Family planning is an important element of every woman’s health care plan. Choosing if and when you want to get pregnant gives you options — and today, women have more options than ever before when it comes to contraception.
Fertility awareness is a natural method of family planning, and it’s growing in popularity among women of all ages. It relies on you listening to your body to prevent pregnancy or increase your chances of getting pregnant.
At OB/GYN Specialists, Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team provide family planning services for women. We’re here to educate you about your contraception options and help you decide if the fertility awareness method is a good fit for you.
How fertility awareness works
Your menstrual cycle is a monthly hormonal process that prepares your body for pregnancy. It consists of four main phases: your period, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.
A new cycle begins each month, on the first day of your menstrual period. Your period lasts for 2-7 days, and once it’s over, your hormone levels start to rise. During the follicular phase, your uterus thickens to prepare for pregnancy.
Ovulation occurs around day 14. Your ovaries release an egg, and the days around ovulation are considered your most fertile. If the egg is fertilized, it implants in your uterus and you get pregnant. If not, your hormone levels decline during the luteal phase, and you have your next menstrual period.
The fertility awareness method involves paying close attention to your menstrual cycle and identifying your most fertile days each month. If you use this method to avoid pregnancy, you track your fertility and avoid unprotected sex when you’re ovulating.
You can also use the fertility awareness method to increase your chances of getting pregnant. If you want to get pregnant, you can monitor your menstrual cycle and have sex in the days around ovulation.
Things to know about the fertility awareness method
Fertility awareness centers on tracking your menstrual cycle, and there are several different methods you can use to track it. Some of the most popular fertility awareness methods are:
- Observing cervical mucus (Billings Ovulation Method® and Creighton Model)
- Taking your basal body temperature (sympto-thermal method)
- Using ovulation tests (Marquette Model)
Our team can help you learn more about fertility awareness methods. It’s important to educate yourself about the benefits and the risks.
It’s drug- and device-free
Oral contraceptives, skin patches, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are all popular birth control options, but not every woman wants to use hormonal medication. Fertility awareness is a popular option for women who want a more natural method of family planning.
Consistency is key
Like many other methods of contraception, it’s important to practice fertility awareness correctly and consistently if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy. You need to track your menstrual cycles regularly, and take time to familiarize yourself with what’s normal for your body.
Fertility awareness is about 90% effective in preventing pregnancy when it’s used correctly. However, pregnancy can still occur when you use fertility awareness as your only form of contraception.
It doesn’t protect against STDs
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections spread through sexual contact, and anyone can contract one. Using latex condoms every time you have sex is the best way to avoid STDs, so you may consider using condoms even when following the fertility awareness method of contraception.
With the fertility awareness method, you’re in tune with your body and in control of your family’s growth. Find out more about your natural contraception options with an appointment at OB/GYN Specialists. Call our Denton, Texas, office at 940-202-0566 or send us a message online now.