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Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a collection of practices that help a woman know which part of the month she is most likely to get pregnant.
If you are want to use Fertility Awareness, please seek additional information from the resources listed at the end.
Since the exact time of ovulation cannot be predicted, we add 2 to 3 days to the beginning and end. A woman’s fertile time (“unsafe days” if she wants to prevent pregnancy) is thus about one-third of her cycle. Pregnancy is prevented by not having sexual intercourse during the unsafe fertile time, or by using a barrier method such as male or female condom, cervical cap, diaphragm or withdrawal during the fertile time. To chart your cervical mucus, observe and record your cervical secretions every day on a calendar or chart. Using a plastic speculum for vaginal and cervical self examination, a woman can learn to see the changes in the os (opening to the cervix) and watch it open as ovulation approaches.
Alternatively, to collect the mucus, wipe yourself front to back with your fingers collecting the secretions from your vaginal opening.
In Calendar Charting a woman charts her menstrual periods and uses the length of her past menstrual cycles to estimate the fertile time. Example: Count the number of days between Day 1 of one period and Day 1 of the next period.
Once you have a record of your cycles, the following table will help you determine your fertile unsafe days.
Keeping Your Chart Up to Date: Each month add the number of days between periods to the chart and re-calculate your predictions of fertile times. When a woman monitors her Basal Body Temperature (BBT) she can see when ovulation happened after it has occurred. Using an easy-to-read thermometer, take your temperature every morning immediately upon waking and before any activity. The main drawback of using the BBT method by itself, is that several factors can influence your BBT, including illness, lack of sleep, alcohol or drug use. Record your temperatures on a chart similar to the one above, along with your cervical fluid and the next technique, cervical observation. To observe the changes in cervical position, wash your hands, insert your middle finger, and feel your cervix for softness, height, opening, and wetness.
To prevent pregnancy, a woman should abstain from intercourse, or use a barrier method of birth control during her fertile days: 5 days before ovulation through 3 days after ovulation, about one-third of her cycle.
The effectiveness of FAM for birth control varies, depending on the dedication and motivation of the woman and her partner, the length of time she has been using it and the regularity of her menstrual cycle. It is helpful to learn these techniques directly from a qualified instructor if you can find one.
New technologies such as calculators, computer programs, saliva tests and urine tests can also help determine fertile time.
Effective if used correctly and consistently, especially for women who have regular menstrual periods. For couples who choose not to abstain during the fertile time, barrier methods at that time offer considerable protection against pregnancy.
Requires considerable commitment, calculation and self-control, both by the woman and her partner. Feeling like it would never come to be, I slowly waddled into the bathroom and somehow negotiated the tall edge of the bathtub in order to take a shower.
The human eye is poised for setting its gaze upon things that are aesthetically pleasing and the mere mention of the word “mucus” could potentially elicit a queasy feeling in one’s gut. But when it comes to matters of ladybusiness, the function of mucus goes beyond that of a microbial defense system.
For instance, cervical mucus becomes thinner around the time of ovulation, providing a more suitable conduit for sperm movement and swimming (presumably toward the egg). During pregnancy, a sustained elevation of a hormone called progesterone causes the mucus-secreting cells in the cervix to produce a much more viscous and elastic mucus, known as the cervical mucus plug.
As a woman nears the end of a pregnancy, the cervix releases the mucus plug as it thins out in preparation for birth.
Last week, I told the story of my two births, including the loss of my mucus plug, at an event called The Story Collider.


Lee DC, Hassan SS, Romero R, Tarca AL, Bhatti G, Gervasi MT, Caruso JA, Stemmer PM, Kim CJ, Hansen LK, Becher N, Uldbjerg N. This site powered by a generous IDEA grant from the National Association of Science Writers. Passing a mucus plug is a sign that your cervix is dilating and that your body is preparing for birth. This internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only.
During your menstrual cycle, the days between the start of your period and day before your next period starts, your body will experience many measurable changes. As you might suspect, charting these temperature fluctuations can give you valuable insight, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant. Of course, charting your BBT operates under the assumption, that throughout most of the month, your body temperature remains at a relatively stable level.
The best way to determine when you’re ovulating is by charting your BBT for several months before trying to have a baby. By downloading and printing our free BBT chart, you will be able to keep track of your basal body temperature and other important factors such as your cervical mucus, cervical position, and other relevant variables. Download our free BBT chart and you will be able to record your basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and cervical position plus other variables which will allow you to pin point the time of your ovulation. As your menstrual cycle progresses cervical mucus will increase in amount and become thinner, cloudy, and slightly stretchy. A woman can learn when ovulation (ovary releasing an egg) is coming by observing her own body and and charting physical changes. To be effective as birth control, it requires her to abstain from intercourse or use a barrier method or withdrawal for birth control during her fertile time, approximately one-third of the month.
However, in calculating the fertile time we use 48 hours in case more than one egg is released. Pregnancy is most likely if intercourse occurs anywhere from 3 days before ovulation until 2-3 days after ovulation. Alternatively, if a woman wants to get pregnant, she can know when is the best time to have intercourse that is most likely to result in a pregnancy. As a woman becomes more familiar with the signs of ovulation and the pattern of her menstrual cycle, Fertility Awareness Method becomes more effective for her. Do not use spermicidal gel, foam, cream or suppositories as they can mask or affect your mucus, making it difficult to identify the changes.
When she knows the shortest and longest cycles over several months, she can use a formula to estimate the fertile time. Within 12 hours of ovulation the BBT rises several tenths of a degree and remains up until the next menstrual period. Keep a chart of your BBT over a period of 8-12 consecutive months to learn the approximate time in your cycle when you usually ovulate. Typically, during and in the first few days after menstruation, the cervix is fairly low and firm like the tip of your nose.
A plastic speculum can be helpful in the beginning while you are getting used to finding and feeling your cervix. These high tech methods may be especially valuable to women who have had trouble getting pregnant. As I stood allowing the hot water to pour down my back, I looked down at the giant watermelon growing from my abdomen and literally began to beg. Produced by specialized cells lining the cervix, which is the neck of the uterus and where the uterus and vagina meet, mucus also plays a role in either facilitating or preventing sperm from traveling beyond the vagina and into the upper reproductive tract.
Furthermore, some components from this so-called “fertile” cervical mucus actually help prolong the life of sperm cells. In non-scientific terms, the mucus plug is like the cork that keeps all of the bubbly baby goodness safe from harmful bacteria. Often, the thinning of the cervix can release some blood into the mucus plug, which is why some describe the loss of the mucus plug as a “bloody show.” However, losing the mucus plug is not necessarily an indication that labor is starting. Protein profiling underscores immunological functions of uterine cervical mucus plug in human pregnancy. She also is the ambigendered partner of a Viking and the mother of three very interesting sons.


I’m bored to tears at work so I decided to check out your blog on my iphone during lunch break.
More specifically, paying close attention to your basal body temperature (BBT) each day can give you a clear indication as to when ovulation has occurred, making it easier to determine the best time to try to become pregnant since the window in which conception can occur is rather short. Of course, if this is true, you can easily determine when you’re ovulating, increasing your chances of becoming pregnant. From a long-term perspective, this will make it much easier to determine when the right time for intercourse is, making it easier to conceive and get pregnant when you’re ready to begin a family. Note the color (yellow, white, clear or cloudy) and consistency (thick, sticky, stretchy) as well as how it feels (dry, wet, sticky, slippery, stretchy). Some practitioners warn that during menstruation and the first dry days after menstruation, you should only have intercourse every other day to ensure you do not miss the first signs of increased secretions. When your temperature stays high for 3 days in a row, the fertile period is over and the safe infertile time begins. When the wet cervical fluid begins to show, the cervix begins to move up, become more soft, wet, and open.
Check your cervix about the same time of day and in the same position (squatting, sitting on the toilet, or with one leg raised). Of 100 women who have no vaginal intercourse during their fertile time, between 2 to 20 will become pregnant during the first year. In general, the mucus serves as a physical barrier against microbial invaders (bacteria, fungi, viruses) and small particulate matter (dust, pollen, allergens of all kinds). Conversely, after the ovulation phase, normal hormonal fluctuations cause cervical mucus to become thicker and more gel-like, acting as a barrier to sperm. It is quite large, often weighing in around 10 g (0.35 oz) and consists mostly of water (>90%) that contains several hundred types of proteins. Activities like sex or an internal cervical examination can cause the mucus plug to dislodge.
For the rest of the evening, I heard people call to me from all over the bar by screaming “MUCUS PLUG!!!” Given the importance of the mucus plug during pregnancy (and mucus in general) combined with its comedic potential, its no wonder that it was a hit.
I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. For women who struggle to become pregnant, this can make it easier to actually conceive because you will be able to determine the precise time of ovulation. However, after charting patterns throughout the course of a many months, you will have a much better idea as to when ovulation frequently occurs, also increasing the likelihood that you will conceive much quicker than if you were just trying to get pregnant without these methods. Fertilization occurs if egg and sperm meet during the next few hours and days right after ovulation.
You can use male or female condoms to keep semen out of the vagina and to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and HIV. You have to come see this!!” He came running in as he was already on edge, given the circumstances. Protective mucus membranes line a multitude of surfaces in our bodies, including the digestive tract, the respiratory pathway, and, of course, the female reproductive cavity. These proteins do many jobs, including immunological gatekeepers, structural maintenance, regulation of fluid balance, and even cholesterol metabolism (cholesterol is an ever important component of healthy fetal development). The most effective way to discover YOUR fertile time is to practice all of the techniques described here.
It explains how to identify, by your fertility charts, whether you’re ovulating, indicating a propensity for thyroid problems, poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, or miscarriage. It tells how to establish and identify unambiguous infertility while breastfeeding, and how to identify when ovulatory cycles are resuming. And perhaps even more important was the fact that I just wanted to finally meet the child I had grown from just a few cells!
Do you want to see it?” As much as he tried to resist looking at something that was potentially grotesque (and it was), instinct overrode logic.



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