FERTILITY AWARENESS + BODY LITERACY

What are your options to help

you find Fertility Freedom?

Fertility awareness (FA) is the general term that refers to being aware of your menstrual cycle and understanding how to read your body's biomarkers of fertility – aka to have body literacy. It's a beautiful tool to understanding and living in harmony with your internal landscape whether you want to conceive, prevent pregnancy naturally, or use your cycle as a vital sign of your overall health.

 

A common misconception is that FA, or the fertility awareness method (FAM), is that it's a system in itself to consciously conceive or prevent pregnancy (this was me – I used to think this). When actually, it's an umbrella term for several different methodologies that developed their own set of rules and combinations of what to track and how. When you decide to work with your body in this way, you get to decide which method makes most sense for you, your lifestyle, and your goals.

In this musing I'll briefly share what each biomarker of fertility is and why it's being used + what the different categories and methods under this FA umbrella are.

Disclaimer:

Do not begin relying on any fertility awareness based method without proper guidance from a trained professional. 

The 3 Biomarkers of Fertility

Cervical mucus (CM)

This is the discharge you seen in your underwear or what you may randomly feel excrete when going about your day. There are typically a few dry days post-period, and then once you start seeing CM, you know that your fertile wave has begun. Its job is either to hold onto sperm until an egg is released, or to act as a slippery speedway for sperm to meet egg (the consistency of it will change as you near ovulation). Without CM present, it's impossible to get pregnant.

 

Basal body temperature (BBT)

This is a tool to confirm that you ovulated and that your fertile wave for that cycle is over. An obvious shift to a consistently higher BBT confirms that you ovulated, will dry up your cervical mucus, and you'll be infertile until your next cycle. With ovulation, even if you didn't conceive, your body's innate wisdom will warm up your central energy just in case there's new life to keep warm. If you did conceive, your temp will stay risen, and if you didn't, it will drop again come your next bleed. So cool, right?

 

Cervix position (CP) aka Nature's Gate

Your cervix is a narrow vessel that sits at the base of your uterus. When you're in your fertile wave it is open and serving as a gateway for CM. This is also your body's way of allowing for deeper penetration and more pleasurable sex when you're fertile. Outside of your fertile wave, it is plugged by a gelatinous mucus. During this time you might find sex to be more uncomfortable or that it takes longer to orgasm.

Fertility Awareness Based Methods

CERVICAL MUCUS ONLY'

The Billings and Creighton methods choose just to use the tracking of cervical mucus. They require that every day of your cycle, you observe and record the sensation, appearance, or the absence, of cervical mucus. Unlike other methods, you are not required to record your BBT or cervix position. 

 

Both Billings and Creighton require a high level of attention to detail- the difference between the two is where your attention is directed. Billings does not require touching or finger testing of your cervical mucus, rather the emphasis is put on the sensation at your vulva when wiping plus a keen attention to the sensations that occur throughout your day. Creighton is more in depth as it requires wiping from your perineum + touching and finger testing your cervical mucous to get a strong sense of its color and consistency. Creighton also uses something called NaPro Technology, a science based methodology to maintain and diagnose reproductive issues.

Read more here:

Billings

Creighton

SYMPTO-THERMAL

Sympto-thermal methods utilize multiple fertility markers, compared to the first two that only track cervical mucus. The second main marker carefully observed in this set is basal body temperature and the changes in your cervical positioning. While all sympto-thermal methods consider CM + BBT at the very least, the difference between the methods being two things: 1) the rules they’ve created to determine infertile vs. fertile days + how to confirm ovulation and 2) if their method of tracking CM is standardized, meaning if it uses a strict and detailed protocol for recording and interpreting.

Here are a few examples of sympto-thermal methods:

Justisse

Sympto-Pro

Sensiplan

SYMPTO-HORMONAL

Sympto-hormonal Methods differ by bringing in hormone testing monitors to test your hormone levels, rather than solely relying on interpreting the fertility markers your body presents. Both Marquette and Fertility Education and Medical Management (FEMM) use outside equipment to test your luteinizing hormone (LH). Marquette uses the ClearBlue Easy fertility monitor to mark the start and end of your fertile wave, and FEMM uses an LH strip to pinpoint ovulation.

Read more on each of these here:

Marquette

FEMM

Craving more?

There will be a lot of opportunities coming up to take a deeper dive into FA with me, beginning with a free pre-recorded course for you to watch on your own time +  take your time with. Sign up for the waitlist here to be the first to hear when it's released.