Fertility Awareness Method 101
You should probably know, I am a big fan of the Fertility Awareness Method! I have tracked my cycle for 5 years now and I love it. This is something I talk about often with my girlfriends so…..girlfriend, grab a cup of coffee and let’s talk!
I learned about fertility awareness method when I was ready to stop taking birth control and use a more natural family planning method. I was tired of taking a pill that was suppressing my body’s natural hormone production, but that story is for another day!
After I read all about FAM and tracked my cycle for a few months, I was SO impressed with my body. And then I thought-why in the world am I just now learning about this?? Is it one of those things that you only learn when you want to get pregnant?? And why aren’t we teaching our young girls this stuff?? Okay I get a little excited about it, and I could go on and on about the benefits, but first I want to share what it is, and how you can do it.
So what is Fertility Awareness Method?
Fertility Awareness Method is using your body’s signals to learn your fertile window. Women are fertile myrtles the five days before ovulation, the day of ovulation and the day after ovulation. So by knowing the exact day you ovulate, you can plan ahead the next month and use this information for natural birth control or to get preggers.
So how do you know when you ovulate?
Basal Body Temperature:
This is the temperature of your body when you’re fully resting (so after a good night’s sleep.) So take your temperature when you first wake up in the morning. Why does it matter? Your BBT will spike the day after your ovulate and stay high until you get your period!
Here’s what you do:
Before you go to bed, put a thermometer next your alarm- I’ve never used a fancy basal body temp thermometer, just a regular digital one. When you wake up, stick it in your armpit and then hit the snooze button on your alarm. The extra 10 minutes of sleep will warm up your thermometer and give you the most accurate reading. When your alarm goes off the second time, DON’T MOVE! Yes, you’ll have to pee really bad, but stay still a few more seconds while you take your temperature! Then log it on your favorite FAM app or on your tracking sheet. Continue tracking like this every morning of your cycle. Start on cycle day one (the first day of your period.) You can take it orally or vaginally, but I find the armpit/snooze button combo was easiest and most consistent.
You might read cervical “mucus” in other places, but….ew. I like “fluid” better. Our bodies are amazing and will produce different amounts and consistencies of cervical fluid throughout the month. And there is nothing wrong with it! (Something else I think girls should be taught early on!) Notice your cervical fluid each day, and note changes. After your period, it will start to move from sticky, to creamy and then on the day you ovulate, it will be the consistency of egg white, and probably a lot of it. After that, it will dry up, until the last few days of your cycle, and you’ll see more fluid again as your body gets ready for your period. If you're not noticing any differences in your CF, try checking it everyday at the same time, ideally after doing your kegels.
Yes, that beautiful little donut moves up and down, opens and closes and even changes texture throughout the month. Before ovulation, it will be closed and low. It’s often tilted at this time and will feel firm like the tip of your nose. During ovulation it will be open, softer and higher. After ovulation, it go back to the original position.
This is something I think every woman should know how to do! There are so many benefits to knowing how your cycle works, and I think it’s just great for overall health too. I remember the first day I checked my CF and thought hmmmm that’s different. Is this ovulation?? The next morning my BBT spiked! It was so cool to see how it all comes together! And after 5-6 months, I learned exactly how my cycle worked so I stopped checking my BBT. Now I might check it for one month every now and then. Here’s an example of what that looks like:
I use Kindara to track all of this date, but I know there are lots of apps out there you can use. There are also a ton of resources, sample charts, templates that you can print out. But if you want to learn more, I highly recommend you check out Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Toni Weschler is the queen of Fertility Awareness Method! I practiced FAM for 4 years before I read this book, and I still learned SO much!
Have you ever tried natural family planning? Leave a comment!