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If you've spent a large part of your ovulating years on birth control (you're not alone), the prospect of getting pregnant might be the first time you've ever really thought about your cycle. To get us up to speed, we turned to Katinka Locascio, women's health expert and founder of Earth + Sky Healing Arts in NYC.
Now pregnant with her second child, Katinka recently invited us into her Long Island City studio for a primer Fertilty Awareness Method and shared a 3-step plan to get us started on the FAM path. To practice FAM, a woman takes her temperature before getting out of bed every morning, and takes note of her cervical fluid changes a few times a day.
Many women don't actually ovulate on day 14, or have regular cycles, so being able to time sex correctly makes a big difference. When a woman comes to me who have been unsuccessfully trying to conceive for several months, her chart can helps us determine what imbalances might be going on so she knows what to work on. Our community is moderated by our moderation team so you won't see spam or offensive messages posted on our forums. My husband and I used the pullout method several times during my ovulation week, even on my ovulation date. If he's previously ejaculated recently (either sex or masturbation) and especialy if he hasn't urinated since, then it's possible some sperm are still hanging around and escape with the pre-cum. It not the "rhythm method." Its not assuming you ovulate on day 14, or have a regular cycle.
She records this info on her chart (either a paper chart or more commonly a fertility charting app).
If you are ovulating, your temperature is lower in the first half of your cycle and your cervical fluid increases.
And women who have charted their cycles over many years can often spot and correct subtle shifts in their fertility well before they become a problem.
Irregular sleep patterns can make it difficult to chart waking temperatures accurately, and postpartum hormones will affect cervical fluid, especially when breastfeeding.Women who do want to start at that time really should seek the guidance of a certified FAM teacher to help learn the method.
Kindara is my favorite charting app by far, and it has a great online resources to help you learn how to chart, you can even reach an expert through the app when questions come up. Then find a teacher or someone to discuss your charts with so you know you understand them before deciding if its right for you as birth control. Each of our message boards is hosted by JustMommies hosts, whose names are listed at the top each board. In this case, ignorance is not bliss -- when it comes to your fertilty, the more you know about your body, the better.
FAM is a way for a woman to know each day whether she's potentially fertile by observing two basic fertility signals: basal body temperature and cervical fluid.
Right before ovulation, there's often a dip in the temperature and a peak in fertile cervical fluid (think eggwhites) that let you know when it's best to plan sex. Then get a basal body thermometer (you can order WINK which syncs with your phone through Kindara or a regular basal body thermometer on amazon). If you are breastfeeding, coming off the pill, have just been pregnant, or are approaching menopause it may take some time for you to be able to chart accurately enough to use the method as birth control, but you can learn a lot about your body in the process and that alone is worth the effort!
She is a Brooklyn mama to Libby and Elsie, and writes about all things pregnancy and new motherhood. Understanding your cycle can be a powerful step towards getting pregnant -- or ensuring you don't. The biggest efficacy risk is the commitment it takes to act in accordance with information your chart gives you. If the temperatures don't, this could mean there's a problem with progesterone or with ovulation. One of the benefits of FAM is that many women find it puts them in touch with their libido, but as nature would have it, you want to have sex most when you are most fertile. So if you want to avoid getting pregnant, you have to be 100% committed to using another form of birth control during that time, or avoiding intercourse and getting creative.
Still for many women, avoiding side effects of other forms of birth control or gaining an understanding of their hormonal health is worth the extra effort and attention it takes to practice FAM effectively.
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