Trying to get pregnant?
Or, looking for natural (non-hormonal) birth control?
Empower yourself with the Fertility Awareness Method!
What is the Fertility Awareness Method?
The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a natural practice for determining when a woman is most fertile. It can be used both to prevent pregnancy (natural form of birth control) or to optimize chances of getting pregnant.
Every woman should practice Fertility Awareness
Regardless of your fertility goals today or your use of other methods of birth control, learning to interpret and understand your fertility signs will help you understand your body and empower you to make the right choices for your current and future health.
Fertility Awareness also helps you recognize normal and abnormal hormonal signs and make it easier to work with healthcare professionals (like Naturopathic Doctors) to achieve your health goals.
Did you know…?
Sperm can survive for as long as 5-7 days within a woman’s body, but the egg that she ovulates approximately midway through the cycle only survives for about 12-24 hours.
Thus, unprotected sex during the 7 days prior to ovulation and the 48 hours after ovulation can result in pregnancy.
The Fertility Awareness Method helps you to identify this fertile period and plan accordingly.
There’s an app for that!
The best way to record your fertility signs is using one of many apps available:
- If you are trying to conceive: Fertility Friend (fertilityfriend.com) or OvaGraph: (www.ovagraph.com)
- If you wish to avoid unwanted pregnancy: Kindara (kindara.com/avoid-pregnancy)
Monitor 4 Fertility Signs:
- Basal body temperature (your temperature immediately upon waking in the morning), including the time you took your temperature
- Observations about cervical fluid
- When you have sexual intercourse
- When you have menstrual bleeding
1. Basal body temperature
1. Purchase a basal body temperature thermometer (like this one). This is a different kind of thermometer that measures temperature to 2 decimal places (instead of 1 as with typical oral thermometers) and can be found at any drug store.
2. Begin on Day 1 of your menstrual cycle (the first full day of bleeding).
3. Keep a thermometer plus either a device with your fertility awareness app or a pen and paper by your bed.
4. Upon waking in the morning (and before getting out of bed), take your oral temperature.
5. Record your temperature and the time you took it in your app or on paper to be entered into an app later.
6. Also take note of anything unusual, such as illness (which can cause a fever) or sleep deprivation (less than 5 hours sleep), which may alter your body temperature.
2. Cervical fluid
Cervical fluid (aka cervical mucous) is produced by your cervix and changes over your cycle depending on your fertility. It becomes watery and stretchy, like raw egg white, when you are most fertile just before ovulation.
Avoid checking your cervical fluid just before or after intercourse as arousal and seminal fluids will skew your observations.
The best way to check your cervical fluid is when you go to the bathroom:
1. Before sitting on the toilet, take a clean piece of toilet paper and wipe your vaginal opening.
2. Note what, if anything, you find on the paper.
3. Do this every time you use the bathroom.
4. You may also use your clean fingers to check and you sometimes may also see cervical fluid on your underwear.
5. Qualities to note about cervical fluid:
- Does the vagina feel wet or dry?
- Is there any fluid on the tissue?
- How does the cervical fluid look?
- What is the consistency of cervical fluid?
- Can you stretch it between your thumb and index finger
6. Once you have made your observations, record them in an app.
3. Sexual intercourse
Record in your app the days that you have sexual intercourse.
Record in your app the days you have menstrual bleeding. Day one of your menstrual cycle is the first full day of bleeding. You may also record spotting at any time over the course of your menstrual cycle.
You may also find it interesting/useful to other symptoms related to your menstrual cycle (eg: pain, breast changes, headaches, mood changes, etc).
Want to take it to the next level?
Check out the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, for more detail on the Fertility Awareness Method as well as information about women’s health and fertility.