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Fertility Awareness Planning

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > Parenting, Families, & the Community > Fertility Awareness Planning



Oct 2006

I've always been a rhythm/pull-out user and want a better percentage of accuracy now. I was shocked to call Planned Parenthood and hear that FAP (fertility awareness planning) is highly regarded and just as safe as all the other ''good'' contraceptive methods out there, assuming no human error. Of course, FAP is a bit more involved than the typical rhythm method.

I'm wanting to hear your experiences and see sites you like. I'm kinda considering the non-hormonal IUD for the great result of no babies for ten years and sex with no hindrances, but not thrilled about having some plastic thing (outgassing toxins in my mucous membranes?) shoved up inside me either for all that time.

How hard is the FAP to do? What good/bad experiences have you had with FAP or IUD?

I also want to know about infections and changes in body chemistry from IUDs - does it mean you get yeast infections and can't stay healthy down there?

The only thing I'm sure of, is that I am not willing to make any babies at this time Unsure what to do


we did fertility awareness for 3 years and never got pregnant. And our fertility is high- when we stopped, we then got pregnant 6 times in 4 years (3 miscarried). it's great if you place high priority on hormone-free and device-free. some people find charting annying, some thing it's easy and interesting. And the you have to decide to abstain sometimes or birng out condoms (groan! either way)

if you want to learn more, the best book out there is ''taking charge of your fertility''. but PS, I'm contemplating and IUD myself christine


I have done both methods of birth control for about 3 years each. Here is my input: the IUD can cause increased bleeding and cramping, which caused me to remove it and switch to FAP. If you normally have light periods, it should be a non-issue. Don't worry about chemicals in the plastic, IUDs are completely safe and non-toxic. If periods are heavy, get the one with hormones (Mirena). FAP is fantastic, but you must be consistant with it and have a back up birth control for your fertile days. Most couples use condoms during this time. The bummer is, most women want sex around ovulation, when it's most risky. There is no perfect birth control, except vasectomy. I'd say IUD is the best runner up. Good luck anon
Fertility Awareness can give you great control over your fertility. I've practiced it for 20 years, never gotten pregant when I didn't want to, and gotten pregnant whenever I wanted to in a single shot. It's a complete liberation from store-bought contracptives and ovulations predictors. I can't imagine life without it.

I'd look for a class, rather than a book, just so that you can get answers to the questions that are specific to you and your body. Many years ago, there was a fertility awareness class available through the women's clinic at U.C. Berkeley. It was open to the public. I don't know if they still offer it.

It does require a minute or two of your attention every day in the beginning. But after a while, you can forgo the thermometer completely, and check your cervix only occasionally. Eventually, it's an effortless part of your routine.

Email me if you like. I am a major proponent of F.A. and happy to talk about it. emi


Hi, I did fertility awareness for nearly a year before I became pregnant. I did it so that when my husband and I were ready to get pregnant I would know the right time to try. (we used backup until we were trying) As someone with a regular cycle I found it to be really interesting and useful, but I would NEVER use this as my only contraception if I really did not want to be pregnant. There are just too many variables even if your cycle is like clockwork. Plus you have to be religiously conscientious about the observations and notations every single day - not an insignificant obligation. That said, it could be a really useful addition to whatever other method you might choose. Good luck. I hope you find a method you like believer in backup
I can't speak to family awareness planning but I can tell you about the IUD. the non-hormonal ones that last for 10 years are actually copper. they work by stimulating your own immune system to produce white blood cells and other immunity factors that act as an effective spermicide. They can make your periods more heavy, so if you have a history of heavy or painful periods, this may not be the ideal choice for you. Otherewise, this works for many women.

the other one is the one I have - the mirena. Good for 5 years. it gives out a small amount of hormone (I think progesterone but can't remember for sure) that prevents the egg from implanting in the uterine wall. With this one periods tend to be much lighter - I barely have a period at all after almost a year.

My personal experience was that the insertion was really uncomfortable and then I bled or spotted for about two months - apparently this is common. Since then it has been a cakewalk. all the advantages you mentioned, spontaneous sex anytime without having to think about birth control, mess around with devices for creams, pulling out or watching the calendar. totally worth the price and the inconvenience good luck with your decision


Just wanted to add my 2 cents about the IUD. I had the Mirena inserted when my second child was 7 weeks old. I was told there might be some bleeding/cramping by my midwife. However, I had some severe pain and dizziness at the time, which soon passed.

About a week later I felt a strange sensation in my abdomen and visited my OB, who said she couldn't find the IUD strings. I was sent for an MRI, where they located the IUD floating in abdominal cavity. The OB said that the IUD had punctured my uterine wall and had to be surgically removed. Needless to say, this was a very upsetting turn of events, considering I had a newborn who refused a bottle and a surgery requiring general anethesia.

Apparently, this can happen in about 1/1000 people. Just another reason to think carefully about inserting a foreign object in your body. anon


I just wanted to share my experience with an IUD that has very low levels of hormone--the MIRENA--compared to a friend's experince who has an IUD with no hormone.

The MIRENA only has enough hormone to affect the ovaries, thus reducing ovulation, but does not have a systemic affect. I am not a healthcare practitioner but do have a degree an Human Biology. I believe that the benefits of low hormone outweigh the cons of no hormone.

Without any hormone in an IUD one can have long and painful periods. My friend that has the hormone-free IUD has frequent periods that last 2 weeks, are heavy, and uncomfortable. They are worse that her pre-IUD periods.

I get very infrequent and light periods--maybe once every 3-4 months. I do not have any other side affects from the hormones because the levels are too low to affect any other part of the body. I do not like putting chemicals into my body which is why I do not take birth control pills, but the concentration of hormone in the MIRENA is not even comparable. Just a thought anon


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