If you have been following me for a while you have probably asked yourself, “What is the Fertility Awareness Method?” The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a modern, evidence-based method of charting one’s menstrual cycle through observable biomarkers (hormone-controlled signs that let you know when you’re in the fertile window).
Through observing and charting we can learn so much about our hormones, overall health, and when we are naturally fertile (or not).
With the body’s wisdom, we are equipped and empowered by an understanding of our own rhythm and can better align our life’s flow with our internal cycle for greater fulfillment. In addition, the Fertility Awareness Method can be used as a natural family planning tool to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.
In this Ultimate Fertility Awareness Method guide, my goal is to explain in the most simplified way what is the fertility awareness method and to give you the tools and resources to get started on your own discovering your sacred flow journey.
What is the Fertility Awareness Method?
The Fertility Awareness Method can be described as a method for becoming aware of natural menstrual cycle signs to know when you’re approaching ovulation and when ovulation likely occurred. This method is a natural family planning strategy that women can use to help prevent pregnancy or optimize their chance of getting pregnant. It involves tracking and charting different biomarkers to establish your natural patterns and window of fertility.
FAM also helps women to develop a better awareness of their body and their hormonal changes through daily womb connections.
Tracking your cycle will include charting daily cervical fluids, taking your Morning Basal Body Temperature (BBT), and conducting LH testing (this test monitors estrogen levels and shows us when ovulation is likely to occur).
As you begin tracking these items each day, you will become aware of patterns and start to learn what to expect. You will learn to identify your Point of Change (POC), which is a term to describe the time in which your fertile window begins. On average the fertile window for women is 5-7 days.
There are three main methods involved in FAM, all of which were taught during my FEMM training certification.
The Temperature Method
This method involves taking your basal temperature right after waking, before getting out of bed. It can then be recorded on paper or in an app for easy tracking.
The Cervical Mucus Method
This method consists of checking cervical mucus (external vaginal discharge) and recording it as you did your basal temperature.
The Calendar Method
Finally, the third method involves charting your menstrual cycle in its entirety, either on paper or in an app.
Numerous studies have been conducted, and the overwhelming consensus is that the most effective way to implement FAM into your lifestyle is to use all three methods simultaneously. When used together, they’re called the sympto-thermal method.
Now, let’s look at FAM more in-depth and discuss how these methods work at a high level.
How does Fertility Awareness Method work?
The Hormones at Play
4 Hormones are at play in this beautiful hormonal choreography:
- Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
- Estrogen (E)
- Progesterone (P)
The Impact of Hormones on the Body (Biomarkers)
How hormones impact your physiology is a very in-depth topic. For the purposes of charting your cycle, it is important to know that hormones play a role in healthy ovulatory cycles. Though we call our phases menstrual “cycles,” and every day is a certain part of the cycle, ovulation is really the main event. Without ovulation, there is no true menstruation.
Ovulation requires certain hormones to reach certain levels in order for the follicle to release the eggs. This graph illustrates how hormones are at play during a typical, healthy cycle.
Hormonal health is very important, both for your long-term health and for your fertility goals. Tracking and charting your cycles is a great way to be proactive in regard to your overall health. A woman who charts knows what is normal for her and her body. Detecting the smallest change allows her to seek support faster than most other women.
If you suspect that your hormones are irregular, consider working with a professional to balance them out.
Signs & Tips to Recognize the Point of Change (Fertility Signs)
When getting started with charting, it is important to first recognize your point of change (POC). The point of change is the change from dry to a moist sensation, and this change indicates that your estrogen levels are rising. This will help you identify the opening of your fertility window.
The yellow arrow in this chart illustrates the point of change on a textbook chart.
Advantages of the Fertility Awareness Method
The Fertility Awareness Method comes with countless benefits, but I want to highlight three main things that clients and I have experienced.
Non-Hormonal Natural Family Planning Solution
One of the advantages of Fertility Awareness Method is that it is one of the only effective, all-natural birth control methods out there. It has been used for decades now, and a lot of research has been done to learn more about the method and its science.
An Empowering Understanding of Your Body
FAM offers a much closer look at our bodies than most women experience. With it, we learn the ins and outs of our cycles, and we are able to understand so deeply what each phase means for our bodies and our emotions. This can feel so empowering, especially in the sense that it allows women to feel “in charge” of their fertility. With FAM, you know what to expect and when to expect it.
Deeper Connection with Yourself and Your Body
Finally, FAM allows you to have a deeper connection with your body. It provides wisdom and insight and is a daily connection to your feminine self and the cyclical nature that goes past hormonal health. There is a spiritual component to the practice and it is one of my favorite aspects of the method.
Effectiveness of the Fertility Awareness Method
How effective is Fertility Awareness Method?
When clients first begin chatting with me, one of their first questions is in regard to the effectiveness of Fertility Awareness Method. The answer is not as straightforward as we would like. FAM requires a certain level of discipline, awareness of one’s body, and level of maturity to really understand the nuances. This is especially so when using FAM as birth control.
What is the best Fertility Awareness Method?
The best Fertility Awareness Method is the one that you chart. Meaning, the one that you are taking time each day to track. It’s a daily commitment, and you are the one responsible for observing, identifying, and interpreting the biomarkers and signs of your body.
The FAM method that I use and teach with my FEMM certification holds **% efficacy. One thing to remember is that understanding and interpreting your body and your hormonal changes is a process that needs to be treated as a new relationship — it requires time and patience.
How to get started with the Fertility Awareness Method
Now that you have an understanding of FAM, it’s time to equip yourself with the tools and resources necessary to succeed in discovering your sacred flow.
- Print this paper chart and download the FEMM app.
- Set a daily timer or reminder on your phone (preferably at night) to review your information and connect with your womb.
- Consider diving into a book on the topic such as “Taking Charge of Your Fertility.”
- Finally, set reminders on your phone, cultivate a beginner’s mind, and have fun with it!
FAM is precious knowledge, and I believe that every woman should be equipped with it and the power that it holds. I hope this blog has taught you a bit about FAM and how you can implement it into your life to be more connected with your body and your cycles on a daily basis!
If you are ready to dive headfirst into making FAM a practice in your daily life, I encourage you to join my email list.
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