Updated: Aug 27, 2018
What you can learn about sex, fertility, and your overall health from this daily practice.
What Is The Fertility Awareness Method?
Fertility Awareness, aka Cycle Charting, is a lifestyle practice that allows women to get more in touch with our bodies and to have a better understanding of our monthly cycles, fertility, and overall health. By tracking cyclical changes in cervical fluid and body temperature, you can use fertility awareness to know when you are nearing ovulation or when you have already ovulated.
Doing so allows you to identify your fertile window during your cycle. Whether you use this for conception, contraception, and/or as another way to assess your health is entirely up to you. Either way, increasing your awareness of your cycle can lead to a new appreciation of its
intricacies, and can be a used as a way to discover how to best support your body during each different cycle phase.
What are the Benefits of Fertility Awareness?
No side effects! It is not uncommon for a woman to discontinue hormonal contraceptives because of the side effects she is experiencing. If you are one of these women (I was!), fertility awareness could be a great option for you.
It's an effective contraception method: To be precise, 99.4% effective when used correctly (Frank-Herrmann et al., 2007).
It's free. And you can use it for the rest of your reproductive years.
It gives you a better understanding of your body. Even if you are not trying to conceive or trying to avoid pregnancy, it's empowering to know more about the hormonal changes that happen in your body each month. Our physiology is awesome!
It can help you become pregnant when you want to. You'll know how to tell when you're ovulating, which is really helpful if you are trying to conceive.
It's a good way to find out if you have abnormal cycles or are not ovulating. If you do, you can talk to your doctor about identifying possible underlying issues like hormonal imbalances.
What do I need to practice Fertility Awareness?
Fertility Awareness is a lifestyle practice that I like to compare to brushing your teeth: It only takes a few minutes a day, and the benefits far outweigh the hassle. Cycle charting entails taking a moment each morning and evening to record your observations from the day. All you need is a thermometer, a way to record your observations (either a notebook or a smartphone), and an understanding of what these observations mean so that you can act accordingly. It is possible to self-teach fertility awareness (there are many books and websites out there!) but studies have shown that it’s most effective when you have an educator to teach you the rules and support you as you learn.
Katie Watson, Charting With Katie, LLC
My life changed in 2012 when I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility. I became a certified Fertility Awareness Educator and created Charting with Katie, LLC. because Cycle Charting changed my life for the better and I know it will change yours, too!
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