An Intro to FAM: The Best Birth Control You’ve Never Heard Of
Are you sick of the side effects of different birth control methods? Hate using condoms? Don’t you just wish there was an all natural magic herb that could be used for contraception? Well I can’t tell you that there is a magic natural remedy that you can take… However, there is something absolutely revolutionary in the field of birth control. It involves NO hormones, NO patches, NO pills, NO drugs, NO condoms, and NO SIDE EFFECTS.
Ladies and gentlemen may I introduce to you the Fertility Awareness Method. Also known as FAM, this method of birth control allows you to avoid pregnancy by identifying when you must abstain or use protection, and when it’s safe to go natural. Many find it shocking to hear that there are only about 7 days in each cycle where pregnancy is actually possible. Those days being your fertile days, and the rest being your safe infertile days. Your fertility is determined daily by observing two fertility signs. Your basal metabolic temperature and your cervical fluid.
Here is how our cycles work:
Each cycle is broken up into 2 infertile phases and 1 fertile phase. A cycle begins on the first day we start our period. The first 6 or so days of a cycle are the menstruation days. We begin each cycle by being infertile. In the middle of a cycle, the days leading up to ovulation, the day of ovulation, and a few days after are classified as the fertile phase (ovulation being when the ova, or egg, is released for fertilization). Pregnancy can only occur when an egg is fertilized by sperm. On average, ovulation day occurs for most woman on day 14, however it is different for everybody and that’s absolutely normal. After ovulation is confirmed, you begin your third and final phase, which is another infertile phase. In the photo above, the green days are the infertile phase, and the pink days are the fertile days (note that these days are different for each person and vary every single month!)
So how do we know when we are fertile or infertile? How do we know when we have ovulated? This is where the temperature and cervical fluid play their part. Each morning after waking and before getting out of bed, you take your basal metabolic temperature (aka your morning temperature) using a BBT thermometer. Once taken, you record your temperature either on paper on homemade charts, or in super convenient fertility charting apps such as OvuView and Kindara. The only other thing left to do in the day is check your cervical fluid. Throughout the day, as many times as you can remember when you go to the bathroom, you check the quality of your cervical fluid by inserting a finger in the vagina. Sound gross? It’s really not! At first the idea of this may be weird to some, however its just your body! Nothing to be afraid of 🙂 It takes just seconds to determine the quality of your cervical fluid. Every day you record this just as you record your temperature. Throughout our cycles, the fluid that comes out of the cervix actually changes. Certain qualities of cervical fluid are more favorable for holding sperm (has the proper pH, is viscous enough, etc…). This type of fluid will ONLY be found in a fertile phase. During your infertile phases, the fluid will typically be almost non-existent. So as soon as you find that you have a certain quality of cervical fluid that is classified as fertile or potentially fertile, this begins your fertile phase. You typically only have fertile cervical fluid about 5 days before ovulation. Once ovulation occurs, cervical fluid quickly dries up. Furthermore, on the day after ovulation, your basal metabolic temperature rises, thus signaling that you have ovulated. The first part of your cycle before ovulation is called your follicular phase. The day after ovulation and all of the rest of the days until your cycle ends, is your luteal phase. In the luteal phase, this is when your temperature will be high generally every day. Once you have 3 high temperature in a row, and 4 dry days since your peak day, the beginning of your luteal phase and ovulation is confirmed. This method is also used for trying to conceive as well. For couples that have trouble conceiving, tracking ovulation helps many women pinpoint when they are most fertile, for easier conception.
This might all sound confusing, or even intimidating. But it really isn’t! FAM takes less than 3 minutes out of your day, is easy for any woman (even teens) to do, and is totally and completely 100% natural, and its effective. In fact, it is just as effective as the birth control pill.
So what are you waiting for! If you’d like a completely natural method of birth control that won’t affect your health in any negative way, start educating yourself on the proper way to chart your cycles. I do not recommend you begin charting if reading this is your only education on the method. I highly recommend purchasing the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. This book will properly teach you how to use FAM and get you started on your charting as soon as possible. On the website fertilityfriend.com, you can sign up for a free course that will teach you how to track as well. Every day a new lesson will be sent to your email. These lessons are simple to understand and are quick to read. Do your research and get started on FAM for the best birth control in the world.
Please note that FAM will not protect you against STDs. If you are not in a monogamous relationship with a partner who is free of any STDs, use additional protection.
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH