What is fertility awareness?
Fertility awareness is the practice of monitoring natural fertility biomarkers (or signs of fertility) produced by a woman’s body. By recording this information on a daily basis, women have a greater understanding of their fertility cycle and insight into their overall health, and couples can determine their monthly window of fertility.
What are the signs of fertility?
There are several main observable signs that are tied to fertility: basal body temperature, cervical mucus or fluid, the cervix itself, and urinary metabolites tied to the hormones that control the cycle. Every FABM uses one or several of these signs to establish a couple’s fertility.
What are FABMs?
FABM is an abbreviation for fertility awareness-based method. The information gained in fertility awareness can be used to monitor fertility cycles and space children, and the various methods for recording and tracking this data fall under the umbrella term “FABMs.”
Do FABMs differ from natural family planning?
Natural family planning (NFP) is a term that has been around for decades and refers to methods of family planning that use no drugs, devices or surgical procedures or behaviors to postpone pregnancy. FABMs are a subset of NFP that involve observing and tracking the signs of fertility in a woman’s body as each cycle progresses to determine fertility status day by day.
There are three primary categories of FABMs, but many variations exist for the many kinds of women and couples that use them!
The methods that fall under this category vary in specific practice, but all have one common characteristic: they rely primarily on cervical discharge as their fertility indicator. There are variations between these methods as to how to observe, classify and record the discharge. For instance, the Creighton Model FertilityCare System focuses on visible discharge and sensation only while wiping, while the Billings Ovulation Method focuses mainly on vulvar sensation throughout the day and appearance of visible discharge. The Two Day Method relies on just the presence/absence of any mucus at all, no matter its type.
- Creighton Model FertilityCare System
- Billings Ovulation Method
- Family of the Americas
- Two Day Method
Sympto-Thermal methods combine basal body temperature data with cervical discharge observations to monitor fertility. The Couple to Couple League’s version of the method adds certain cervix characteristics as an optional crosscheck and additional information. Slightly higher efficacy is found when using multiple signs of fertility.
- Couple to Couple League
This approach employs regular fertility signs as well as measuring devices — such as electronic hormonal fertility monitors or ovulation test strips — to determine fertility. The Marquette Method, for instance, uses the popular ClearBlue Fertility Monitor in addition to cervical discharge observations to determine the likelihood of conception.
- Marquette Model
Other Natural Methods
- Ecological Breastfeeding
- Lactational Amenorrhea