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Fertility Awareness: for both contraception & conception

Ok, ok, here it is. Many of you call me out on not talking about fertility awareness method as one of the main non-hormonal methods of birth control. A main reason for this is that I really don’t have many patients who find this option fits in with their lifestyle Though I do recognize that perhaps the people who seek me out are not often are looking for this. Who knows? 🤷🏻‍♀️ First, a brief explanation. This method involves checking cervical mucus and body temperature (& more) to figure out when you are and have ovulated so you know your fertile days. As a review, you ovulate on one day, usually 14 days prior to a period, and that egg lasts in you for about 24 hours. If you had sex a few days before, or a day after, the sperm can survive about 5 days in you and if any of these time frames overlap, a pregnancy can occur. So if you’re already doing the math, there is one day you ovulate but a few days you may be able to have sex and conceive.. You can then use this fertility awareness information to avoid pregnancy (by using a contraceptive like spermicide, phexxi, or diaphragm) at this time. For those who use the mikvah, you’ll recognize that mikvah timing often matches pretty well around ovulation. So that’s when you’re going to use what I like to call episodic contraception, used specifically for that episode of sex. You’ll likely not need to use it when you’re not in your fertile days. This method is a bit harder to use with irregular cycles that are often seen with PCOS, perimenopause, and nursing. It’s less reliable contraception during those times. You can also use fertility awareness to know the best time to conceive a pregnancy. When you have a recognizable pattern to your cycle, that’s helpful information for both you AND your doctor! The last point I’ll leave you with: It takes commitment and motivation. You need to have the physical awareness. I tend to find in my practice that not everyone can do this. You have to want to, you have to be motivated. It is most definitely possible and do-able. If it fits into your lifestyle. Which, honestly, goes for ANY method of contraception. It’s only going to work if you use it properly!

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