Fertility Awareness is a beautiful observational practice of body literacy, natural birth control and/or conception. We deepen our understanding of the internal rhythms of our body by recognizing when we are fertile and when we are not.
This practice is based off of research done with the Petra Frank-Hermann study, which held 900 women with their 17,638 menstrual cycles. In the end, it showed a 99.6% effectiveness rate for natural birth control.
How does Fertility Awareness work?
Simply explained, we produce two main hormones which switch “on” in the body at separate times of our cycles; estrogen for the first half and progesterone for the second half.
We can use the method’s 4 rules to decide whether we would like to try to conceive, abstain or use a barrier method to prevent pregnancy, or simply use the observed signs to follow our gynecological health.
There are zero negative side effects from practicing the fertility awareness method.
Estrogen gradually begins releasing from the ovaries on cycle day 1 (first day of menstruation), lowering BBT and increasing water content in CF as ovulation approaches.
CF is the deciding factor on whether sperm will be able to make it to the egg for fertilization at the time of ovulation!
Once ovulation has occurred, progesterone releases into the body, turning off the estrogen hormone. This hormone switch spikes up BBT and dries up CF, lasting an approximate 12-16 days, until menstruation.
If the egg becomes fertilized and we become pregnant, BBT will remain high for more than 18 days.
- Conception can only occur during the fertile window
- Abstinence, or barrier methods like condoms and withdrawal during the fertile window will prevent from unwanted pregnancy
- Having unprotected sex during the fertile window will increase chances of becoming pregnant
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
A basal body thermometer measures the temperature under our tongue immediately after waking up in the morning. It should be taken:
- Daily, at the same time every morning, +/- one hour
- After 3 consecutive hours of deep sleep
- Before getting up out of bed to use the bathroom, communicating, any physical contact, etc.
Keep in mind that viral infections that cause fevers will affect basal body temperature readings.
Cervical Fluid (CF)
Cervical fluid is a vaginal secretion, commonly known to society as “discharge.” Next time you use the bathroom, check the gusset of your underwear (where the vulva touches). Usually the consistency will flow in a specific pattern over the course of approximately 14 days, but the number of days will vary from human to human!
Regularly check the sensation of your CF at the vulva, throughout each day, to observe an accurate quality and quantity.
How Much Does Fertility Awareness Cost?
A basal body thermometer costs approximately $9 – $30. Follow the link to read about the best basal thermometers available today.
The optional, but recommended, book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler costs approximately $15.
The cost of hiring a fertility awareness practitioner varies depending on whom you work with.
What Are The Side Effects?
You will not get any side effects by using FAM.
How Effective Is it?
99.6% Effective with perfect use, .4% Failure rate
76% Effective with typical use, 24% Failure rate