In pursuit of searching for natural alternatives, you've probably heard talk about women who "chart" their cycles, but what does this mean? Sometimes we hear "charting" referenced when a woman writes down her period start dates. I've also heard of a couple who got pregnant accidentally from using a "charting" method as birth control, only to find out they were relying on a a device or phone app that estimated their fertile window (prediction or calculation methods are less effective because they only work if a woman has around a 28 day cycle every time, which is not common). Anytime I hear about "charting," I like to ask more questions to find out that person's definition of the term. All this talk of charting can get rather confusing! To sum it up, charting can mean different things to different people. Just because someone you know is "charting" her cycles, does not necessarily mean that she is using the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) to prevent pregnancy. FAM is a method of fertility charting that is up to 99.6% effective when it is used correctly and is effective for women with irregular cycles as well as for women who have typical cycles! Other forms of natural birth control are less effective, particularly the forms that involve prediction or calculation.
When we use the term “charting” within Red Coral Fertility, we are referring to the daily fertility charting of a woman's 3 signs of fertility: Cervical Fluid, Waking Body Temperature, and the Cervix (this one is optional). When a woman is charting with FAM, she is charting observationally, not statistically. FAM allows a woman to know on a day to day basis if she is fertile or not based on the observations of her fertility signs; whereas, calculation methods are based on statistics of what a woman's body did in past cycles. A woman's body in this day and age doesn't mix well with statistical calculations because there are too many factors with health or the environment that can throw things off randomly. Fertility charting is amazing because it works with the ebbs and flows of having a random cycle every now and then. However, a woman using FAM as her birth control needs to be well informed that there is more to it than just putting temperatures on a chart.
With FAM, charting involves 3 daily aspects of technique, checking, and recording. This sounds sort of clinical at first, but actually charting becomes an easy and simple practice early on! If a woman is new to charting and intends to chart for natural birth control, then I recommend that she:
#1 Take a class with a qualified teacher (like me!)
#2 Chart with FAM for 3 cycles prior to relying on it as her primary birth control
That way she has time and experience to become comfortable and confident as well as time to attend a Follow Up appointment to have her charts assessed and her practice affirmed. Follow Ups are hands down invaluable in one’s practice of charting for birth control.
So what are these three aspects of charting all about?
1. Technique: In my classes, you learn the best technique for how to check your signs of fertility. Just like learning how to drive a car or do cartwheels, something that is unfamiliar at first does not take long to become an automatic practice. My job is to teach you the best technique so that the foundation of your automatic checks is based on accuracy. Even though technique and checking may become automatic, it is still important to carry an overall awareness of one’s body. I recommend touching base with your body to ask questions like “How am I feeling? What am I noticing about my body today?” or saying positive things like “I love you, body!" and “Wow, being female is sacred and phenomenally epic!”
2. Checking: Checking is the routine of taking (or checking) Waking Body Temperature each morning and also doing Cervical Fluid Checks throughout the day while on bathroom breaks. This also includes doing a Cervix Check once per day if a woman chooses, as this one is optional. Cervical Fluid Checks are very quick, simple and straightforward. Learning about Cervical Fluid absolutely rocked my world and I highly recommend all women get to know their Cervical Fluid up close and personal!
3. Recording and Rockin’ the Rules: Recording is when, at the end of each day, you (or your partner), jot down what your checks told you that day. A common misconception about charting is that the practice ends with recording. However, the most important part of charting for natural birth control is to apply the 4 FAM Rules or as I put it, Rockin’ the Rules! This takes just a minute. In fact, after learning how to chart, the daily commitment of fertility charting boils down to just a few minutes each day which is only as long as it takes to brush your teeth!
Thanks to a woman's fabulous technique (that she learns from taking a FAM class) plus her routine of daily checking, then at the end of each day she is able to answer the question: “Am I fertile today?” Yes or no? After taking a FAM Workshop, a woman will not only be able to answer that question each night, but also know which one of the FAM Rules to follow for that night. Application of the 4 FAM Rules throughout the cycle is the reason FAM is up to 99.6% effective for preventing pregnancy. Ergot, we’ve got to rock those rules to get the results.
That’s the gist of what charting means. If you want to learn more you can schedule a FREE 15 minute phone call to discuss your questions that you have as you are deciding if you want to take a FAM Workshop. Click here to schedule a FREE chat today!
Remember to tell yourself regularly that you’re a phenomenally epic female!!