What Is the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) and Why Use It?

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What Is the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) and Why Use It?

FAM is NOT  the rhythm method our grandmothers used! The rhythm method predicts when a woman will ovulate and therefore is ineffective. However with FAM, you observe and chart 2 primary signs of fertility which allow you to determine on a day to day basis if you are fertile or not.  When your fertile wave begins, you can choose as a couple whether to abstain from intercourse or to use a barrier method to prevent pregnancy.* The fertile wave lasts from 7-12 days generally. That leaves over half of your cycle open for barrier free intercourse without risk of getting pregnant! 

 

FAM is a highly accurate and effective method of natural birth control when the 4 FAM rules are charted and followed in each cycle. FAM is over 99% effective when used correctly, meaning it is as effective as oral contraceptives.  FAM is based on the observation and charting of scientifically proven fertility signs that determine whether or not a woman is fertile (capable of getting pregnant) on any given day. 

 

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Oh, but there's so much more! 

 

 

When you take a FAM workshop, you're not just learning a natural birth control method, you're also learning information that has empowered women and couples around the world! Fertility awareness education teaches what is normal down there and how to tune into any problematic changes with hormonal and gynecological health.   Having gained that education and  awareness about yourself, you can take back control of your health!

How is that possible? Well, if you are charting then you are paying attention to your body on a regular basis. You can know sooner, rather than later, if things are happening that are not normal for you. Depending on the type of issue, you'll know whether to seek health advice immediately due to abnormal symptoms or you'll know if your body is just asking for some more TLC in your next cycle.  

Reclaim Healthy Cycles Using Fertility Awareness

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Get Back to Your Healthy, Natural Cycles!

Do you have irregular cycles? Do you feel like you are not yourself? Low energy? Loss of personality? Weight gain? No sex drive? Hair loss? Is it your norm to experience stress, anxiety, or depression about everyday things throughout your entire cycle? Each of these (and more) are a sign of hormonal imbalance. Healing your hormonal balance can bring you back to your vibrant self! 

Have you been prescribed a form of the Pill (this term includes all hormonal devices such as the ring, implant, shot, patch, IUD, etc.) to treat irregular cycles or acne?

It is common for doctors to prescribe a birth control pill for females who have irregular cycles/hormones. This is done under the notion that because artificial hormones are strong, then they should be used as the treatment for hormonal imbalances. The downside to this treatment is that many women on the Pill report an array of miserable side effects. It's worth noting that the Pill works to treat the symptom and not the underlying cause. Therefore, generally, when women in those circumstances go off the Pill then they are back at square one.

In fact, almost 50% of women discontinue use oral contraception pills after the first year of use due to side effects. The most common side effects are:

  • depression
  • worsening of PMS
  • low or vanished sex drive
  • migraines/increased headaches
  • severe mood swings 
  • weight gain
  • hair loss
  • loss of appetite
  • sore breasts (regularly)

Furthermore, studies have connected the artificial hormones used in hormonal birth control to long-term health issues and large increase in risk for diseases such as:

  • blood clots
  • strokes
  • heart disease
  • infertility
  • severe nutrient depletion
  • glaucoma
  • liver cancer
  • breast cancer
  • cervical cancer

Most of the alternative realm of health care approaches the imbalance of a female's hormones in a more holistic way. Instead of pumping artificial hormones into the body to treat the symptoms of irregular cycles, natural health care practitioners look at the whole person and seek the underlying cause for irregular cycles. That way, a woman can begin taking steps to naturally rejuvenate her hormones and maintain healthy cycles, periods, and fertility!

Learning to chart the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a perfect first step for a woman to take back control of her health. A woman who is observing and recording her signs of fertility (such as cervical fluid patterns and waking body temperature) will be able to determine when something occurs that is not normal for her.  Sometimes, even a women who feels like she is living a healthy life may see patterns in her charting that are outside the variations of normal. Hormones get knocked out of balance for many reasons including (but not limited to): using or coming off of artificial birth control, environmental factors, emotional and physical stress, exposure to endocrine disruptors, and lack of nutrients in the body. Fortunately, there are lifestyle changes women can make to naturally bring their hormones back to balance.

If a woman becomes aware that she is dealing with symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, then she can consult with her FAM teacher. I work with women through the first steps of achieving hormonal balance through lifestyle and nutrition. Many women find making these types of changes is enough to rejuvenate their cycles and begin feeling like their healthy, happy, natural selves again!

Find out how to sign up for a workshop today us at this link.

Does Your Birth Control Have This Many Benefits?

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The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a non-hormonal form of birth control that is over 99% effective when used correctly and 100% natural. You can read more about that in one of my previous posts called: What FAM Is and Why Use It 

Like all contraceptives, FAM has pros and cons. Let's take a look at those in the table below and after that check out the list of all the benefits to using FAM as your birth control method. 

As the table shows, there are several wonderful pros to using FAM; however, it may not be for everyone. Let's look at some more aspects of FAM to further explore if FAM is a good fit for you.

You may benefit from FAM if you are…

1. A woman who suffers from side-effects when using hormonal birth control (this includes all birth control that uses artificial hormones to prevent pregnancy from the pill to the patch, ring, shot, implant, and hormonal IUD).

2. A woman who wants to take back control of her health and reclaim her natural vibrancy. 

3. A woman who dislikes taking medicine because she is more inclined to natural lifestyle.

4. A woman whose long-term partner wants to share responsibility and communication of birth control.

5. A woman with interest and time to put toward the initial learning process.

6. A woman who wants a no cost birth control (beyond initial learning fee, FAM is cost free).

 

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Beyond the Pros, FAM is loaded with women-centered benefits!

As women, we are fortunate to have body signals that are continually changing and indicating the times of our fertility. By observing these signs, listening to our bodies and charting the information, we can know on any given day if we are fertile or infertile. The following is a short list of the benefits to using FAM and are what I perceive as icing on the cake!

  • Like the table lists above, after the initial cost of a FAM workshop, a basic thermometer, and the cost to print charts, FAM is a NO COST natural birth control. Women can spend up to $1,689.87 per year on prescription birth control. Check what you spend here.
  •  FAM empowers women with confidence and knowledge as they fully learn and appreciate the natural ebbs and flows of their cycles.
  • Charting daily allows women to keep an eye on their gynecological health and stay alert to potential issues such as irregular bleeding, abnormal pain, vaginal infections, cervical anomalies, and PMS. Staying in tune with one's body allows a woman to know when she needs to seek treatment or if her hormones just needs some TLC in the next cycle.
  • For a couple trying to conceive, charting cervical fluid is a cheap way and easy way to optimize chances of conception. 
  • Charting fertility signs will indicate if a hormonal imbalance exists or how to identify if one has surfaced. A woman can go to her health practitioner with evidence of an imbalance and request care. It is important to engage with reproductive health at an early age so that if a woman is desires to conceive later on in life she is less likely to be delayed from blocks to fertility. 
  • Charting can be used to determine if a woman is pregnant (sooner than some pregnancy tests). 
  • FAM can be used to identify female infertility concerns such as: anovulation, late ovulation, short Luteal Phase, infertile cervical fluid, hormonal imbalance, insufficient progesterone levels, and miscarriage. If a fertility issue is due to a woman's hormonal imbalance, there are things she can do naturally to influence hormonal harmony once again. For more info on trying to conceive click here.

Still not sure if FAM is right for you? Let's have a FREE chat!  We can talk on the phone or via video chat to further discuss your questions, concerns, and comments. Contact me here to sign up for a free chat today!

 

*Use of a barrier method during the fertile wave means that you are using that barrier method (i.e. condom, diaphragm) to prevent pregnancy and are therefore depending upon the effectiveness of that barrier, not the effectiveness of FAM.  

What Charting as a Form of Birth Control Actually Means

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 techniquechecking, 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!!