Wednesday, December 16, 2009

FAM // non-hormonal birth control

Here is a very personal blog post about FAM [Fertility Awareness Method]. I didn't really want to post this on FB, but I wanted to put it "somewhere" so I could reference people to it. If you don't want to read about fertility, sex or pregnancy, feel free to skip over this post. [/disclaimer] :)

FAM  is a natural form of contraceptive that is 99% effective when used correctly. FAM is NOT the rhythm method. It is very personal, and functions with the understanding that no woman's cycle is exactly the same. FAM consists of two major observations: daily temperature, and daily cervical fluid. By noticing the quality differences in cervical fluid throughout her cycle (sticky to having an egg-white consistency), a woman can tell when she is most fertile. By taking her temperature every morning at a consistent time, having at least 3 hours of sleep, a woman can tell when she has ovulated by observing a significant temperature "jump" in the second half of her cycle, in addition to noting her fertile cervical fluid.

FAM can be used to both avoid and achieve pregnancy. By actively paying attention to her fertile period, a woman can either avoid pregnancy by abstaining from sex or using a barrier method (condoms, spermicide, cervical cap, etc...), or achieve pregnancy by having intercourse on her most fertile days. In addition to avoiding or achieving pregnancy, women can use FAM to learn about their body, and catch any "problems" before many health care providers would be able to, simply by recognizing when something isn't normal for her (instead of the "average" woman). A woman avoiding pregnancy should not have unprotected intercourse using FAM until charting at least 3 cycles. The Fertility Awareness Method is a great method for any couple interested in achieving or avoiding pregnancy without chemicals or other "artificial" means. It is also great for an unmarried woman to learn about how God created her body to work.

Jake and I were led to use a natural "birth control" method after my being on a birth control pill [BCP] for 8 months into our marriage. I was put on a pill after my doctor recommended it for my debilitating cycles. Since I knew of nothing else, I took my doctor's advice and was on the pill for one year previous to marriage and 8 months afterward. Once I finally started doing the research on BCPs, I was shocked and vowed never to take them again. A friend led me to FAM, and I never looked back.

We really enjoy using FAM as our form of "birth control" because:

1. I'm not putting any hormones into my body.
2. It's cheap (basically free, minus the cost of barriers if you are trying to avoid pregnancy)
3. I can tell when I am ovulating each month (so I know that my body is "working"), and I can know in advance when my period is coming.
4. It is completely "reversible" with no side effects (meaning you can go from avoiding pregnancy to trying to conceive easier than if you are on a hormonal birth control pill [HBC], for instance).
5. We are conviction free, after doing much research on HBC, with using this natural method.

I love it because it is easy, natural, and non-invasive.

There is also charting software available to purchase for a one-time low fee. It is much easier [I personally think] than charting on paper. Here's an example of what that looks like below:

(click to enlarge)

To learn more about FAM, check out "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, or visit For a Christian take on FAM, visit, [I'm a moderator on this website] or click on the badge on the side of my blog. Feel free to ask any questions!

1 comment:

NFPworks said...

Laura, good for you for speaking openly about your support for non-contraceptive family planning, or FAM.

Have you found a resolution to your debilitating cycles? I'm sure you've been able to learn more about your cycle through FAM, which will help your health now and in the long run, but have you been able to taking any steps towards identifying the problems themselves? I recommend Marilyn Shannon's "Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition," and perhaps looking into the Creighton Method if it persists. People find FertilityCare ( tremendously helpful for their women's wellness issues.