Fertility Awareness

Fertility awareness methods allow women to determine fertile and infertile times during their monthly cycles so that they can use that information to achieve or avoid pregnancy and monitor their reproductive health.

What is Fertility Charting?

Fertility charting is the practice of keeping track of the natural signals of your monthly reproductive cycle. Two most commonly used signs of your fertility are:

  1. cervical mucus/vaginal discharge and menstruation
  2. basal body temperature (its absence or presence and what it’s like), and your temperature.

Once taught to properly recognize and record these signs, a woman can confidently know if and when they are ovulating, as well as fertile and infertile times during her cycle.

There are various methods/systems of fertility charting.

Can it be used as Birth Control?

It can! When correctly and accurately followed, fertility awareness based methods  help you to either avoid or achieve pregnancy effectively. Once you learn how to read your body’s signs and get in the habit of charting, you will know exactly which few days you’re fertile each month. When used properly, these methods are 95-99.6% effective, as effective as hormonal and barrier contraceptives. They are used all over the world. No chemicals, no hormones, no side-effects.

That said, some methods are more effective than others. Be sure to do your research and choose one that has been proven effective in research! The Billings Ovulation Method, is backed by decades of use and medical research including large multi-center clinical trials with hundreds of thousands of patients.

If interested in contacting  a local trainer in learning more about the Billings Ovulation Method and connecting with a support group please contact the Centre for Life for contact information.

Check out the links below for more information on fertility awareness methods.

More information and resources:

Research on women’s reproductive health is important for every woman to access  in order to make healthy decisions. If you would like to read some published  research on hormonal contraceptive use click below

Natural Love Stories / Reference sources and other studies

A list compiled by Natural Womanhood, November 2015

Use of contraceptives for non-birth control reasons

Jones, Rachel K. “Beyond Birth Control: The Overlooked Benefits Of Oral Contraceptive Pills.” Guttmacher Institute, 2011.

List of side effects

From the patient information of commonly used oral contraceptives

Hormonal levels chart

Hilgers, Thomas W., MD. The Medical & Surgical Practice of NaProTechnology. Pope Paul VI Institute, 2004: 511.

“All about hormones!” Bedsider.  26 Jan. 2014, updated 24 March 2015.

Decreased libido

Wallwiener CW, Wallwiener LM, Seeger H, Mück AO, Bitzer J, Wallwiener M. “Prevalence of sexual dysfunction and impact of contraception in female German medical students.” Journal of Sexual Medicine 2010, 7: 2139-148.

Caruso S, Agnello C, Intelisano G, et al. “Sexual behavior of women taking low-dose oral contraceptive containing 15 μg ethinylestradiol/60 μg gestodene.” Contraception 2004, 69(3): 237–240.

Battaglia C, Battaglia B, Mancini F, et al. “Sexual behavior and oral contraception: A pilot study.” Journal of Sexual Medicine 2012, 9(2): 550-7.

Aponte M, Fong E, Brucker B, Kaefer D, Nitti V, Rosenblum N. “Incidence of pelvic pain symptoms in community-dwelling young women and relationship to use and type of oral contraceptive pills.” AUA 2013: Abstract 1515.

McCoy N, Matyas J. “Oral contraceptives and sexuality in university women.” Archives of Sexual Behavior. 1996 25(1): 73-90.

Gaton E, Zejdel L, Bernstein D, Glezerman M, Czernobilsky B, Insler V. “The effect of estrogen and gestagen on the mucus production of human endocervical cells: a histochemical study.” Fertility and Sterility 1982, 38(5): 580-585.

Blood clot risk levels

Rebecca Peck, M.D., C.C.D., and Charles W. Norris, M.D. “Significant Risks of Oral Contraceptives (OCPs).” The Linacre Quarterly 79(1) February 2012.

Nielsen, L. “Risk of Venous Thromboembolism From Use of Oral Contraceptives Containing Different Progestogens and Oestrogen Doses: Danish Cohort Study.” British Medical Journal. 2001-9. 25 October 2011.

Xu Zhenlin, et al. “Current use of oral contraceptives and the risk of first-ever ischemic stroke: A meta-analysis of observational studies.” Thrombosis Research, July 2015 Vol. 136, Issue 1: 52–60.

Vinogradova, Yana, et al. “Use of combined oral contraceptives and risk of venous thromboembolism: nested case-control studies using the QResearch and CPRD databases.” BMJ 2015: 350:h2135.

Cauci et al, “Effects of third-generation oral contraceptives on high-sensitivity C-reactive protein and homocysteine in young women.” Obstetrics and Gynecology 111:4 (2008): 857-64. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e31816a2476.

J.B. Porter, J.R. Hunter, H. Jick, A. Stergachis, “Oral contraceptives and nonfatal vascular disease.” Obstetrics and Gynecology, 66:1 (1985): 1-4.

Lidegaard, Edstro, Kreiner, “Oral contraceptives and venous thromboembolism: a five-year national case-control study.” Contraception. Volume 65 (2002): 187–196.

Rathbun, “Venous thromboembolism in women.” Vascular Medicine 2008, Volume 13: 255–266.

Richard H. White, “The Epidemiology of Venous Thromboembolism,” Circulation. 107:I-4-I-8 2003: doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000078468.11849.66.

Breast cancer risks:

World Health Organization, Statement, September 2004: “Carcinogenicity of combined hormonal contraceptives and combined menopausal treatment.”  UNDP/UNFPA/WHO/World Bank Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction (HRP).

Elisabeth F. Beaber et Al. “Recent Oral Contraceptive Use by Formulation and Breast Cancer Risk among Women 20 to 49 Years of Age.” Cancer Research, Aug. 2014.

Yanhua et al. “Reproductive Variables and Risk of Breast Malignant and Benign Tumours in Yunnan Province, China.” Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Volume 13, 2012: 2179-2184.

Dolle et al. “Risk Factors for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer in Women Under the Age of 45 Years.” Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. 2009, Volume 18: 1157-1166.

Dumeaux, Alsaker, Lund. “Breast cancer and specific types of oral contraceptives: A large Norwegian cohort study.” International Journal of Cancer, 2003, Volume 105, Issue 6: 844–850.

Cervical cancer risks

Dr Victor Moreno, MD, et al. “Effect of oral contraceptives on risk of cervical cancer in women with human papillomavirus infection: the IARC multicentric case-control study.” The Lancet. Volume 359, No. 9312, 30 March 2002:1085–1092.

Compared with never-users, patients who had used oral contraceptives for fewer than 5 years did not have increased risk of cervical cancer. The odds ratio for use of oral contraceptives was 2·82 for 5–9 years, and 4·03 for use for 10 years or longer, and these risks did not vary by time since first or last use.

Contraceptive switching rates:

“National study of contraceptive switching rates.” Battelle Centers for Public Health Research and Evaluation. 2012.

Women’s interest in learning fertility awareness based methods (FABMs)

Crista B. Warniment, MD, and Kirsten Hansen, MD. University of Virginia Family Medicine Residency Program, Charlottesville, Virginia American Family.

Stanford. J.B., Lemaire, J.C., & Fox, A. “Interest in natural family planning among female family practice patients.” Family Practice Research Journal. 14(3), 1994:  237-249.

Effectiveness rates of fertility awareness based methods (FABMs)

Elseer. FABMs for Family Planning, A review of effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy using SORT.” Osteopathic Family Physicians. 2013: 5, 2-8.

Hilgers, Thomas W., MD, et al. “Creighton Model NaProEducation Technology for avoiding pregnancy. Use effectiveness.” The Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 1998, 43(6): 495-502.

Fehring, RJ, et al. “Use effectiveness of the Creighton model ovulation method of natural family planning.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. Vol. 23, Issue 4, May 1994: 303–309.

Frank-Herrmann, P., et al. “The effectiveness of a fertility awareness based method to avoid pregnancy in relation to a couple’s sexual behaviour during the fertile time: a prospective longitudinal study.” Oxford Journals, Medicine & Health, Human Reproduction. Vol. 22, Issue 5P: 1310-1319.

Shao-Zhen Qian, et al. “Evaluation of the Effectiveness of a Natural Fertility Regulation Programme in China.” Reproduction and Contraception (English edition). 2000.

Continuation rate of use of the ovulation method of FABMs

Fehring, R., Lawrence, D., & Philpot, C. “Use effectiveness of the Creighton Model ovulation model of natural family planning.” Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. 23(4), 1994: 303-312.

Legal disclaimer

The information provided on methods of fetility awareness is  not designed or intended to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis , opinion, treatment or services to you or any individual. All sites and links provided  are for general information and  educational purposes only and not intended for a substitute for medical or professional care. It is recommended to discuss any health care decisions with your personal health care provider.