I’ve told you how to try to get pregnant naturally but what if you’re wanting to avoid pregnancy?
Here’s your girlfriend’s guide to natural birth control.
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Why Should I Try Natural Birth Control?
In a nutshell, you’d want to do natural birth control to:
- avoid using hormonal birth control
- be in tune with your body
- save money on contraceptives
If you’d like to read more reasons why you’d want to switch to natural birth control, read this thorough post by Wellness Mama.
Our Natural Birth Control Journey
When we first got married, we wanted to wait a few years before having children so I made sure I knew what I was doing for birth control.
After researching, I decided to go with a copper IUD (a non-hormonal birth control method). Long story short, that ended up being a terrible decision for me. My body did not like the copper IUD! I had intense cramping and floodlike bleeding for a full 2 weeks before I got it removed. Then, I didn’t have a period for 70-something days because my body was so out of whack.
I’ve been so thankful to have found the fertility awareness method (FAM). It has become second nature to track my cycles and avoid pregnancy in a natural way. We also used FAM to achieve pregnancy (or at least, increase our chances to conceive #unexplainedinfertility).
My #1 Natural Birth Control Method: The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)
First things first, the main difference between fertility awareness method (FAM) and Natural Family Planning (NFP) is what you chose to do during your fertile window. FAM allows for barrier methods of contraceptives (condoms, sponge, diaphragm) during the fertile window while NFP calls for abstinence during the fertile period. Today, we’ll be talking about FAM.
What is the fertility awareness method?
The fertility awareness method is a sympto-thermal method which means that you’ll be tracking 3 main things each month to follow your fertility cycle:
- Basal body temperature. This is your body’s temperature right when you wake up before you go to the bathroom, say good morning to your man, or move around.
- Your cervical fluid or cervical mucus. You’ll notice how it changes throughout your entire cycle.
- Cervical position. You can (optional but improves accuracy) track your cervical position throughout the month.
“The method is based on this premise:
That estrogen, which is dominant in the first half of your cycle (the follicular phase), keeps your basal temperature low and increases your cervical fluid production. And that progesterone, which is dominant in the second half of your cycle (the luteal phase) raises your basal temperature and decreases your cervical fluid production.
There’s more to it than this, but that is basically what happens.”Nicole Jardim, fertility guru and author of Fix Your Period
How to Get Started with the Fertility Awareness Method
- Read Taking Charge of Your Fertility (or at least skim it). This book will tell you everything you need to know to effectively prevent pregnancy (or to conceive) with fertility awareness method. I think every woman should read this book just because of how much you’ll learn about your body.
- Join the Fertility Awareness Method of Birth Control Facebook group. This group is worth its weight in gold. There is helpful information out the wazoo AND there are real people to talk to and ask questions.
- Download the Kindara app. I know there are tons and tons of apps out there now for tracking your cycle but I will always love Kindara. It’s a simple app but offers many different personalized tracking options. I’m also a huge fan of their community forum where you can ask questions after sharing your chart.
Then, start tracking on day 1 of your cycle (which is the first day of your period)
- After your period ends, begin taking note of your cervical fluid or cervical mucus daily. You can start by checking in your underwear; is there anything there? What does it look and feel like? When/if you feel ready, you can try checking cervical mucus internally via the directions in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.
- Start taking your basal body temperature (BBT) every morning. Take your temperature (with an official BBT thermometer) as soon as you wake up before getting out of bed or doing anything else to get an accurate reading. You can take your temperature after at least 3 consecutive hours of sleep.
- There may be some of you reading that taking a daily temperature is either not possible or not preferable. I didn’t mind taking my temperature but once I had my daughter, I couldn’t. Either I couldn’t get an accurate reading because I hadn’t gotten 3 hours consecutive sleep or I had to get her right when I woke up without taking the time to get my temp. I ended up finding Tempdrop and LOVING it.
- “Tempdrop is a smart, wearable thermometer that accurately derives a core nightly sleeping body temperature for the purposes of charting your cycle to achieving pregnancy, contraception, or fertility health tracking.” -tempdrop.com
- You can get 10% off by using this link to purchase.
- When you reach your fertile window, which will be indicated by a temperature spike and fertile cervical mucus, you can use barrier methods of contraceptives.
And, there you have it. A VERY brief overview of how to get started with FAM. Please, use the above resources to understand this method more before you jump in.
4 Things You Need to Get Started with FAM Method
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
- Facebook group: Fertility Awareness Method of Birth Control
- Kindara app
- Tempdrop wearable BBT thermometer (which would be an upgrade to a basic basal body thermometer which can be found at Walmart)
- Condoms or Natural sea sponge (I haven’t personally used a sea sponge but have had friends try to convince me to try.)