Fertility Awareness Methodsby Elizabeth MacDonald
Fertility Awareness Methods umbrella the ways you can identify your fertility and understand your cycle. Many women use FAM to manage their fertility, and to plan for or prevent pregnancy.
There is so much information out there, it can be quite overwhelming. If you are interested in tracking your fertility and better understanding your body, this should be of some help.
Fertility Awareness Methods
Utilizing FAM includes observing one or more of the following:
- Basal Body Temperature
- Cervical Mucus
- Cervix Position
- Standard Days method: The Standard Days method follows a standard rule of what days during the menstrual cycle are the most fertile. If your cycle is between 26 and 32 days long, the Standard Days method considers days 8–19 to be the most fertile days. This method works best if your cycles are regular.
- Cervical mucous method: Just before ovulation, the amount of mucus made by the cervix noticeably increases, and the mucus becomes thin and slippery. It turns into an egg white consistency and just after ovulation, the amount of mucus decreases, and it becomes thicker and less noticeable.
- Basal body temperature (BBT) method: The body’s normal temperature increases slightly during ovulation (0.5–1°F) and remains high until the end of the menstrual cycle. The most fertile days are the 2–3 days before this increase in temperature. To monitor your BBT, take your temperature with a basal body thermometer (measuring to the nearest hundredth of a degree) every morning at the same time after waking up and before any activity, getting out of bed, or having anything to eat or drink. Record these temperatures daily. This method only shows only when ovulation has already occurred, not when it is going to occur.
- Sympto-thermal method: The symptothermal method is a combination of methods. The two most commonly used are the BBT method and the cervical mucus method. Other methods or signs can be used, such as the Standard Days method, as a double check to identify when the fertile time begins and ends.
- You are not able to avoid sex or use a barrier method during your fertile days.
- Pregnancy is not recommended for you because of medical risks.
- You have bleeding between menstrual periods that is difficult to distinguish from your normal menstrual period or that makes assessing your cervical mucus difficult.