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    fertility basics

    Fertility Awareness Methods

    • 4.5   (1 Votes)
    Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MS, MBBS on 18 Apr 2019 - Written by Dr. Neelam Bapna - MS, MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MS, MBBS

    Fertility awareness method refers to a set of practices used to determine the fertile and infertile phases of a womans menstrual cycle. Methods include standard days, two days method and BBT method. There are no side effects and women with STI, miscarriage or breastfeeding can use this method.

    Fertility awareness methods (also called natural family planning or rhythm method) are a way to predict fertile and infertile times in a woman’s menstrual cycle. Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is based on body signs, which change during each menstrual cycle in response to the hormones that cause ovulation. If one uses FAM to avoid getting pregnant, one must abstain (not have intercourse at all) or use another contraceptive during their fertile times.

    In this article we will look at:

    1. What are the different types of fertility awareness-based methods?
    2. Who can use natural family planning?
    3. What are the advantages of Fertility awareness method? 

    1. What are the different types of fertility awareness-based methods?

    The following methods are based on fertility awareness:

    • Standard Days method
    • Cervical mucus method
    • Two day method
    • Basal body temperature (BBT) method
    • Symptothermal method

    Standard Days Method: The Standard Days method follows a standard rule of what days the menstrual cycle are the most fertile. If a woman’s cycle is between 26 days and 32 days long, the Standard Days method considers 8 to19 days to be the most fertile days. To prevent pregnancy, one should avoid having intercourse or use a barrier method of birth control on these days. If a woman is trying to get pregnant, she should try to have intercourse between day 8 and day 19, either every day or every other day. The Standard Days method works best if a woman’s cycles are regular and are consistently between 26 days and 32 days long.

    Cervical Mucus Method: The Cervical Mucus Method is also called the Ovulation Method or Billings Method that involves keeping track of the amount and the physical properties of the vaginal mucus. This method works because vaginal mucus changes its consistency based on whether or not a woman is ovulating. This method is best suitable for women who produce a high amount of vaginal mucus and are comfortable with touching their vagina. For this method, it is advised that one abstains from unprotected sex for an entire cycle while one gets a sense of their normal mucus levels. Women normally produce less mucus after their period. These are often referred to as “dry days” and they may be “safe days” if the cycle is long. More mucus is produced when the egg becomes ripe. When ovulation is just about to occur, mucus will ramp up in volume and take on a wet and slippery consistency. These are the most fertile days of a woman. Days, which are more likely to be safe, begin when cloudy sticky mucus takes its place or after the slippery mucus subsides. 

    Two-Day method: The Two Day Method is a fertility awareness method of family planning that uses cervical secretions to indicate fertility. A woman using this method checks for cervical secretions at least twice a day to determine if she is fertile. If she notices secretions of any color, type or consistency either that day or the following day she considers herself fertile. The Two Day Method makes it easy to keep a track on the fertile days in a woman’s cycle by using the presence or absence of secretions as an indicator of fertility. A woman’s body produces secretions on days when she is most fertile. Cervical secretions are a factor of fertility and facilitate the fertilization process. They nourish the sperm and help its navigation towards the uterus to fertilize the egg. It also helps the sperm live for several days in the woman’s reproductive tract. Without secretions, the sperm cannot survive in the vagina and therefore it cannot fertilize the ovum.

    The Basal Body Temperature Method (BBT): Basal Body Temperature Method depends on taking daily temperature readings to determine when ovulation is occurring. Ovulation occurs with a rise in temperature. In most women, the normal temperature increases slightly during ovulation from 0.5 to1°F and remains high until the end of the menstrual cycle. The most fertile days are the 2–3 days before the increase in temperature. The main motive of this method is to avoid unprotected sex until 72 hours after the end of ovulation. For the most accurate results, take the body temperature, in the same, way every day. To this end, one should take their temperature right when they wake up, before starting their day or engaging in any activity whatsoever. After the temperature is taken, one should record it to a tenth of a degree using a large scale basal thermometer. The changes in the body temperature are subtle but must be detected. The average woman’s body temperature can be between 96 and 98 degrees Fahrenheit before ovulation and 97 to 99 degrees after ovulation. In case a person is suffering from illness or dealing with any other condition which could raise blood pressure and body temperature (even slightly), it is best to put this in the chart to help understand how that might affect the results. It is also advisable to have a health care professional help interpret the chart for the first little while. Chart the temperature for at least 90 days before solely relying on this method of birth control

    The Symptothermal Method: The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) is a healthy and natural fertility awareness-based method (FABM) of family planning that makes use of a woman’s observations of her cervical fluid, basal body temperature and other biological signs (changes in the cervix) in order to identify the fertile and infertile times of her cycle. Couples can use this method to either achieve or avoid pregnancy. This method can be used throughout the couple’s reproductive years. The word Sympto stands for the symptom of cervical fluid, which changes under the influence of the woman’s reproductive hormone (estrogen). Thermal stands for basal body temperature (BBT), this temperature rises after a woman ovulates (when the ovary releases an egg). The STM teaches couples to crosscheck the two primary signs to confirm their time of fertility when a couple is most likely become pregnant if they have sexual relations.


    2. Who can use natural family planning?

    Most women can use the Fertility Awareness Method however, certain situations can affect fertility signs and one might want to consider a different method if:

    • There could be a health risk to the baby if case a woman is pregnantIf periods are irregular 
    • If a person is suffering from sexually transmitted infection (STI) or pelvic inflammatory disease
    • If a person is taking a medication that disrupts production of cervical mucus (ask your GP or a pharmacist if you're not sure)
    • Recently stopped taking hormonal contraception
    • Recently had a miscarriage or abortion
    • Given birth and are breastfeeding
    • Travel regularly through different time zones
    • Have a vaginal infection such as thrush or an STI, or there is an increased risk of getting an STI
    • If one is a heavy drinker

    3. What are the advantages of Fertility awareness method?

    There are a number of benefits of different fertility awareness that are discussed below: 

    • It does not cause any side effects.
    • Fertility Awareness Method is acceptable to all faiths and cultures.
    • Most women can use fertility awareness methods, as long as a fertility awareness teacher properly trains them.
    • Fertility Awareness Method can be used either to avoid pregnancy or to become pregnant.
    • It keeps a track on normal and abnormal vaginal secretions, so that one can be aware of possible infection.
    • Effective when used correctly and consistently
    • No devices, drugs, prescriptions, or office visits
    • Does not contain estrogen, which may increase the risk of heart problems


    When fertility awareness method is used correctly and consistently, it may reach rates of effectiveness around 90%. The effectiveness depends on one’s diligence to track and record their fertility pattern and their commitment to abstain from sexual intercourse. Fertility Awareness Methods allow women to have an effective alternative to hormonal birth control methods that not only allows them to prevent pregnancy naturally but also gives women a tool to better understand their menstrual cycles, bodies and their fertility. Fertility Awareness Methods provides women with an extremely important and helpful window into their overall health that can actually be used as a diagnostic tool to identify health and fertility related issues through cycle charting.

    If you are looking for fertility doctors then Elawoman can assist you. At Elawoman, we create miracles every day. Regardless of your story, Elawoman can craft tailored fertility solutions for you, carefully aligned with your background and medical history. Call us today at+91-8929020600.

    Dr. Neelam Bapna

    Written by

    MS, MBBS
    Infertility Evaluation and Treatments, Endoscopic Surgeon
    Dr. Neelam Bapna is an Infertility Specialist, Gynecologist and Obstetrician in Mansarovar, Jaipur, Rajasthan. She has an experience of two decades in the same field. Some of the services provided by the doctor are Endoscopy and Infertility Evaluation with an expert advice on the problems related to Gynecology. She is also an active member of Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR), Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI). She did MBBS from RNT Medical College in 1991. She also completed MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Sawai Mansingh Medical College, Jaipur in 1995. At present, she practices at Shivani Fertility and IVF Centre. You can get her contact details on


    • Normal menstrual cycle and irregular menstrual cycle causes and treatment  menstrual cycle, Elawoman - 2017
    • How to get pregnant fast - how often to have sex to get pregnant?  get pregnant, Elawoman - 2017
    • How to improve sperm count - foods to increase sperm count  sperm, Elawoman - 2017
    • Basal body temperature - how to measure bbt? should i chart bbt?  Basal Body Temperature, Elawoman - 2017
    • Best birth control methods for teenagers - copper t insertion, transdermal patch  method of birth control, Elawoman - 2017
    • Steps to check cervical position and cervical mucus  cervix, Elawoman - 2017
    • Cervical mucus - 4 stages of cervical mucus, how to check it naturally?  cervical mucus, Elawoman - 2017

    1 Comment


    Madana Shashidhar

    Feb. 22, 2019, 11:58 a.m. 4.5

    Leave a Comment



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