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Fertility Awareness Method

The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a type of Natural Family Planning is a great way to practice birth control. However, there are quite a few rules that go into the Fertility Awareness Method that must be learned and practiced in order for it to become an effective method of birth control for the user.

With so many different types of birth control available ranging from hormonal methods like the birth control pill, the patch, IUD, Depo Shot and others like the condom or spermicides, there are tons of ways to prevent unintended pregnancy. However, many of the hormonal birth controls have poor side effects. Condoms and spermicides have higher chances of failure, so there are a lot of negatives to trying these types of birth control. However, many believe these risks and side effects outweigh the possibility of an unintended pregnancy. Bringing a child into this world unplanned and without the resources to care for the child can be frightening for the parents and dangerous for the unborn baby. However, there is another option when it comes to birth control. The Fertility Awareness Method is a completely natural, free and effective way to prevent pregnancy.

What is The Fertility Awareness Method?

FAM is a type of birth control that follows ovulation cycles and a woman's fertility pattern. Women can only get pregnant a few select days out of her monthly menstrual cycle, so FAM works around that fertility time to time sexual intercourse, or to use extra precautions like spermicide or a condom during the fertile time. Because the woman's ovulation dates can vary from month to month, there are several signs that must be monitored to make sure you take those extra precautions. Following the Fertility Awareness Method, women are urged to monitor their fertile signs. The biggest of these being the cervical mucus or cervical fluid. When the fluid appears to be stretchy in substance sort of like an egg white, that is the most fertile type of cervical mucus and it usually appears in woman's cycle while she is experiencing her fertile days.

Keeping track of your fertility also entails keeping track of your basal body temperature. Once you see a rise in your temperature that indicates that your body has ovulated. There are a few rules to follow when tracking your basal body temperature. Using a BBT thermometer you must take your temperature at the same time every day after waking from a sleep that lasts at least three solid hours. This is the best way to get the most accurate reading. The temperature increase must rise above the cover line of your previous temps and must stay risen until your begin your menstrual cycle bleeding. Based on your typical cycle, you can generally estimate when you will ovulate. For the days surrounding and during ovulation it is important to only have sexual intercourse with caution. For those that abstain entirely during those unsafe days, the method is referred to as Natural Family Planning. There are other tools  you can use with FAM like ovulation predictor kits. These strips work like a home pregnancy test, but instead test your Luteinizing Hormone (LH). Once you get a positive OPK strip, this indicates your body might be preparing for ovulation.

Other signs and symptoms for ovulation can be followed as well, but shouldn't be entirely relied upon because they are not always consistent each cycle and may vary from person to person. These signs might include sore or tender breasts, some cramping or light spotting, increased sexual drive and increased cervical mucus. 

There are a few down sides to using FAM. If you are not good at keeping records or are inconsistent in tracking your cycle, the effectiveness of the method goes down and you are placed a higher risk for an unintended pregnancy. FAM also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so if you have multiple sexual partners, this is not a good way to protect yourself.

It is also important to consider taking a NFP or FAM course or class before you begin using this method. Many love it because they dislike the side effects and risks taken when using a hormonal birth control. However, it does take diligence and care when using FAM to avoid pregnancy. There are FAM books available like Taking Charge of Your Fertility, that help the user learn how to properly watch for their signs of fertility and how to prevent pregnancy. FAM is also a great way for women to learn more about their cycles and their most likely times of getting pregnant. This is especially helpful when the time comes for the woman to start actually trying to get pregnant because she knows and understands when the time is more likely for this to occur.

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