Monday, September 10, 2012

How To Use Natural Birth Control(Not the Rhythm Method)
The Key Is Knowing Your Body Well
something to think about if they outlaw contraceptives, I can't use it, but would have tried it during my time of starting a family.  Because birth control didn't work for me.  My doctor said that 1% of those women who take the pill, could still get pregnant.  Boy, I had to be in that !%.  I just thought it was interesting enough to add it to my blog.
Natural Birth Control
Natural birth control can be really useful if you know your body's schedule 123
3The pill doesn’t thrill you. You’re sick of fumbling with condoms, sponges and foams. You’re in a committed, monogamous relationship… but not looking to start a family. Well, there’s an all-natural – and widely misunderstood – option that can keep you from getting knocked up. And no, it’s not the rhythm method…Who hasn’t wished they didn’t have to deal with birth control pills, fumbling with condoms in the heat of the moment, or fretting about your period after unprotected sex?

Many women seek a natural form of contraception that doesn’t mess with our bodies, but also doesn’t leave us chewing our fingernails each month and running to the store for pregnancy tests (and uncomfortable moments with the cashier).

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) offers a natural form of birth control and a better sense of your reproductive cycle. It’s often confused with the rhythm method – a form of birth control that counts the days of the menstrual cycle to predict when it’s safe and unsafe to have sex.

The rhythm method relies on tracking past menstrual cycles and using them to predict the future. It’s the look-into-a-crystal-ball approach to birth control, which is why it often fails.

FAM is significantly more effective since it charts a woman’s current symptoms, day by day, to offer a more precise prediction about her fertility or lack thereof. With perfect use and abstinence during fertile times, FAM is as effective as the pill and more effective than condoms. However, FAM won’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases. As such, it’s a method of birth control best practiced by monogamous, committed couples.

The key to FAM is in the details: basal body temperature and cervical fluid.

What’s Your Temperature?
Technically, a woman is only fertile one day out of the month – the day she ovulates. However, since sperm can survive in the body for up to a week, there are actually at least seven “unsafe” days if you are trying to avoid pregnancy (and fertile days if you are trying to get pregnant): the five days leading up to ovulation, the day you ovulate and the day after.
Ovulation is different for every woman. Some women ovulate on Day 10 of their cycle, while others ovulate on Day 20.

When a woman is ovulating, her body temperature rises. Most women can’t feel the temperature increase; a thermometer is the best way to monitor it. Tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) helps you zero in on your ovulation time, so you know when it’s safe and unsafe to have unprotected sex.

Sarah Slocum, Coordinator of fertility awareness workshops at the Chicago Women’s Health Center, says, “FAM really allows women to get to know their own cycle. It’s very personal; every woman is different.”

However, timing is everything.

Your temperature should be taken before you do anything – brush your teeth, have sex, get out of bed, or meditate. Set a daily alarm, wake up, roll over, and put the thermometer in your mouth. Most digital basal thermometers will record your most recent reading, so you can roll over again and fall right back asleep.
Tracking your daily waking temperature with a basal thermometer is essential, because the differences are actually in 10ths of a degree that wouldn’t register otherwise. These instruments are also called family planning or fertility thermometers. Over the course of several cycles, you’ll begin to see a pattern in which your temperature plots along, then does a dramatic increase. That is your magic day of ovulation.

Check Your Fluids
Tracking your cervical fluid can help you know where you are in your menstrual cycle. While tracking BBT helps you monitor your body during and after ovulation, checking your cervical fluids helps you recognize those fertile days before ovulation (and before your temperature has gone up). In combination with BBT, you can predict when it is safe to have sex and when you must abstain or use backup birth control.

Yuck, you say? You’re not alone. Many women feel cervical fluid, or “discharge,” is gross, mysterious and certainly not the subject of conversation and attention.

However, this is where many women go wrong in understanding their fertility. Women’s health expert Toni Weschler, in her seminal book on FAM, Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Collins, 2001), says: “Because of misleading and inadequate health education, women are rarely taught how to distinguish between normal signs of fertile cervical fluid produced every cycle and the signs of a vaginal infection.”
Cervical fluid changes predictably for most women over the course of the menstrual cycle. It also plays a vital role in helping women conceive, which many people are not aware of.

Noting the characteristics of your cervical fluid helps you recognize where you are in your cycle and when you can have sex without fear of getting pregnant:

  • In the days following menstruation, most women experience “dry days,” in which no cervical fluid is present. These are generally days that are safe for intercourse.

  • As the egg matures for ovulation, many women experience sticky, cloudy or clumpy fluid. These can be safe days, depending on your cycle.

  • Next, women experience increasing wetness and creamy, lotion-like cervical fluid. These are generally unsafe days.

  • As ovulation approaches, women experience a more slippery cervical fluid that often resembles raw egg whites. This cervical fluid is stretchy and highly conducive to transporting sperm to an egg (in other words, no sex!).
  • Check your cervical fluid each time you use the bathroom by wiping the vaginal opening with either a tissue or your fingers. Record the quality of your cervical fluid at the end of each day. Remember, it may take a couple cycles to begin to see patterns or even distinguish between different types of fluid.

    FAM Fare
    As you recognize your fertility patterns, you’ll be able to know when you can and can’t have sex without using other forms of birth control.

    According to Slocum, a woman’s safe days become evident as she tracks her symptoms over the course of several cycles in fertility charts. You can get a fertility chart online or at a local clinic.

    Slocum recommends that women take a workshop to learn the basics of FAM. According to her, it’s best if women come to a workshop with three cycles tracked; meanwhile, use a backup form of birth control during that time. To find a fertility awareness workshop in your area, visit
    To practice FAM, you’ll need a basal thermometer (available for about $10 at your drugstore), fertility charts to record your temperature and other symptoms, and a backup form of birth control until you get the hang of it. Again, FAM is only recommended for women in monogamous relationships.

    The Fertility Awareness Method offers a natural approach to pregnancy prevention and, when you’re ready, pregnancy! Even if you choose not to practice FAM, simply knowing about it and how your body works can help you take charge of your health.

    Want to learn more? Get your own copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

    Is FAM for You?
    The fertility awareness method offers a natural approach to pregnancy prevention and, when you're ready, pregnancy! Take our FAM quiz to better understand your body, tune into your cycle and take charge of your health.

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