Fertility Awareness (FA) also referred to as natural family planning or natural contraception is a contraception strategy which describes the various changes that takes place during a woman’s menstrual cycle. These changes, both physical and emotional can help the woman to pinpoint exactly when she is likely to ovulate. If a woman knows when she is likely to ovulate, then she can plan on when to get pregnant and when not to. Therefore she can decide when to have sex and when not to. If used effectively it has a 99 % success rate.  This means if 100 women use it, then only 1 is likely to get pregnant and that will be the one who failed to adhere to rules or perhaps her menstrual cycle is so irregular that she cannot predict exactly when to get pregnant, an accident of nature. There are several methods used or fertility awareness. These include the basal body temperature (BBT) method; cervical mucus method, cervical position method, the calendar method and finally “the standard days method”.

  • Consult the service of a fertility awareness expert, doctor or nurse for proper training if you doubt yourself.
  • You will have to chart your fertility signs every day until you master your menstrual cycle. This will require patience and time.
  • You might need to avoid vaginal sex or use a condom around your fertile days
  • Use more than one method to tract your menstrual cycle. Most people use BBT, cervical mucus and calendar method. Using more than one method is of advantage because some conditions such as illness or medications may affect one method but not the other.

Advantage of Charting or recording changes during your menstrual cycle

Tracking changes in your menstrual cycle will help you achieve the following:

  • Helps you predict your most fertile window
  • It tells you when you are likely to ovulate
  • Helps you plan for or avoid pregnancy
  • Allows you to have sex at the right time
  • May reveal early pregnancy signs
  • Can be used by your doctor to detect fertility problems and problems with ovulation
  • Can be used to diagnose an infection.

Some facts about fertility awareness

  • It comes with no side effect. The method is completely natural
  • If instructions are wrongly followed, then pregnancy is like to take place. So if not sure then contract the service of an expert
  • It does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Use condom whenever necessary.
  • It entails keeping records of changes that occur in your body and depending on how regular, irregular or complex your menstrual cycle is, it might take from 3-12 months to be fully mastered. So patience, commitment and practice is necessary.
  • Record keeping can be affected by other conditions such as illnesses, medications, stress or depression. Hence care must be taken
  • If emergency contraception is used, then you might need to wait for about 2 months before repeatin.
  • It is acceptable to most faith and religion but not suitable for every woman

Who cannot use fertility awareness?

  • Women with very irregular cycles
  • When you have a vaginal infection, are ill or under medications. These conditions will affect your fertility signal
  • You drink and/or smoke regularly
  • When you have recently just stop taking hormonal conceptions
  • Women who have just given birth or are breast feeding
  • People who are regularly stressed or travel regularly to different time zones
  • Women who have recently had an abortion or a miscarriage.

Click here to understand the different changes which happen in a menstrual cycle and here to learn the different fertility awareness method.