post-ovulation. The reason: between baby #1 and #2, when I was temping regularly, I had a usually-11-day luteal phase with an occasional 10. Now, going by starting the luteal phase the day after mittelschmerz, they've all been 10-day luteal phases. So either my luteal phase changed with this baby (don't know if that happens or not), or my luteal phase is really starting the day of mittelschmerz, meaning that M. is post-ovulation, and my luteal phase is still 11 days. It would be interesting to know! I can't find much of anything on it - you're right, they don't even know why it occurs for sure!

  3. Diana thank you for your sweet comments on my blog recently!

    In response to your post above...I typically have have cycles that are between 28-31 days. But I have found (by temp taking) that I ovulate around day it doesn't matter how long my cycle is. I also get ovulation 'pain' approx two days before, on the day and two days after. Though I now have monthly ovarian cysts which increase the ovulation pain I experience. Hope this may help some!

  4. I have Mittelschmerz too, and I think it's fascinating. I was not aware of it until I started tracking my cycles before we tried for baby #1. I am so much more aware of ALL of my body's functions since then.

  5. Interesting about the LPD and still getting pregnant; I'd like to know more about that.

    My own experience is that ovulation pain occurs sometime before I get a positive ovulation test. Now that I am not TTC, I don't use ovulation tests and simply watch out for my body's natural signs of ovulation. Looking at cervical mucus, ovulation pain/discomfort seems to be coinciding with ovulation after this pregnancy. Interestingly enough, I had no ovulation pain between my daughter's birth and my son's pregnancy at all, so it seems to vary after each pregnancy.

    It's great to be able to comment on your blog again. Did you get my guest post submission?


  6. Thanks for the comments, everyone!

    Sarah - thank you for visiting! :)

    Olivia - No, I did not get your submission - I'm so sorry if you've been stuck out there waiting for me!!! When and where did you send it?


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