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What Is Fertility Awareness?

What Is Fertility Awareness?
April 8, 2019 wonderfulwithin

Fertility Awareness is the practice of observing one or more fertility signs everyday to determine if you are fertile and which days will lead to pregnancy and which days will not.

Essentially, fertility awareness is about knowing when you can get pregnant and when you can not get pregnant naturally throughout your cycle.

 

The benefits of learning about your own fertility include:

  • Understanding that hormonal birth isn’t the only option available – you have a choice
  • Being confident in your choice of birth control (whatever it may be) and that it’s the right for you
  • Introducing you to a natural option of birth control that works with your body – that possibly you didn’t know of

I believe learning about fertility awareness is really about providing options to us as women. Options that we may have not even knew existed..

How Fertility Awareness Works

A women is not fertile for the entire length of her cycle. It is only possible to conceive during her “fertile window” several days surrounding the time of ovulation. If a woman is using Fertility Awareness to avoid pregnancy, she can either abstain from vaginal intercourse or use one or more barrier methods during her fertile window. Similarly, if she wishes to achieve pregnancy, the fertility signs indicate when conception is possible.

For women who are concerned about the health, emotional, and environmental impacts of hormonal and other forms of birth control, Fertility Awareness is a natural birth control method that is 99.4{675b55e8130b20edc83d7a7372c667e99085718bc85437794f846651e9dba022} effective when learned and practiced according to the method’s rules.

The Sympto-Thermal Method of Fertility Awareness is a natural form of birth control practiced by observing and recording our body’s fertility signs which can be used to plan or prevent pregnancy.

“The Conversation” a quick 1 minute video explaining Fertility Awareness by Kindara

“It is unfortunate that the Fertility Awareness Method is even referred to as a method, because in reality, it should be seen as a fundamental life skill that all women should learn, just as they are now taught basic feminine hygiene. This is because the practical knowledge women glean from charting their cycles will aid them from puberty to menopause, and all life phases in between. While this vital information has been slow to disperse into the mainstream, the good news is that things are finally starting to change. A grassroots movement has begun to spread among women everywhere, which I would like to think is reforming women’s health one fertility chart at a time.”
– Toni Weschler, Author of Taking Charge of Your Fertility

Types of Awareness Methods Explained

Fertility Awareness Method (or FAM for short) covers an umbrella of various methods. Some are taught in a religious context, or have religious values associated with them (Natural Family Planning). Others are taught in a secular, or non-religious context and are are based on observing and recording various fertility signs, including cervical fluid only (The Billings Method) or BBT and cervical fluid (The Sympto-Thermal Method.)

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

The Natural Family Planning Method of Fertility Awareness is a natural form of birth control practiced by observing and recording two of our body’s fertility signs: basal body temperature and cervical fluid, which can be used to plan or prevent pregnancy. A couple practicing NFL will usually abstain from sex for religious reasons rather than using a barrier method of contraception, such as condoms during the woman’s fertile window.

The Billings Method

The Billings Ovulation Method of Fertility Awareness is a natural form of birth control practiced by observing and recording one of our body’s fertility signs: cervical fluid, which can be used to plan or prevent pregnancy. Because only cervical fluid is observed, we do not have the benefit of confirming confirm ovulation has already taken place.

The Temperature Method

The Temperature Method or BBT Method of Fertility Awareness is a natural form of birth control practiced by recording one of our bodies fertility signs: basal body temperature (or waking temperature) to confirm ovulation has already taken place. Because only temperature is observed, we do not have the benefit of achloedging when we are ovulating and therefore the best time for conception.

The Sympto-Thermal Method

The Sympto-Thermal Method of Fertility Awareness is a natural form of birth control practiced by observing and recording two of our body’s fertility signs: basal body temperature and cervical fluid, which can be used to plan or prevent pregnancy. This method essentially combines the billings and the temperature method by recording both fertility signs (and optionally a third: cervical position) to determine our fertile and infertile windows accurately.

Ineffective Methods

Unfortunately other ineffective methods can also incorrectly be placed under the term ‘Fertility Awareness.’ These include the Calendar Method, the Rhythm Method, Cycle Beads and the Standard Days Method. All of these methods do not observe and chart any fertility signs but rely on on a woman’s past cycles to predict which day ovulation will take place, assuming it will be at the same time month after month. As this is not the case, these methods are outdated and ineffective in preventing pregnancy given the science we have now.

References

Timing of sexual intercourse in relation to ovulation. Wilcox et al. New England Journal of Medicine 1995

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