Monday, July 27, 2009

Why I am a FAM girl

FAM - Fertility Awareness Method and NFP - Natural Family Planning Methods

I often use the description of birth control like this. Men are fertile every single day of their lives from the age they hit puberty until the day they die. Women are fertile 12-24 hours of each month. So, to me, the idea that birth control methods that fall completely on the responsibility of the woman seems a bit unrealistic.

Although I do not use all of the ideas in FAM, such as feeling my cervix for softness or hardness, I am aware of my fertile cervical fluid, which is the most important aspect of using FAM as birth control and for pregnancy achievement. What makes this method so great is that you and your spouse can become very aware and knowledgeable of her body and the changes it goes through during her cycle. He can be an active part of helping chart and staying informed on fertile days for pregnancy and "safe" days for prevention. Fertile days, when trying to avoid pregnancy, can be spent SPICE-ing it up. Spiritual - Physical - Iintellectual - Communicative - Emotional

The basics of FAM and NFP are charting your cervical mucous. As I described in my previous post, your "peak day" is the day you are most fertile. This means that you will best be able to conceive on this day. All of us use the restroom several times a day. Each time you use the restroom, you check for cervical mucous. With a tissue, you wipe the area (front to back) before and after using the restroom. Cervical mucous is described as sticky, creamy, or eggwhite. In the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, cervical mucous is described in great detail, so I won't go too much into it in this post. The most important cervical mucous you need to be aware of is the eggwhite mucous that looks very similar to the eggwhites of an egg. It is very stretchy and slippery. Estrogen peaks the day before ovulation and creates the most fertile fluid. Sperm can live in this very fertile cervical mucous for 3-5 days. With the absence of eggwhite mucous, sperm will die within hours.

I know that some people believe that you can get pregnant at any time during the month. This is simply not true. If you diligently chart your cervical fluid, you will know what days you are most fertile and what days you are not fertile for pregnancy. These methods, FAM and NFP, when used properly are very effective (99%) in preventing and achieving pregnancy. I strongly suggest you look into it. This method is totally free. With the exception of buying the book of your choice to read up on the method, you will only be using pencil and paper for charting. Birth control pills, condoms, and other contraceptive methods have an initial or ongoing cost. This can be difficult to manage if you do not have health insurance or the means to keep replenishing your methods.

Charting your cycles can also be effective in determining if you have specific reproductive issues such as endometrieosis, low progesterone, or even cancer. If you are having spotting between periods, spotting during pregnancy, history of miscarriage, missed periods with no pregnancy or more, then charting could be very essential to knowing what to tell your caregivers.

Some more facts:
* Spotting or miscarriage during the 1st trimester of pregnancy could mean an issue with low progesterone.
* When checking for cervical mucous, you use the 3 C's, color, consistency, change, and sensation.
* After birth you are fertile for 56 days if you are breastfeeding.
* "The Pill" does not prevent pregnancy. It keeps the uterine lining so thin to you will miscarry and abort the baby if you do indeed become pregnant while using the pill. You will most likely never know you were even pregnant when you miscarry.
* From fertilization to implantation it takes nine days. Pregnancy tests are designed to detect HCG levels. HCG is produced by implantation. It is recommended to not take a pregnancy test until 16 days following your peak day.


Christina Pond said...

What is this about being fertile 56 days after birth? I have never heard this before!! Do explain!!

Hannah Reasoner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hannah Reasoner said...

I will have a whole post on breastfeeding and FAM very soon!

But, in short, they say that because there have been no known documented pregnancies while exclusively breastfeeding until day 57.