Fertility awareness methods are evidence-based and scientifically sound ways in which a woman (or couple) can learn to become aware of and monitor their reproductive health through learning how to monitor and interpret different naturally occurring biological markers such as cervical mucus, basal body temperature and cervical position. Not only can these markers give an indication of times of fertility, but also abnormalities in these markers can indicate gynaecological problems which can affect fertility and emotional health.
Is it Natural Family Planning (NFP)?
Yes - and so much more! One of the functions of a fertility awareness method is to use knowledge of the fertile times in a woman’s cycle to achieve or avoid pregnancy, so that those times can be used as a means of planning a family naturally. However, a woman can become an advocate for her own gynaecological health by learning how to interpret these biological markers and seeking appropriate diagnosis and treatment from her doctor if necessary.
Modern methods of fertility awareness when used correctly have a >99% effectiveness rate in avoiding pregnancy which is comparable (and in some cases better) than a lot of the artificial methods of contraception available.
The Health Benefits
Not only do fertility awareness methods allow a couple to manage their fertility without the adverse side effects that can arise from the use of hormonal contraception, but also by continuing to have cycles and produce oestrogen and progesterone (produced naturally by the ovary) the woman can continue to experience the benefits of these hormones e.g. bone strengthening, protection against cardiovascular disease and improved mood.
The Relationship Benefits
Couples experience a deeper level of communication when using a fertility awareness method together – if they can talk about cervical mucus, they can talk about anything! Women feel less objectified and more respected and understood especially as spouses can see how her cycle affects her. If a couple are avoiding pregnancy, sexual intimacy takes on a much broader dimension during fertile times as each has to become more creative in finding ways of showing affection to the other.
Are Fertility Awareness Methods effective?
Over the last 40 years, a lot of research and study has been put into developing effective modern fertility awareness methods. Many modern methods when used correctly have a >99% effectiveness rate in avoiding pregnancy which is comparable (and in some cases better) than a lot of the artificial methods of contraception available.