The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) has fallen back into fashion somewhat recently, women are becoming more attuned to their own bodies and are already shedding the shackles of the taboo opposed upon the female form. Everything takes time, and practice. The same can be said for the FAM. You don't just pick up a brush one day and are suddenly embodied with the abilities of Picasso.
If you want to use the Fertility Awareness Method there are 6 basic rules that you need to follow if you want to do it properly.
1. Be Patient
If you do take the plunge and decide to get stuck into the Fertility Awareness Methods, you do need to make sure that you are aware, and that means taking your time. Understanding the signs of your fertility is the first step and it is going to take at least two or three cycles to really get a grip on things.
Before you start getting footloose and fancy free, you should wait until you've gone through two or three cycles, just to make sure that you feel that you know what you're doing and have a better understanding of and interpreting your signs.
2. Hormonal Control is a No No!
If you want to start charting or using the Fertility Awareness Method as a form of birth control, you can use additional forms of contraception too. Most barrier types are fine, like condoms, the cervical cap or the diaphragm.
However using hormonal forms of birth control doesn't really work because it messes with your system a bit. The hormonal fluctuations caused by these contraceptives can alter your temperature and stop the production of cervical mucus, which means that it seriously affects your ability to chart your cycle.
3. Three Day Safety
If you have been charting and recording your signs properly, you will have been able to confirm ovulation has occurred. The distinct and sustained change in temperature that has been observed is a key factor in determining ovulation.
Furthermore, this shows that you are in fact menstruating and not just dealing with spotting or "false periods". False periods, also known as withdrawal bleeding, is what occurs when using the pill (mini or combined). It is the result of the hormone drop in your body for a week, which explains why it tends to be lighter and less, well, excruciating than usual.
The Three Day Safety rule means that you cannot get pregnant during the first three days of menstruation. That's right, during the first three days you are infertile and you can get all up in those sexy times without a worry.
Just remember though, that you are only in the safe zone for those first three days and then it is open season for the rest of the cycle.
4. The Sahara
Cervical mucus is a magical thing, it really is, and whenever you see it, you are fertile. We'll say it once again for the people in the cheap seats, any cervical mucus is a sign of fertility.
Mucus goes through a cycle, from dry to stretchy, tacky to slippery, each with its own important meaning, none of which you should worry your doctor about. Unless it's yellow, definitely go see your health care professional if it's yellow!
Dry days are... well they're pretty self-explanatory. During these dry days, there are absolutely no signs of mucus. This does involve checking throughout the day, especially before and after going to the toilet.
In the evenings of these particular days, you are infertile. Just like the mere presence of mucus shows fertility, the absence of it shows the opposite.
5. Temperature Spike
Okay, so this is another three-day rule. When using the Fertility Awareness Method for a while you will have been gotten the hang of recording your basal body temperature. You'll notice this either in your personal graph or whatever app you're using.
As you know, ovulation only occurs once a month and once the egg is released, the store is only open for business between 12 and 24 hours before closing up for another month. Your basal temperature spikes and stays high consistently after you ovulate.
On the third day of this high and sustained temperature spike, that is a consecutive spike, you are infertile in the evening. The reason that it's a three-day rule and not a two-day rule is because we are taking into account the possibility of multiple ovulations. That's how you get non-identical twins y'all.
Occasionally you may observe after a dip in temperature after ovulation has occurred. This is usually due to a final spike in estrogen. Once you observe three consecutive high temperatures above the coverline, you're in the clear.
On the other hand, if your temperature is fluctuating quite a bit, then continue using extra precautions as you learn to understand your cycle.
6. Peaking Luck
The peak day is the last day of your cycle that you have peak cervical mucus. Cervical mucus changes in color and texture throughout the cycle, peak mucus is clear, slippery and stretchy. Effectively it's the same consistency as egg white. So the last day that you observe mucus with these qualities is your peak day.
Word to the wise, you won't know that it is your peak day until the day after when you don't see any more of the peak mucus.
Four days after the peak day, you are infertile, this is because sperm needs the cervical mucus to survive. The mucus changes the PH balance within the vagina, thus protecting the sperm from the corrosive cooch!
Waiting three days gives the vagina enough time to build back up the necessary acidity levels needed to keep sperm at bay. This ensures that you are safe to start your hanky panky without worrying about those sneaky sperm.
FAM Isn't Foolproof
If you are using FAM as your preferred method of birth control then you do need to use your head and keep on top of things. The Fertility Awareness Method isn't completely foolproof, especially if you aren't paying enough attention.
If you follow these 6 basic rules for FAM then you will have a great success rate, remember discipline is key! Just to be safe, make sure you have charted at least two or three cycles before you start putting this into practice.
If you have any questions or comments about Fertility Awareness Methods, charting, rules, etc, then let us know in the comments below, we can't wait to hear from you.