Fertility Awareness

My experience as a clinician and fertility awareness educator has lead me to believe that most women, of all ages, are disconnected from their menstrual cycles. This is sad and alarming considering that our cycles are at the core of our femininity and reproductive health. By understanding the events of the full cycle, and what constitutes normal and healthy gynaecological health, women can become pro-active in regards to their health and birth control.

 

The menstrual cycle is a whole lot more than just menstruation! Imagine extending self-awareness to your entire cycle, not just PMS. Imagine gifting yourself with greater self-knowledge, self-respect, and control just by tuning to the other 20 days or so of your cycle. Just as we live in large cycles marked by the seasons, months, moons, years, life phases etc., each woman lives within the splendor of her own personal cycles which can help anchor her throughout the others.

 

Fertility Facts:

  • Women ovulate once per cycle, mid-way through, this is when conception can occur.
  • Although the egg, once released at ovulation, only lasts up to 24 hours if not fertilized, a woman is generally fertile for seven days per cycle due to the presence of cervical fluid. Also, more than one egg may be released within the ovulation time.
  • Men are fertile 24 hours a day. Sperm can last for up to 5 days after ejaculation in the right conditions (presence of cervical fluid), this must be accounted for when timing intercourse.

 

The Menstrual Cycle:

  • A typical menstrual cycle lasts from 25-35 days.
  • Day 1 of the cycle is the first day of menstrual bleeding.
  • Ovulation typically occurs between day 11-16 of the cycle.
  • Menstruation usually begins 14 days after ovulation.
  • The cycle can be divided into the pre-ovulatory and post-ovulatory phases with ovulation marking the dividing line. The pre-ovulatory phase may vary from cycle to cycle, the post-ovulatory phase rarely varies.

Fertility Awareness Method of Birth Control

  • Low failure rate when understood thoroughly and used correctly
  • Scientifically proven.
  • Causes no side effects or health risks
  • Free (except for the initial purchase of a basal body thermometer)
  • Specific to each woman.
  • Easy to learn and use – once the method is learned, two minutes per day are required to implement it.
  • Provides essential support when other methods of birth control are used, these methods do fail, with basic self-awareness a woman can make accurate choices regarding the timing of sexual activity in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
  • Allows for accurate timing if pregnancy is desired.
  • Reliable monitor of gynecological health.
  • Can be used by women of all ages.
  • Applicable for women with long or irregular cycles, in the post-natal period, during breastfeeding, during peri-menopause, and after discontinuing use of the birth control pill.

 

The Method:

  • Considers the combined fertility of the man and woman
  • Observation, understanding, and charting of 3 primary signs of fertility:
    • cervical fluid
    • basal body temperature
    • position of the cervix (optional)
  • Abstinence or additional barrier methods are required during the fertile phase of the cycle, approximately 7 days

 

Additional Considerations:

  • Incorrect usage of the method leads to a high failure rate. Initial instruction from a qualified fertility awareness educator is very important.
  • Good communication with sexual partners and a high degree of motivation and discipline are required.
  • It may seem like an inconvenience taking the temperature every morning and charting symptoms, however, these actions quickly become routine.