In Let’s Talk About Contraceptives, I shared that I was not comfortable with any mainstream methods of birth control. Researching natural methods of child spacing led me to the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). I ordered a copy of the book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility (TCYF) and started educating myself.
There are many positives to following FAM. The main positive is that FAM is completely natural, no artificial hormones go into your body. It’s also quite economical, I spent about $25 for a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility and a basal thermometer which is much cheaper than paying for pills/patches year after year.
Supplies for Practicing FAM:
- Charts (paper charts provided in TCYF/ or the free app Kindara)
- Basal Body Thermometer*
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility (you could learn the basics online but I highly recommend this book for reference!)
The Basics of FAM:
The two main components for following FAM are taking your temperature and observing your cervical fluid.
At the same time each morning, before you do anything, take your temperature (this is your waking temperature.) Once you have taken your temperature, record it on your chart.
Each morning, my alarm goes off at 7 am and I immediately put my thermometer in my mouth. Once it beeps, I take it out, read the temperature and record it using my Kindara app.
The second component is observing your cervical fluid. Cervical fluid can basically be categorized as dry, sticky, creamy or slippery/egg white. It is recommended to check your cervical fluid 3 times a day, including the morning and night.
I observe my cervical fluid throughout the day and record the ‘findings’ each evening on my chart.
Charting plays a key factor in FAM, if you are properly recording your temperatures and cervical fluid classifications, then you will know when you are approaching ovulation and when you ovulate. This knowledge is informative both as birth control or if you are trying to achieve pregnancy.
You cannot simply rely on charting your temperature or observing cervical fluid, it is necessary to observe both of those factors to get an accurate picture of where your body is in your cycle. There are also general guidelines to follow regarding the times it is ‘safe’ to have intercourse if you’re using FAM as birth control that are too complicated to go into here. (They are detailed in Taking Charge of Your Fertility.)
This is just a brief overview of the basics, don’t use this information alone to try to naturally avoid pregnancy.
After reading through Taking Charge of Your Fertility, taking notes, beginning to observe my body and charting, I felt confident that we could be successful if we followed all of the guidelines.
Practicing FAM is quite difficult when breastfeeding delays ovulation, there’s really not much to observe. But, with careful observation, I was able to tell when I ovulated and my cycle returned 2 weeks later when my youngest was 13 months old. Having a cycle makes practicing FAM easy, I just wish I would have been educated about ovulation and a woman’s cycle before marriage which would have allowed me to completely avoid hormonal birth control.
If you are on hormonal birth control or plan to go on hormonal birth control, just know there is another way!
Note: This post is not shared as medical advice, it’s just a bit of my story and the basics of FAM. If you have an interest in following these methods, you need to educate yourself on the matter.
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