Fertility Awareness or Family Planning is the method of birth control based on the knowledge of when to engage in sexual intercourse during the menstrual cycle without using contraception and still avoid getting pregnant.
It works on planning the intercourses based on a woman’s menstrual cycle and deciding when one is fertile. This helps to have safe sexual intercourse on non-fertile days without using any type of contraception.
The fertility decision is based on signals, such as Body Temperature and Cervical Secretions (Fludis), and is one the most effective method.
Its effectiveness is again, wholly based on how correctly the instructions were followed on fertility.
The fertility signals are also affected by many factors as has been noted, like, Sickness, Stress, and Travelling.
Also Read: Cervical Cap Contraception
How to use the Fertility Awareness Method for Birth Control?
The Aim of Family Planning with Fertility Awareness, in the first place, is to prevent pregnancy without using contraception or to prevent pregnancy by using proper contraception.
There are three ways to do so, and the effectiveness of this method increases when results from all three processes are combined,
- Menstrual Cycle.
- Body Temperature.
1. Menstrual Cycle.
A menstrual cycle is the time interval from the end of the period to the day before the start of the next period. This period can vary depending on many factors from person to person, but an average length of a menstrual cycle is considered to be 28 days.
Halfway through the cycle, there is Ovulation in a woman’s body.
Ovulation means the release of the egg from the Ovary through the fallopian tube, and this happens 10-16 days before the next period starts in the menstrual cycle.
Women are not always fertile through the cycle, and with ovulation, the egg is released from the body, and hence there is no egg left for the sperm to fertilize.
After Ovulation, there is a brief moment when women are not fertile and cannot get pregnant, but it is to be remembered here that sperm can stay active inside the fallopian tube even after 7 days of intercourse, and if the next cycle egg is formed during this period, there are high chances of pregnancy.
Hence, the menstrual cycle should be precisely noted for at least 12 months before this method of contraception is used to avoid pregnancy.
2. Body Temperature.
Body Temperature rises slightly after Ovulation takes place, and this should be noted by taking regular body temperatures at the same time every morning before any intake of food or other substances.
The increase in temperature is small, but a 3-day continuous temperature rise compared to the past 6 six days, confirms that you are no longer fertile.
The use of a digital thermometer is preferred for accurate results.
The cervix is the most important indicator for Fertility Awareness, as the change in fertility is represented by a change in the amount of vaginal discharge from the cervix, and also by the higher and lower position of the cervix at different times.
This can be checked by pushing the middle finger through the vagina up, and one can feel if the vagina or the cervix area is dry or have mucus.
At the start of ovulation, the cervix will become moist, white and sticky starting to produce mucus, and this is also the start of the fertile period.
When the mucus becomes clearer and transparent, this is the period of high fertility.
After this, the mucus will return to become sticky and extremely thick, this indicates that you are no longer fertile, and this happens usually after 3 days of high fertility.
Advantages of the Fertility Awareness Method.
- Observing the body closely can help you detect any abnormalities or possible infections.
- There are no Chemical products involved.
- No side effects.
- Completely Natural.
- Once trained, this method can be extremely useful for life.
Disadvantages of the Fertility Awareness Method.
- It will not protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases, as there are no protections involved to avoid diseases or viruses.
- Highly vulnerable to viruses and diseases.
- Needs high precision of when to involve in sexual intercourse, and abstain at other times.
- Needs consistency to observe the body and the changes in the Menstrual Cycle.
The Fertility Awareness Method for Birth Control is most effective when all three processes are used in combination, and any dependence on a single process can result in failure to avoid pregnancy.
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