The fertility awareness method is a natural form of birth control that involves tracking your cycle to detect ovulation.
What is the Fertility Awareness Method?
The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) involves knowing and recognizing when you are most likely to get pregnant during your menstrual cycle. In general, women are most fertile a few days before and during ovulation.
If you can accurately recognize when you are ovulating, you can avoid pregnancy. However, FAM is the least reliable method of birth control as multiple methods of collecting information must be used to increase effectiveness and every woman’s menstrual cycle is different. It is important to track at least 6 to 12 menstrual cycles before using FAM.
How to track your menstrual cycle
- Calendar rhythm method: Use your past menstrual cycles to estimate the time of ovulation. This is the least reliable method and shouldn’t be used on its own.
- Temperature method: Use a sensitive thermometer to track your basal body temperature before you get out of bed every morning. Basal body temperature increases right after ovulation.
- Cervical mucus method: Keep track of your cervical mucus, noting color, thickness and texture. Cervical mucus becomes thinner, slippery and stretchy during ovulation.
Some advantages of FAM are that it costs very little and requires no medication. When you are ready to get pregnant, this method can be stopped immediately. There are no side effects, and it is safe to use.
Disadvantages are that you need to consistently track your menstrual cycle for at least six months before it can safely be used as a method of contraceptive. If you have irregular periods, this method may not work for you.
Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about all of your contraceptive options. At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we provide comprehensive, personalized gynecological care for each woman. Whether it’s your first ever GYN visit, or you’ve had quite a few over the years, we will work with you to ensure you are at ease and comfortable during your visit.