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Fertility Awareness Method: Learn The Signs Of Fertility For Natural Hormonal Contraception

Updated on January 29, 2012

Natural Family Planning

Whether you are trying to conceive a baby or preventing a pregnancy you should educate yourself on FAM or the Fertility Awareness Method. So what does FAM exactly involve? The process is fairly simple and involves keeping track of your monthly cycle by charting your basal body temperature as well as checking your cervical fluid and optionally checking the position of your cervix.

In actuality a woman can only get pregnant a few days a month during her fertile period. So, why are we objecting ourselves to taking birth control sometimes on a daily basis such as with the birth control pill suffering from unneeded side effects. I myself have taken several brands of birth control pills only to end up with excruciating migraines, irritability and being bloated.

When it comes to birth control a woman has many choices to protect herself such as use of diaphragms, birth control pills, sponges, IUD, tubal ligation, suppositories, the Patch, cervical cap, Implanon, Nuvaring, Depo-Provera, spermicides, female condom and natural methods.

Some people mistake the Fertility Awareness Method to using the rhythm method. These are two entirely different methods. The rhythm method is based on a woman ovulating 14 days before her period give or take a few days. Not all women ovulate at the same time so this is why the rhythm method is not as reliable as the FAM method.

Benefits Of Using The Fertility Awareness Method

There are many benefits to using natural family planning methods such as FAM even if you are not looking to have a baby or wanting birth control for prevention of a pregnancy. The Fertility Awareness Method can be used to diagnose the following:

♦ Anovulation - This is lack of ovulating
♦ Late ovulation
♦ Short luteal phase - Second half of your cycle
♦ Infertile cervical fluid
♦ Hormonal imbalance
♦ Insufficient progesterone levels
♦ Irregular bleeding
♦ Vaginal infections
♦ Urinary tract infections
♦ Cervical anomalies
♦ Lumps in breasts
♦ PMS
♦ Miscalculated date of conception

The three primary signs of fertility are a woman's waking body temperature, her cervical fluid and the position of her cervix.


Fertility Awareness Method Using Your Waking Body Temperature

Your waking body temperature or basal body temperature before ovulation is in the range of 97.0 to 97.7 degrees. Post ovulation your temperature will rise to 97.8 and higher. After a woman ovulates her temperature will remain high until the start of her next period which is approximately 12 to 16 days later. If she happens to become pregnant than her temperature will consistently remain high throughout the pregnancy.

Body temperature will rise within a day or so after ovulation has happened this is because of the hormone progersterone being released.

A rise in temperature indicates that ovulation has already happened. Cervical fluid and cervix position is an indication of ovulation about to occur.

A few factors can interfere with your waking body temperature such as a fever, drinking the night before, not getting at least three straight hours of sleep, taking your temperature at different times or using an electric blanket when you normally don't.

What type of thermometer should you use and when should you take your temperature? The most reliable type of thermometer for charting is a glass basal body thermometer. These are easier to read and show in increments of 0.1 instead of 0.2. You should take your temperature orally and every day at the same time.

Secondary Fertile Signs

Some women experience other signs of fertility in their cycle. Not all women will experience these. Some may experience only a few, all of them or possibly none.

♦ Midcyle spotting
♦ Pain and aches around the ovaries
♦ Increased arousal
♦ Bloating of the stomach
♦ Fuller vaginal lips
♦ Retaining water
♦ More energy
♦ Heightened senses
♦ Increase sensitivity

Be Careful In Not Confusing Vaginal Fluid With Cervical Fluid
If you are unsure if the fluid you are feeling is cervical or vaginal you can do a couple tests. One is the glass test. Drop some of your fluid in a glass of water. True quality fertile cervical fluid will form a blob at the bottom of the glass. Also after checking with your finger cervical fluid will remain until you wipe it off whereas vaginal fluid will dissipate after a minute or so.

Fertility Awareness Method Using Cervical Fluid

The quality of a woman's cervical fluid will determine ovulation as well. Fertile cervical fluid is important for sperm to fertilize an egg because it allows the sperm mobility and nourishment. The cervical fluid only has fertile characteristics a few days a month.

You will notice through your cycle your fluid become wetter and wetter as ovulation approaches. Right after your menustration you may see no fluid and be dry with as the days going by your fluid becoming a sticky matter than creamy. Finally, the cervical fluid will become slippery and/or like an egg white substance. This type of fluid is stretchy. clear like and is the most fertile.

Check your fluid at least three times a day. A few factors could interfere with the quality of your cervical fluid such as:

♦ Vaginal infection
♦ Seminal fluid
♦ Arousal fluid
♦ Spermicide and lubricants
♦ Antihistamines


Fertility Awareness Method Using The Position Of Your Cervix

Checking Your Cervix Position
This is an optional sign you can use with the Fertility Awareness Method. Your cervix changes positions throughout your cycle. You may have even noticed different times during intercourse being uncomfortable or feeling pain. This is because of the position of your cervix.

When a woman is fertile and ovulating her cervix will be soft, open and rising. Other times during her cycle before and right after menstruating the cervix will remain closed, be firm, low and dry.

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