What is fertility awareness?
Fertility awareness is exactly what it sounds like - being aware of your fertility. This method is about understanding your body, your fertile and infertile times of the month, and how you can avoid getting pregnant by using your own biology!
By becoming familiar with your menstrual cycle and understanding when you are fertile, you can plan to only have penetrative intercourse in windows that you know you are not able to fall pregnant.
Fertility awareness can work well as birth control, however, compared to other contraceptive methods there is a relatively high risk of pregnancy as it is completely user-dependent.
The risk of pregnancy is 25 per 100 women with typical use, but
can be as good as 3 per 100 women if used perfectly.
does this mean?
Doctors discuss the
effectiveness of contraception
by "perfect" and "typical" use.
This is because some methods are affected by human error:
The method is used perfectly
(no human error)
Accounts for human
error (e.g. forgetting
OK - pretty good when used perfectly (97%)
One of the highest risks of pregnancy of all birth control methods
Need to record every day in order to understand your cycle
Need to be able to abstain (not have any penetrative sex) or use condoms during you fertile window
How hard to get?
Learn how to do this and you don't need to see any doctor or pay for anything
How does it work?
Fertility awareness works by recording a few different things:
Simply tracking your cycle (the time in between your periods) - the average is between 26 - 32 days
Part of the cycle is set, so we can work backward and work out when you ovulate based on dates alone
The best ways are with apps (Clu, Flo, etc); they crunch your numbers and can predict your cycle rhythm and fertile periods
Your body temperature goes up when you ovulate
When your body temperature is up for two days compared to the previous seven, you know you have ovulated
You are not safe to have unprotected intercourse at this time!
Cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle; it is thick and white-ish when you are in an infertile period versus thin, clear, and stretchy when you are fertile.
You can get pregnant from the onset of this fertile mucus up to 3 days after it stops
You check your mucus by placing one or two fingers into your vagina and reaching up to your cervix
We recommend measuring this every day
If you have had intercourse, sperm can make this assessment difficult, so you may need to do it every two days
Fertility awareness works best when you use the multiple methods above
You will have a higher risk of pregnancy if you use only one method
We also highly recommend being taught by a trained professional as the body can be complex!
how long does it last?
You must be recording every day; it only works as long as you are on board
why would it suit me?
Fertility awareness can be particularly helpful if:
You want to understand your body
You don't want hormones or barrier contraception
You wouldn't mind falling pregnant
You are ok with not having sex or using another method for part of your cycle (at least 7 days in a month)
You are in control
Better understanding of your body
Once you know how to do it, no GP visits or ongoing cost for contraception!
No hormones or barrier contraception
You need to be invested. Every. Day.
Ideally, you would be trained in the method
Requires self control
Cycle tracking doesn't work if you have irregular periods
Start understanding your cycle! Write down what you experience and when. Buy a temperature probe, and maybe invest in an app to help you with your tracking.
We recommend meeting with a trained professional to teach you the best way to manage this method. Check out the following services available to help you:
You can download fertility charts to record your findings from here
In the future...
luna health hope to provide a birth control service that assesses eligibility for each birth control method.
This will save you time and money
meaning you only need to physically see a doctor once
Share your experience
help others decide what is best for them
I use calendar and temperature.
Been doing this for over a year and finally feel I have more control over my emotions and learning about my body after being on the mini-pill for over 10 years!
I track my cycles with the Flo app to work out my fertile window and use condoms during this time.
I track my period and use condoms when I am ovulating and none the rest of the month. This has provided me with 6 years of effective contraception.