What Is Fertility Awareness?
Fertility awareness is the natural method of determining your most fertile days; using the body system. It is also called Natural Family Planning (NFP). Other methods include – the Sympto-Thermal Method, the Ovulation Method, and the Billings Method.
Natural Family Planning is a method of birth control that does require the use of pills or devices. It comprises of the calendar method, the basal body temperature method, and the cervical mucus method. Natural family planning can serve both as a means of birth control and a means of knowing the right time for pregnancy to occur.
How Does Fertility Awareness Work?
All three methods of fertility awareness are used to determine your most fertile days. As you understand your ovulation and fertile periods, you will know the best time to engage in sexual intercourse, abstain from it, or take a protective measure.
How Do You Use Fertility Awareness?
The first step is to familiarise yourself with your monthly cycle and constantly chart your fertility pattern. An average circle is between 28 and 32 days.
-Here is an example of an average cycle.
Day 1: The first day of your flow begins your new cycle.
Day 7: From day seven of your cycle, your egg has started preparing to get fertilized by the sperm.
Days 11-21: (based on a 28-day cycle) Your ovulation kicks off. This is caused by hormones in your body which causes the eggs to release from the ovary. The egg then journeys down through the fallopian tube towards the uterus. When at this window, fertilization can only take place within 12 to 24 hours. If the egg gets fertilized by the sperm, the egg attaches its self to the lining of the uterus and begin to develop. If no sperm fertilizes it, it breaks apart.
Day 28: Hormone level drops on the 28th day if the egg is not fertilized. causing the lining of the uterus to be shed, Then, menstruation begins.
Note that the early part of the cycle; which is before ovulation varies from one woman to the other and changes on a monthly basis. Thus, the typical number of days before ovulation is from 13 to 20 days. The latter half of the cycle is about 12 to 16 days and are usually similar in every woman. They are the days that count from ovulation day to the next period.
Natural Birth Control
Getting familiar with your cycle helps you track your most fertile days. In this article, we have given you some tips on how to identify your ovulation using the calendar.
1: Track your menstrual cycle for 8 to 12 months.
2: Your day 1 is usually the first day you start mensuration.
3: Isolate the longest and shortest of the cycles from your monthly tracking.
4: To determine the first day of your fertility window, subtract 18 days from your shortest cycle. For example, if 28 days was your shortest mensural cycle, subtract 18 from 28. From this, you can determine your first day of ovulation starts on the 10th day of your cycle.
5: To determine your last fertile day, subtract 11 from your longest cycle. Take for instance; If your longest cycle was 31 days, subtract 11 from 31 which gives you 20. This means that the last day of your fertility period is on the 20th day of your cycle.
The period in between the above calculation is your fertility window. Thus, your window opens on the 10th day of your cycle and closes on the 20th day of your cycle. You can not get pregnant anytime within this period because ovulation takes place within 12-24 hour time. Pregnancy can occur only one day within your open window.
If you want to get pregnant, this fertility window will be the best time for sexual intercourse. But if you are avoiding pregnancy, it will be best you abstain from sexual intercourse within this period or take protective measures.
Know that the above methods – the calendar and tracking of the past cycle method were used to guide you. Mensural cycle and ovulation are not stable. Therefore, they vary on a monthly bases. However, with a proper understanding of the guide, you will be almost accurate of the day your ovulation starts.
The Basal body temperature method:
This change occurs immediately after ovulation and lingers to your next period. If you observe closely your chart from the past cycle, your body temperatures can reveal your ovulation pattern. Below are a few steps that can guide you on how to track your ovulation using your temperature.
1: Take a record of your temperature each morning before you leave the bed.
2: Get a basal thermometer. It is best for small temperature changes.
Your body temperatures are expected to rise between 0.4 and 1 degree Fahrenheit if you are ovulating.
3: Keep records of your temperature every day on your fertility tracking calendar.
With the daily record of your temperature, you will notice a stable temperature before ovulation. As ovulation gets closer, there’s going to be a slight decline in temperature. But immediately after ovulation, you will experience a sharp increase in temperature indicating that ovulation has just taken place.
Using this method can be a little tricky because the rise in temperature only occurs after ovulation. It is better used if you have all the time to study and track your chart at least for two months. Again many activities can affect your temperature such as – illness, alcohol, lack of sleep, travel and drug use. When this happens, it will be difficult to get an accurate reading. Thus it is advised you relax your body in sleep at least for three hours before checking your temperature.
Cervical mucus method:
The mucus can be used also. In the mensural cycle, the mucus is not usually present. In fact, after the 5th day of the flow, it is expected you have about 2 to 3 dry days. However, the wetness keeps increasing on a daily basis not lasting longer than 9 days until your wettest day.
At this point, be on the lookout for a slippery, stretchy, transparent and something that takes the look of an egg white. Without the presence of an egg white, it might be difficult for pregnancy to occur. Expect your ovulation within 1to 2 days of your stretchy mucus.
To use the cervical mucus method effectively, take note of the following steps.
1: Collect the sample of the mucus from the vagina using your fingers by wiping them from front to back.
2: Keep your daily record in your fertility calendar. Take note of the color change. (yellow, white, clear, or cloudy), the consistency (thick, sticky, or stretchy) and the feel (dry, sticky, lotion, wet, slippery, or stretchy) respectively.
3: Your expected 12 -24 hours occurs within 1-2 days when your mucus is clearest, slippery, and most stretchy, which might be the peak day itself.
4: Avoid the use of spermicide when you are tracking your ovulation. Using this might expose you to infection as well as alter your results.
Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice.
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