Natural Fertility Awareness – Tools for Tracking

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I was hanging out with some girlfriends the other night, and we were discussing our methods of contraception. I take the crazy pill (i.e. birth control pill), Jen has Implanon in her arm, Carson uses condoms, and Natalie relies on the rhythm method. Seriously.

She was previously taking the pill, but switched methods because the change of hormones was affecting her libido. And if you’re not interested in getting it on, there’s no reason to be on the crazy pill anyhow.

Natalie refers to this method of contraception as Natural Fertility Awareness, but informed me that it is also known, as Natural Family Planning. If you use several Natural Fertility Awareness methods to predict ovulation, it’s referred to as the Symptothermal Method.

Natural Fertility Awareness – Risks and Routines

I’m interested in Natural Fertility Awareness because I want to veer away from the pill – I’d rather not bombard my body with additional hormones on a daily basis. Natural Fertility Awareness, however, sounds like the method they taught at my Catholic high school: Track your basal body temperature, monitor the viscosity of your cervical mucus, and pray.

I never felt comfortable with Natural Family Planning because the risk of becoming pregnant is high: The Mayo Clinic estimates that 13 to 25 out of every 100 women become pregnant using the rhythm method. If the Virgin Mary could become pregnant without intercourse, I have no doubt that Natural Family Planning is a risky undertaking.

Natalie informed me that tracking ovulation also takes time and effort. Not only must you monitor your temperature and cervical mucus daily, but you need to track your menstrual cycle and determine which days you are likely to ovulate as well. This data is then used to calculate the best time to have sex, depending on whether or not you want to start a family.

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Elena Perez

Elena Perez obtained a B.A. in American Literature at UCLA, but a growing interest in environmental issues led her to enroll in science classes and gain lab experience at UCSD and SIO. The close link between our ocean’s health and our own well-being has spurred Elena to explore the role environmental toxins play in our growth and development.

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