Fertility Awareness is the technique of working out exactly what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in and at which stages you are not fertile and having sex at those times. The Fertility Awareness Method requires a woman to observe fertility signs. There are a number of different methods such as tracking the days of your cycle, paying attention to body temperature fluctuations and keeping a very close eye on changes to your cervical mucus. There are several more techniques but they can all be thrown by slight changes to your cycle, a miscalculation, spontaneous lifestyle resulting in non-regular sleeping time or a host of other variables. Definitely not a recommendation for the forgetful, the disorganized or the spontaneous.
Each technique is complex and relies on a deep and intimate knowledge of your own menstrual cycle. The techniques base themselves on the fact that there are specific days during each menstrual cycle, the days before and shortly after ovulation, where you can get pregnant and others where you cannot, which is where the intimate knowledge and the calculations come in. If fertility awareness interests you, it is advised to use a barrier method, e.g. diaphragm, cervical cap or condom, or not have sex on the days you are fertile. If you want to get pregnant, fertility awareness can help you to know which days you should be having sex to become pregnant.
PROS AND CONS
It can be used when breastfeeding
It’s hormone free
If you want to get pregnant, it can help you to know on which days you should have sex
Using it can take practice
It requires keeping track of your menstruation cycle all the time
It requires a very regular lifestyle
It’s open to mistakes
It can interfere with spontaneity
It’s unreliable as it does not take variations in your cycle into account
Does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
LEARN HOW TO TALK ABOUT IT WITH:
Your healthcare provider knows the subject better than anyone; get the right answers for you
They know you better than anyone, and they’ve been through it too
You’re in this together, and not just in the bedroom, be honest
Yes. However the couples must be highly motivated, well-trained in their method, and committed to avoiding unprotected sex during the fertile time.
Are fertility awareness methods reliable?
For many couples, these methods provide reliable information about the fertile days. If the couple avoids vaginal sex, or uses condoms, a cervical cap or diaphragm during the woman's fertile time, fertility awareness methods can be effective. Using withdrawal or spermicides during the fertile time is less effective and not recommended.
How many days of abstinence or use of another method might be required for each of the fertility awareness methods?
The number of days varies based on the woman's cycle length. The average number of days a woman would be considered fertile and would need to abstain or use another method varies between 12 to 18 days dependent on the fertility awareness tracking methodology. To avoid an unintended pregnancy you must use another contraceptive method, such as condoms, during your fertile days.
How likely is a woman to become pregnant if she has sex during monthly bleeding?
During monthly bleeding the chances of pregnancy are low but not zero. Bleeding itself does not prevent pregnancy, and it does not promote pregnancy, either. In the first several days of monthly bleeding, the chances of pregnancy are lowest. As the days pass, the chances of pregnancy increase, whether or not she is still bleeding. The risk of pregnancy rises until ovulation. The day after ovulation the chances of pregnancy begin to drop steadily. Some fertility awareness methods that depend on cervical secretions advise avoiding unprotected sex during monthly bleeding because cervical secretions cannot be detected during bleeding and there is a small risk of ovulation at this time.