A Survey of Fertility Awareness Methods
At the Guiding Star Project, we believe real healthcare empowers women with the knowledge of their fertility. Fertility should be respected and understood, not treated as an illness. But too often, women are simply given contraception with no invitation to learn about the way their bodies function and no opportunity to even begin to learn about charting their menstrual cycle.
Our mission is to change that! We want to equip women with the understanding that they deserve to understand how their bodies work and have the root causes of reproductive issues treated, not simply covered with a band-aid approach.
So if learning to chart your cycle is one of your New Years’ Resolutions, or if you’re already charting but are curious to try a different method, read on!
Why chart your cycle?
We often talk about the many negative side effects of hormonal contraception: acne, depression, weight gain, low libido, and more. And this is not to mention that certain types of birth control have been classified as Class 1 Carcinogens by the WHO, and fail to treat any health issue.
Cycle charting or “fertility awareness” on the other hand, does not mask symptoms. It gives you the information you need to not only make decisions for family planning jointly with your spouse, but also gives you clear insight into your reproductive health so root causes can be effectively treated. Couples can use fertility awareness to try to conceive, but also to try to effectively avoid a pregnancy without harmful chemicals. Either way, it involves both husband and wife in the family planning process.
Fertility Awareness is Rooted in Science
It is important to point out that fertility awareness is deeply rooted in science! It is driven by a scientific understanding of a woman’s fertility. It is NOT the “calendar” or “rhythm” method. There is no counting of days and no guesswork. These methods are rooted in extensive study of fertility and reproductive biomarkers that you can learn on your own (in some cases) or with an instructor.
Here is an overview of a few fertility awareness methods…
Cervical Mucus Methods:
In this method, women make daily observations of their cervical mucus. Changes in mucus patterns help to determine the fertile and infertile periods of the cycle. Charting can be used as a diagnostic tool. A trained instructor in concert with a trained doctor can determine if health problems exist in part because a woman’s chart will often indicate if there is a problem like low progesterone, PMS, as well as endometriosis, infertility, or polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Methods include the Creighton Model, Billings Ovulation Model, and Family of America’s Foundation Method.
Sympto-Thermal methods involve observing multiple symptoms and biomarkers to determine fertile days. Women using this method observe cervical fluid as well as basal body temperature (waking temperature) to determine when ovulation occurs. It may also include observations of changes to the cervix. Body temperature rises after ovulation, so temperature tracking along with cervical fluid observations helps to determine when this occurs.
Sympto-Hormonal Methods involve observing and charting cervical fluid observations, as well as using an electronic fertility monitor to measure reproductive hormones on a daily basis in order to determine fertile and infertile days. There are a number of different fertility monitors on the market that work with this method to give readings of estradiol and luteinizing hormone urinary metabolites when women test their urine on certain days of the month.
Get Empowered in 2021 with Fertility Awareness!
The Guiding Star Project is proud to partner with SymptoPro to offer fertility instruction and online fertility education. You can learn more about this online program here.
There are a number of fertility awareness methods — those listed here aren’t the only ones! It’s a matter of finding the right method that works for you. Different methods work better for different women depending on your body, your lifestylle, and your intentions for using the method. Regardless of what method you choose, charting will empower you with in-depth knowledge about your fertility and reproductive health!
Interested in learning more about Fertility Awareness? Grab our free Fertility Awareness Brochure at this link!