By Erin Donley, M.Ed, CFCP, NTP
Faith and Hope Wellness Associates
There is no single pill or device that can help you avoid pregnancy, achieve pregnancy, and manage gynecological symptoms. However, Fertility Awareness Method refers to a family of methods that can help address each of these issues.
Introducing the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) Family
Fertility Awareness Methods are methods of family planning that uses the woman’s signs of fertility and infertility for family planning purposes. Each method has its own unique way of teaching the couple to observe and tract biological symptoms to indicate fertility. Some use basal body temperature, cervical mucus observations, and/or cervical position to predict fertility and infertility. The best part of using a natural system is that there are no unhealthy side effects from unnatural hormones, gels, or prophylactics.
Side-stepping the side effects
The birth control pill has many unhealthy side effects that can affect fertility long term. In fact, it depletes important nutrients such as zinc and B vitamins, increases the risk of blood clots and is a risk factor for depression. Most natural methods bring to light concerning symptoms such as irregular bleeding, helping the user discuss concerns with her medical provider. The user can learn a system she can apply effectively throughout her reproductive years in accordance withn her intention.
The Creighton Method
The method that I have taught for over 10 years is the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS). Proper cervical mucus observations and charting are hallmarks of this system. The instructors all have at least one year of learning and mentorship under their belt before teaching. Insiders refer to CrMS as the medical model. Clients who reach out to learn from me seek greater understanding for gynecological issues such as infertility, PMS, miscarriage, PCOS, or irregular bleeding.
Fertility Benefits of Charting
Some couples come to me because they are struggling to achieve pregnancy. Often, they are surprised by the effects of the method. By just charting alone, I see anywhere from a 20-40% success rate for achieving pregnancy. Charting makes clients completely aware of when they are fertile. This allows them to use the optimal days to increase the chances of conception. With the addition of specialized medical interventions by a qualified provider, such as balancing hormones, regulating cycles, or treating infections, up to 80% of couples become pregnant.
Fertility Awareness Method as an Effective Contraception Tool
About 30% of my clients use the system specifically to avoid pregnancy during a particular period of time. By using this method, the couple knows when they are fertile or infertile. The success rate for pregnancy avoidance is usually 96%.
Fertility Awareness Method Applied Over Time
I typically see newlyweds who want to avoid pregnancy for a few months or years. Once they are ready, they use the same methods and principles in order to achieve pregnancy. During pregnancy, I provide them with a complimentary evaluation that helps all of us adhere to the quality of the CrMS program. After baby is born, the couple is typically infertile during the first 56 days if baby is fully nursing. After that period of time, couples must resume charting if they intend to avoid pregnancy. Most women have a full return of fertility once the baby sleeps through the night and starts on solids, typically around 9 months or so.
The Fertility Awareness Method tool kit is very versatile, applying during every season of the fertile years. As a bonus, it is very cost effective. It can truly empower each woman to make healthy decisions about her reproductive life.
About the Author
Erin has been teaching the Creighton Model FertilityCare System (CrMS) for over 10 years in a clinical setting. Afer earning her certification from the American Academy of FertilityCare Professionals, she recently started her own business, Faith and Hope Wellness Associates. Erin provides Nutritional Therapy services to those seeking to enhance their fertility. Her passion is teaching couples about their combined fertility and helping those struggling to achieve pregnancy through nutrition and CrMS. Since completing the certificate in Nutritional Therapy from the Nutritional Therapy Association, she has worked with clients individually and through the group program, RESTART. Erin provides CrMS and Nutritional Therapy services in person and via Skype. For more information, please check out FaithandHopeWellness.com and find her on Facebook.