We independently research, test, review and recommend the best products. Medical professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
A fertility diary is a helpful addition to her efforts to conceive or better understand what’s going on throughout her cycle each month. These diaries typically prompt the user to record information such as when a period started, when it ended, and signs and symptoms that might indicate ovulation. Plus, since they’re not connected to the internet, they don’t have the same concerns about privacy as using a period tracker app. When looking for the best fertility diary, it’s helpful to find ones that include comprehensive charting schedules, helpful prompts, and specific tips for recording each data point.
Reviewed and approved
With detailed mapping of all the important signs and symptoms you may experience during your cycle, the PCOS Fertility Diary gives users a complete picture of when they might ovulate. We also recommend the Menstrual Cycle Diary for women who don’t know how to chart their cycles and need helpful tips to help them.
“A written menstrual diary or diary can be used to track cycles along with other relevant data including changes in cervical mucus, ovulation predictor kit results, basal body temperature, symptoms physical and mood swings,” explains Lindsay Kroener, MDspecialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at UCLA Health. These characteristics should give women a more complete idea of what is going on in their cycles and what the different signs and symptoms might mean. After speaking with doctors and OB-GYNs, we researched the best fertility diaries based on how they let you organize your cycle information, how many cycles they let you track, helpful prompts, etc.
Here, the best fertility journals for period tracking on the market.
How we selected
When selecting the best fertility reviews, we spoke with gynecologists and spent hours researching the best and most helpful reviews. We determined which to present based on a few key criteria recommended by gynecologists: timelines, prompts, and accuracy (if they help you predict your cycle).
We’ve compared the benefits of each diary, as well as their price, to determine their value for different people (if you’re trying to conceive, you might want a place to record your temperature every day, while a novice person may just want to take notes on their cramps and the length of their period). Although some choices on our list may be more expensive, we wanted to offer a wide range of options that would meet all needs and budgets. We’ve compiled this list of the best fertility reviews based on all of these factors.
What to Look for in a Fertility Diary
Often these fertility diaries include calendars that help the user mark different aspects of their cycle – like when a period starts and ends and symptoms that might be related to ovulation. “We view the menstrual cycle as a vital sign, so it really helps women know, along with blood pressure and pulse, when cycles are happening at regular intervals,” says Valerie Baker, MD, director of the division of reproductive endocrinology and fertility and professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “It’s an indication that a lot of things are going well.” Calendars should include spaces to record the start and end of your period, as well as when you have sexyour basal body temperature and other markers that could indicate ovulation.
The calendar feature is a particularly useful tool if you’re trying to conceive, as you want to increase intercourse around the time of ovulation for the best chance of getting pregnant. Ovulation usually occurs 14 days after your period starts. “When trying to get pregnant, it’s important to record when you have sex to make sure it’s during the ovulatory period,” says Dr. Kroener. “While the egg is usually only good for 12 to 24 hours, sperm can stay in the reproductive system for two to five days. So intercourse before and around ovulation is ideal.
Some diaries include prompts about how you feel each day of your cycle, as well as any symptoms like cramping or pain you may be experiencing each day. “Some women might want to get a feel for when they have other symptoms like poor sleep or depression and just try to see if it’s related to the period or not,” says Dr. Baker. Journaling these experiences for several months can help you understand when you might have certain mood swings or symptoms during your cycle so you can prepare for them.
While tracking your menstrual cycle has many benefits, the process isn’t entirely foolproof in figuring out exactly what’s going on each day of a cycle. For best results, you should record your cycle daily. “Most importantly, be sure to accurately and consistently enter cycle information,” says Dr. Kroener. “The definition of day one of the cycle is defined as the first day of full flow, which can be confusing if you have bleeding before your cycle.”
Dr. Kroener also recommends recording various points each day, such as basal body temperature, cervical mucus and bleeding, instead of relying on a single data point. “One mistake can be over-reliance on one marker of ovulation rather than looking at the whole picture,” she says. “For example, some [people] may have more difficulty or are unable to pick up the LH surge on ovulation predictor kits (OPKs). However, when cycles are otherwise very regular with changes in cervical mucus, ovulation is likely occurring.
If you are using these diaries to naturally prevent pregnancy, it is important to know that it is not as effective as other birth control methods and contraceptives. “Whether [people] to use it, they have to understand that it is imperfect and either use a backup contraceptive method or be willing to accept this risk of pregnancy,” says Dr. Baker.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you follow your period without an app?
“The most important part of tracking your menstrual cycle, with or without an app, is recording accurate data and doing it consistently across multiple cycles,” says Dr. Kroener. “Capturing menstrual timing, along with OPK results, changes in cervical mucus, physical symptoms, and other relevant variables, is essential.”
After collecting these data points for a few months, the information can tell someone exactly what is going on in their cycle. “Typically, ovulation occurs on average 14 days before the onset of menstruation, although there may be some variation,” adds Dr. Kroener. “Analyzing cycle length data in conjunction with the timing of the positive LH surge and ovulatory cervical mucus that is moist, stretchy, and slippery can help pinpoint precisely how long your cycles are and when the ‘ovulation occurs relative to the expected cycle length.’
How to track ovulation with an irregular cycle?
For women with an irregular cycle, it can be difficult for them to accurately track ovulation. “If cycles are very irregular and inconsistent, using menstrual history to predict ovulation alone will not be enough,” says Dr. Kroener. “While other markers such as OPKs, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature can be attempted, knowing when to track these markers and when to expect signs of ovulation is much more difficult.”
While you may not be able to track the start of your ovulation with 100% accuracy, tracking your experience throughout your cycle could still be beneficial. “Even though a part by itself may have more or less precise precision, you can still trace the whole thing to make sense of your cycle,” says Dr. Baker. “For example, charting can help you know if you bleed only during your expected menstrual period or if you bleed throughout the month.” This information is useful for a health care provider at your next visit, regardless of whether your cycle is regular or irregular.
How much do fertility journals cost?
Fertility journals can cost between $7 and $25. The price varies depending on how long they let you track your cycle, whether they have things like prompts and calendars, and what kinds of materials they’re made of (a leather-bound journal might be more expensive than a spiral-bound journal). Our overall top pick, the PCOS Fertility Diary was only $9 at the time of publication and will allow you to track your cycle for an entire year.
Why trust Verywell Health
As a seasoned health writer, Danielle Zoellner knows the importance of finding the right product to meet your medical needs. Throughout her career, Danielle has interviewed a variety of experts in the fields of medicine and health while reviewing dozens of products. His experience and knowledge in the field combine to help readers like you find the best products for your daily life.