The Fertility awareness method is the way to track your ovulation to prevent pregnancy, to achieve pregnancy, or as a way to track women’s gynecological health. It’s also known as the natural family planning or the rhythm method. In this article, we will explain the different types of fertility awareness methods and their effectiveness, and for any additional information, you can schedule free counseling at the Aastra Women’s Center.
Different types of Fertility Awareness Methods
Fertility awareness methods can help you track your menstrual cycle so that you can know when your ovaries will release an egg each month. Days near your ovulation are called fertile days, which is when you are most likely to get pregnant. Many women use these methods to prevent pregnancy by using other birth control methods or by avoiding sex on those fertile days.
We’re going to list a few different fertility awareness methods that will help you track the fertility signs.
The Calendar Method – Chart your menstrual cycle on a calendar. This method gives you insight into your fertile days by recording the length of your menstrual cycle each month. After you have tracked your cycle for a few months you will be able to use the data you have gathered better predict when you are fertile or infertile.
The Basal Body Temperature Method – The basal body is your body’s temperature while you’re resting. Most women’s average temperature slightly increases during the ovulation, and it remains higher until the end of the cycle. Two to three days before the temperature increases are the most fertile days. To monitor your basal body temperature, take your temperature each morning before any activities.
The Cervical Mucus Method – This method includes recognizing changes in the mucus which the cervix produces, and in how the mucus feels and looks. Just before your ovulation, the amount of mucus will noticeably increase, and it will become thinner and slippery. In order to promote pregnancy, you should not have sex every day when this type of mucus is present.
The Symptothermal Method – This method is a variation of other ways. The two most used are cervical mucus and BTT methods. The Marquette method combines cervical mucus and BTT tracking with the use of an electronic hormonal fertility monitor, which detects hormones in the urine to confirm the fertile days. You can also use the Standart Method as a double-check to identify when your productive days will begin and end.
Other well-known fertility awareness methods are
The Rythm Method – This is the oldest FAM and is calendar-based. It is important to track your menstrual cycle for at least six months before using this method. After tracking multiple cycles, you should use your longest and your shortest cycle to determine the time during which you are most likely to be fertile and should avoid sex or use a second form of contraception. This is not a good method for women whose cycles are not regular and between 26 and 32 days.
Standard Days Method – This method is similar to the rhythm method. The person should avoid sex and use the second form of contraception from days 8 to 19 of their cycle. This method is not recommended for women with irregular cycles. Five out of a hundred people can get pregnant per year by using this method. This is currently considered a modern contraceptive by the World Health Organization.
TwoDay Method – A person using this method should check for certain types of cervical mucus every day of their cycle. The person is fertile and should avoid sex if they have slippery or egg white cervical mucus today and/or the day before. Four percent of people will get pregnant per year if they use this method perfectly.
Billings Ovulation Method – As same as the TwoDay method, this method uses cervical mucus to estimate the fertile period. You record descriptions of your cervical mucus onto a chart and follow a set of rules as to when you can have sex. Three percent of people will get pregnant per year if they use this method perfectly.
Using luteinizing hormone (LH) urine tests – LH spikes 24 hours before ovulation and this hormone can be detected with at-home urine tests.
Fertility tracking via mobile app – These are new tools and not methods in themselves. They use calendar estimates and BTT, and sometimes other symptom inputs, results from luteinizing hormone tests, etc. A recently published research conducted on one such app shows that only one out of 100 people will get pregnant per year if they use this method perfectly. However, these estimates are based on studies with a significant amount of missing data which may have affected them.
How effective is the Fertility Awareness Method in Preventing Pregnancy?
Fertility Awareness Methods are approximately 76-88 percent effective, which means that 12-24 out of 100 women that are using FAMs get pregnant each year, depending on the method they used. Using multiple FAM methods will work even better.
The better you track your fertility signs daily and avoid sexual intercourse or use different types of birth control options on your ‘unsafe’ days, the more effective it will be. Despite that, there’s still a chance that you can get pregnant. But to make FAMs even more effective, it’s essential to have a supportive partner that would like to learn how to use these methods.
Fertility awareness methods are most effective when
- A nurse, doctor, or a counselor that knows FAMs well to advise you how to use them correctly
- You have the discipline and the time to chart your cycle and check your fertility signs each day
- You and your partner don’t have a problem avoiding vaginal sex or using a different kind of birth control during your fertile days
The best way to use Fertility Awareness Methods is to combine the cervical mucus, BTT, and calendar methods because each of them relies on different signs to predict the fertile days. Using all of them together will give you the best picture of your fertility and will make Fertility Awareness Methods more accurate.