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  • Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

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    Old 09-03-2004, 06:18 PM   #1
    LouiseLaws
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    Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    Does anyone else here use fertility awareness method as birth control method?

    I have been using hormonal birth control since 16 to prevent pregnancy and reduce my menstrual flow, I was on Microgynon 30 for a few years until I started getting extreme breast pains, I've been on a few different kinds, Iím currently 21 years old and on Yasmin. Other than the sore breasts and a problem with mood swings/depression on Celeste prior to Yasmin I haven't had much of an issue with my birth control - with that said however I really dislike the idea of hormonal birth control, messing with my hormones doesn't seem that great an idea and I'd like to get to know my natural cycle.
    IUD's aren't an option because they are too high risk, herbal methods arenít much different from hormonal methods, condoms are no good for my partner, and I donít want to use a diaphragm as my primary birth control method.
    So Iíve been considering using FAM because as well as being low risk, natural and reliable it means I have the chance to learn more about my body, I plan to use a diaphragm as a secondary birth control method for my fertile days and until I get used to the new birth control method.

    A few questions for those who have used FAM, either as birth control, or even to get pregnant;

    Firstly of course is the question of how hard it is, has it worked well for you, is it worth the effort?

    I understand Iíd be looking at around 6 months to get used to using this method, longer due to body changes when I come off hormonal birth control, is it harder to learn FAM if my body is out of sync to begin with or do the months coming off hormonal methods give you time to get used to tracking?

    Iíve read that my GP can put me in touch with someone who can teach me how to use this method, if this is the case are they likely to send me to the surgery nurse or somewhere else?
    Ė I greatly dislike the nurse at my GPís surgery, as well as very patronising I could have done a better job than her when I was 5 years old, she knows very little about what it is she is doing in terms of womenís sexual health issues.

    Is there any advice you could give me, or tips on where to start?
    - I wonít be able to start for a while yet as I need to get to my GP to get a diaphragm and learn how to do it that wonít be happening for a while due to work, Iím just curious as to what sort of things Iíd need to be looking at for research into tracking methods.

     
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    Old 09-03-2004, 06:39 PM   #2
    bordrgrl
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    Thumbs up Re: Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    I've used fam a whopping one time, the only time I had sex But it will be my method of choice in the future. I'm very comfortable with it. I trust it completely.
    I'll try to answer your questions.
    It isn't hard at all. My first month charting I felt completely lost. This may have been caused by discontinuing the pill. But the second month everything sunk in and all my fertility signs were very clear. The only thing I'm too squeamish to do is check cervical position. It is completely worth the effort for me. It takes 2 minutes to take my temp in the morning, and a couple seconds every time I go to the bathroom to check cm. It becomes second nature.
    It won't be harder to learn FAM coming off the pill as long as you accept the fact that your temps and cm could be wacky. Consider it a time to get in the habit if the charting isn't making sense at first. And after all you might have a perfectly normal cycle.
    I'm guessing your GP will be referring you to an organization that teaches it. If the religious perspective doesn't bother you, you can find doctors who teach it at [ removed ]
    To start, I'd talk to your doctor and see who you can be referred to. And also get a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It is an amazing resource. [ removed ] They have a charting program, or you can chart on paper. Again, sorry if this is offensive, but I know about all this mainly from the Catholic viewpoint... most Catholic dioscese will have charts you can ******** online for free. I know the archdioscese of Detroit does.
    For myself, I am only comfortable abstaining during my fertile time. You have to consider that the effectiveness of using FAM plus a diaphragm during your fertile time will really just be the effectiveness of a diaphragm. A lot of women on [ removed ] use diaphragms or spermicide as their only form of protection during their fertile times, so it is definitely an option. It at least allows you to have unprotected sex part of the time. But it isn't the safest option if you absolutely do not want to get pregnant. Just something to think about
    Let me know if you have any other questions

    Last edited by Modinatrix21; 09-03-2004 at 08:16 PM. Reason: No mentioning of websites either through links or names.

     
    Old 09-05-2004, 05:05 AM   #3
    LouiseLaws
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    Re: Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    Got a coppy of taking charge of your fertility yesterday, I've got a load of sites on the subject, although without a printer I can't print them out to read so they are going to be more referance material than my main reading. I've also got a site where I can ******** charts, hopefuly I'll have a working printer again by the time I need them.
    I don't think I'll have too much problem in terms of monitoring the mucus or looking at the cervix, I used to keep a vagina diary to see whether I could pin point causes of excessive discharge so I'm used to taking note of that sort of thing.
    I'm still a little concerned about switching from pill to fam, I suppose it gives me some practice, it's just the change from messed up cycle to normal might throw me off a little bit, but then if I have diaphragm as secondary birth control it shouldn't be too bad - the reason for not using a diaphragm as my primery method is because I've been told I'm very fertile so it's too risky, but I think it will work well using the two together.

    On taking temperature, I'm sure I have read somewhere that it is easier to take it in the morning before you get up, I guess because as well as being a regular time everyday you haven't gotten up yet so there is nothing else to effect your temperature - does that sound right?
    I had another question but I can't remember it now, so I'll just thank you for replying

     
    Old 09-05-2004, 09:03 AM   #4
    reni
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    Re: Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by LouiseLaws
    Does anyone else here use fertility awareness method as birth control method?

    .
    I've used a form of it for the past 15 years without an accidental pregnancy. We use withdrawal until ovulation has passed, then we have unprotected sex until I get my period. The only thing I've had to do to know my fertile days is to observe my cervical mucus... usually I have no noticeable discharge except for a few days before, and the day, of, ovulation. Then I get a discharge like egg whites. Once it is gone, ovulation has passed. For what it's worth, when I wanted to get pregnant I used it to predict my fertile days and got pregnant on the first try each time.

    The problem that I see you running into is with the diaphragm. I used it for a brief time. As you know, you must use it in conjunction with contraceptive jelly, and then leave it in place for 12 hours after intercourse. If you desire to have intercourse again, you must insert more contraceptive jelly. This will totally interfere with your observation of your cervical mucus. Not to be too gross, but when you pull out the diaphragm, it is filled with your secretions, his secretions, and congealed contraceptive jelly. Besides looking awful, you won't be able to tell anything about your cervical mucus, which is a key part of natural family planning. In addition, the spermicide in the jelly is quite detrimental to vaginal health, and actually increases your risk of contracting an STD. Other problems with the diaphragm is that its effectiveness is contingent on the skill of the person fitting you. How would you know if s/he knows what s/he is doing? If you lose or gain 10 pounds, you must be refitted. If your partner has a long penis, he may hit the rim of it during intercourse. This could dislodge it, and also can cause discomfort for both you and him.

    You might want to consider withdrawal until ovulation has passed, instead of a diaphragm. Semen running out of you the next day can mimic cervical mucus and could confuse you. Withdrawal is a fine method of birth control if your partner has good control and is willing to do it.

    Good luck!

     
    Old 09-05-2004, 09:57 AM   #5
    LouiseLaws
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    Re: Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    Yes, that was one of my concerns, although it brings up another question - after sex, if your partner has ejaculated inside you how do you factor that into the equasion?
    My partners discharge is rather odd, he produces an abnormal amount of the stuff and it is a lot thinnner than most men seem to be - I often find also that after sex I get very thin, bad smelling, clear discharge. I know that sexual activity does also get recorded, or at least in the charts I have seen, but I'm a little concerned about how this would factor in because if you can't use your discharge as a guiding point surely it puts the method off a little bit.
    I do definatly see what you mean in terms of the diaphram, I'm not sure how I feel about the withdrawl method in it's somehting I'll have to think about.

     
    Old 09-05-2004, 11:11 AM   #6
    reni
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    Re: Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    I think ejaculation could really be a problem, depending on how your body reacts to the semen. For me the next day the discharge is similar to the mucus I get when I ovulate. If I didn't already know ovulation had passed, it would be confusing. As I said, I don't use basal body temperature or the position of my cervix or anything else to determine ovulation --only cervical mucus-- so I wouldn't want anything else like semen interfering with that. The mucus for me is such an obvious sign of ovulation.. it's like a gift from my body I use it to my advantage. I've always been totally against putting hormones in my body, so this has been a great method for me. It also helps that my periods have always been extremely regular, so I can know more or less when to expect ovulation based on the calendar. If you are atuned to your body and your body helps you out by working in predictable ways, there is no reason why FAM can't work for you.

     
    Old 09-05-2004, 01:01 PM   #7
    LouiseLaws
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    Re: Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) for birth control

    I think the basal body temperature or the position of my cervix would be enough to keep the confusion at bay - thats a great thing, just a case of getting a hold of a cheap speculum.
    I suppose it is all going to be a case of seeing what happens when I get round to using it, obviously the better I get at learning what my body is up to the better I will be able to make allowences for things like the Mr.'s abnormal sperm and my bodies reaction to it.
    Well, hopefully it will work or else I've ran out of ideas.

     
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