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have you successfully used FAM
yes, as contraception 35%  35%  [ 28 ]
no as contraception (we were abstaining during fertile phase) 4%  4%  [ 3 ]
no as contraception (we were using condoms during fertile phase) 11%  11%  [ 9 ]
no as contraception (we were taking risks during fertile phase) 8%  8%  [ 6 ]
no as a pregnancy aiding method 5%  5%  [ 4 ]
yes as a pregnancy aiding method 19%  19%  [ 15 ]
other 19%  19%  [ 15 ]
Total votes : 80
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 Post subject: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control + more
PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:33 pm 
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first, a word about the poll:
the options "no as contraception (we were using condoms during fertile phase)" etc. does not mean "i do not practice FAM, i use condoms". i am so sorry for wording it that way. it actually means "i was unsuccessful with the method, and now i have a child because of it" (or had an abortion etc.) i left the poll open so if you had chosen that option with a misunderstanding, you can uncheck the box and resubmit your vote. (you can also click the "other" box if you like. it's up to you. you might actually be able to unclick all boxes and still see the results. that may be equal to a null vote on the other boards.)
also, "taking risks" includes withdrawal and not waiting until your temperatures stay up 3 days. (and maybe include dry-day rule in there? (i consider that risky, since you never know if your body will start producing CF within the 2-hour window that the sperm survive in an inhospitable environment)

ok, so on with the show:
FAM is using science to determine your fertility. it is not the same as the rhythm/calendar/cycle beads method.

also known as the sympto-thermal method STM and natural family planning NFP

it can be used to avoid pregnancy as well as to achieve it. (and it can also help you become more aware of what your body is doing, and what it can tell you.)
you can see whether you are ovulating late, ovulating at all, whether you have a short luteal phase, whether you have PCOS, insufficient progesterone levels and it can also tell you if you've miscarried. and also when you should expect to start menstruating. (for those trying to conceive, and would prefer one sex over the other, google shettles method. you can time the intercourse to favor x sperm (bigger/heavier/slower/longer lasting) over y sperm (smaller/lighter/faster/quicker to die) or vice-versa)

you will be aware of your normal patterns that you will be able to tell when something is wrong.

ovulation rarely happens on day 14 accompanied with a 28 day long cycle, yet most of the world continues to stick to this myth.
the only thing that is consistent from woman to woman is her luteal phase (post-ovulation phase) that's generally 12-16 days long. but the pre-ovulatory phase can vary immensely. (as an example, i have ovulated past day 30 on quite a few of my early cycles, giving me a 42+ day-long cycle.) and so this is where we begin.

the run-down
sympto:
  • examining your cervical fluid to determine whether you are going to ovulate. wet/eggwhite= fertile, creamy=not totally fertile, rubber cement=not very fertile, dry=not fertile (but sperm can live up to 2 hours in a dry environment, so it's possible to spontaneously produce cervical fluid within the 2 hour window, and then that gives the sperm 5 additional days to hang out and potentially fertilize an egg that might be released in that time.) eggwhite CF leaves a wet ring on your pantaloons, creamy/pasty leaves a more rectangular or streaky pattern.
  • (optional) examining the firmness/dilation/position of your cervix. (firm/closed/low=infertile :: soft/open/high=fertile)
  • you may also eventually notice mittelschmerz (ovulatory pain) usually on only one side, and it generally switches sides month to month. (if you are prone to fraternal twins, you might notice both sides.)
  • the first 5 days rule is only valid if you have never ovulated before day 12 in the past 12 cycles. the dry day rule as indicated above is risky. but if you consistently have long cycles, provide a week-long buffer to your earliest ovulated date in the past 12 cycles, and that is how late in your cycle prior to ovulation you may have "unprotected" sex.

thermal:
  • taking your temperature at the same time each morning before you get out of bed (preferably after 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep) and before talking. regularly sleeping with your mouth open requires you to take your temperature vaginally (consistently).
  • once your temperature has risen .2 degrees above the past 6 temperatures and stays up for 3 days, only then can you proclaim that the egg has been ovulated and already disintegrated. (you should also have no eggwhite cervical fluid)

once you determine your basic infertile pattern BIP (after a year or so of charting) you can make educated alterations to when you are able to have condomless sex. (for example, it takes 3 days after ovulating for my body to produce enough progesterone to have a rise in temperature, so i feel safe on the 2nd day of the temp rise as long as i am no longer producing fertile cervical fluid and if i had noticed mittelschmerz 3+ days prior.)

if you have recently gotten off of hormonal birth control, use condoms regularly until it appears that the hormones are out of your system. (at least 3 months, and then give it another month to get the hang of what your natural hormones do to your body)

links:

i hope i've explained it well enough. feel free to ask questions.

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Last edited by supercarrot on Sat Oct 23, 2010 6:54 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:38 am 
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We have sex every other day (lest Greta is here, like she is now, then it's just mutual stroganoff, red wings or whatnot) and though I should chart temps and all of that, I am aware of my CM and it's consistency. We have been TTC for 22 months so I am pretty sure there is something wrong...I need to go to the DR.

I was on yaz for years, which was my only protection. I didn't sleep around, got and asked for tests prior to forking.


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 7:32 am 
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does sex feel like a chore? if so, you can totally put it off until you see eggwhite. (that would help mr. shovel build up a big store of swimmers for the most important phase of your cycle. if he is producing swimmers that is.) good luck! <3

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:19 pm 
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No, actually we both like the very other day routine. Sometimes and ironically especially when it is egg whitey we are tired, but we do it anyways.

He was tested and his boys swim! I looked into my little book that I track everything in for this and it seems as though in the last 22 months we were not strict on the sex for 4 of them and not consecutively. However, we did intentionally have sex when my CM indicated we should. This month being one of them.

I did chat last year and it was so incredible inconsistent for a few months I gave up. I work up at the same time, took my temp in bed, and I would change temps from an entire degree to another with no pattern. This went on for 3 months so I gave up.

My mother just let me know she had/has endromitriosis and had a hard time getting preg and my sister has PCOS. I'm think a DR visit is my next step. I did get meds (clomid for on month) in the US, but they did not do any tests.

I do not want to be on medication to get pregnant, but I will if I have to. Any other suggestions would be helppful!

thanks Supercarrot!


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 2:42 pm 
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i have taking charge of your fertility and have been meaning to get onto charting for awhile now. i'll be interested to read others' experiences! i'm not on hormonal birth control and haven't been for over a year. for now i want to use FAM for pregnancy prevention, but eventually i hope to use it to have babies (when that time comes).

here's a question: do you have to take your temperature at the same time every day? my work schedule is different from day to day and therefore i wake up anywhere from 8am to noon.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:17 pm 
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yeah, just set your alarm for the same time every day, and you can go back to sleep on the days you don't need to wake up. (it's a pain in the butt, but you get used to it after a while. <3
if you have the revised edition from 1995, the explanation is on page 368 (basically, your temperature will creep up .2 degree for each hour you sleep in. you can calculate stuff, but your body's reactions might not be typical. you might want to do a month or so of taking it always at the same time as well as again when you wake up at noon to help calculate your personal temp changes.


shovel, i'd be happy to take a look at the data you have and give you my suspicions.

it's very possible that if you have a short luteal phase, you aren't producing enough progesterone to keep your temps up and you might be having very early miscarriages. B6 helps extend the luteal phase and give the embryo a fighting chance. (although i guess you're taking prenatal vitamins, and i'm sure there's plenty B6 in those) hmmm.

when you were charting your temps, were you temping orally or vaginally? if it was orally, do you remember if your mouth would fall open before waking? if that's the case, try it again, and temp vaginally. :-p it should be quite a bit more stable since it's all cozy and stuff. <3

also, if your temperatures were all over the place and you didn't see ANY distinct changes indicating ovulation, you might not be ovulating at all. :-(

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 5:36 pm 
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I voted yes, I use it as contraception and it's brilliant!

allularpunk wrote:
here's a question: do you have to take your temperature at the same time every day? my work schedule is different from day to day and therefore i wake up anywhere from 8am to noon.


Supercarrot knows way more about FAM than I do but there are/were days when I take it at different times but never a 4 hour gap like you might have. On work days I take it @ 5am and if I'm lucky on days off/weekends I take it at 7ish but usually between 5-6am because I hardly ever sleep in.

If it was around ovulation I'd be more inclined to get up at the same time so my chart is more accurate but I also have a super regular cycle.

FAM is a fantastic contraception and I think girls should get taught about it in high school and every girl should have a copy of TCOYF. Also, there are aps for Android/iPhone which are useful if you forget to use pen/paper.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 6:18 pm 
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I used it as contraception for a few months and then when I wanted to get pregnant I used it successfully.

I think that taking your temperature the same time everyday is optimal but I always had issues waking up in the night or early morning. I just marked on the chart when my sleep was interrupted or I woke up at an unusual time. Even when I had days in the month where the time was very different I was still able to clearly see when my temperature shifted.


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 11:27 pm 
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Kitteh wrote:
I think girls should get taught about it in high school and every girl should have a copy of TCOYF. Also, there are aps for Android/iPhone which are useful if you forget to use pen/paper.


i agree, and that is awesome. also, thanks to you and supercarrot for the clarification on the time thing. i'm sure i could wake up for a few minutes to get my temperature recorded!

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 2:40 am 
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Thanks, I was doing it orally and yes, I usually have a stuffed nose no matter what time of year so my mouth probably would fall open prior to me waking. I will try again vaginally. I do take prenatal vitamins everyday for years and they are vegan.

I think I will chart again and see where that gets me and I am going to walk to the DR today to see if I can get an apt or a referral somewhere (I have private insurance as well as NHS).

I suspect I do not ovulate at all. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for the information and the venue to speak about this, no one except my partner knows and it's been difficult.


I also agree that every female should be given the book to read in High School. Bing 30 and reading it I felt like it was something I should already know about my body and it was really great. If I ever have a daughter, she will be reading is for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 6:09 am 
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I'm not using it as contraception at the moment but it was interesting to read the book. I always knew about healthy discharge but to have everything explained like that was excellent and I totally had a "Ahhh that's true! Sometimes it's liquidy and sometimes it's like Clag glue" moment.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:56 am 
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I'm not sure what to vote- I've never used it, we just rely on the pill. Not sure if I will ever try it but I at least want to read the book! It sounds interesting!


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 12:31 pm 
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i've been charting for a while and last month finally got my paragard IUD yanked and am using FAM for birth control (plus condoms during fertile times). i find it fun and exciting! (i'm a midwifery student so i even find periods fun and exciting). my only complaint is that it's hard to go back to condoms after so long, and we definitely can't go 10 days without PIV. it's well worth the benefits, though, because i didn't tolerate any other method well.


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:45 pm 
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Dynahmite wrote:
I'm not sure what to vote- I've never used it, we just rely on the pill. Not sure if I will ever try it but I at least want to read the book! It sounds interesting!


i guess i should have had an option for "haven't used it but is interested in learning"
(i guess "other" but i think that'd skew the results. i guess just don't vote? you should still be able to see the results by clicking the results link?)

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:56 pm 
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a note on waking up to take a temp when you don't have to be awake:
i was really worried about this when i started using FAM. i work nights and i almost never have to get up at any specific time. i just wake up and get out of my bed whenever i want. i chose 6:30am as my temp taking time because i almost always wake up around then to pee anyway. the thing about me, though, is that i HATE waking up to an alarm because if i get startled awake it throws me off for the entire day. to guarantee that i would actually wake up at 6:30 (even if i wasn't awoken by my bladder) and to ensure that i wouldn't be grumpy from an alarm every day i got an alarm clock that chirps like birds! it's a total pleasure to wake up to and it has changed my life. i wouldn't be able to do FAM without it.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:18 am 
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i'm concerned about the 5 people (so-far) who have gotten pregnant using condoms and abstaining. i want to know more. (i understand if you don't want to speak about it if it didn't result in a baby, but if it did result in a baby, please pop in! <3

i'm guessing it was because of the dry-day rule? i really dislike that rule, because of the 2-hour window where you can start producing fertile cervical fluid and bam! people who had decided to keep the child, was it a daughter? (the failure of the dry-day rule is most likely to result in a daughter because of the resiliency of the X sperm.) condom failure has a better liklihood of producing a male child than dry-day failure.

(or maybe it was a misunderstanding? if you have chosen that option because you think it was the answer that said "i do not practice FAM, i use condoms", then i am so sorry for wording it that way. it actually means "i was unsuccessful with the method, and now i have a child because of it" i left the poll open so if you had chosen that option with a misunderstanding, you can uncheck the box and resubmit your vote. (you can also click the "other" box if you like. it's up to you. you might be able to unclick all boxes and still see the results.)

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:13 pm 
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Shovel wrote:
Thanks, I was doing it orally and yes, I usually have a stuffed nose no matter what time of year so my mouth probably would fall open prior to me waking. I will try again vaginally.


OH OH!! i just thought of something. make sure you get a separate thermometer for the vaginal temping. there is no way to sterilize a thermometer, and bleach/alcohol probably won't kill 100% of your mouth bacteria. especially if it's a plastic thermometer. ($10-15 is worth the peace of mind.) especially since it was hanging out in morning breath every morning. blech.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:02 am 
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Good to know, I was thinking about that!

Someone else I know who just got married (he is 34 she is 36) just got pregnant. Sucks. Life is not fair, hu?


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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:11 pm 
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I've charted in the past but I never used it as my sole method of birth control. I need to start charting again, hopefully that will provide some insight into my crazy period.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 3:21 pm 
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Shovel wrote:
Someone else I know who just got married (he is 34 she is 36) just got pregnant. Sucks. Life is not fair, hu?


oh. :-( {hugs}

you can do it! *rah rah shishkoombah!*

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 5:25 pm 
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takecare wrote:
a note on waking up to take a temp when you don't have to be awake:
i was really worried about this when i started using FAM. i work nights and i almost never have to get up at any specific time. i just wake up and get out of my bed whenever i want. i chose 6:30am as my temp taking time because i almost always wake up around then to pee anyway. the thing about me, though, is that i HATE waking up to an alarm because if i get startled awake it throws me off for the entire day. to guarantee that i would actually wake up at 6:30 (even if i wasn't awoken by my bladder) and to ensure that i wouldn't be grumpy from an alarm every day i got an alarm clock that chirps like birds! it's a total pleasure to wake up to and it has changed my life. i wouldn't be able to do FAM without it.

I like the idea of waking up to chirping! I can't go back to sleep once I'm awake plus as soon as my alarm goes off the cats start scratching at our bedroom door so lucky for me, I have to get up around the same time regardless of whether I need to be up early!

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 1:56 pm 
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How much do fertility thermometers typically cost? I'm at work so I can't google it! :(

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:58 pm 
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sarahnorine wrote:
How much do fertility thermometers typically cost? I'm at work so I can't google it! :(


i've gotten them from CVS for $12 (but there are some nicer ones that are more expensive, but i'm perfectly fine with the cheapie ones.)
they're found in the lube aisle. :-) near the ovulation predictor kits and other baby-achieving implements.
the package says "not to be used for contraception" but that's just to cover their own asparagi from people who are too dumb to understand how our bodies work. "oh, so if i take my temperature every day, then i am safe from getting pregnant?" kinds of people.

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:36 pm 
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supercarrot wrote:
sarahnorine wrote:
How much do fertility thermometers typically cost? I'm at work so I can't google it! :(


i've gotten them from CVS for $12 (but there are some nicer ones that are more expensive, but i'm perfectly fine with the cheapie ones.)
they're found in the lube aisle. :-) near the ovulation predictor kits and other baby-achieving implements.
the package says "not to be used for contraception" but that's just to cover their own asparagi from people who are too dumb to understand how our bodies work. "oh, so if i take my temperature every day, then i am safe from getting pregnant?" kinds of people.

Haha!

I just use a regular digital thermometer from the chemist, it was about $10

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 Post subject: Re: the Fertility Awareness Method thread - birth control +
PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:29 pm 
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i started taking my temperature and charting sometime last year, but i only did it for a month or two because i had the same concern as allularpunk- with a really inconsistent work schedule i'd wake up at drastically different times from day to day. i would also go to sleep at drastically different times though. if i go to bed one night at 10, and another night at 3 in the morning, but still take my temp at 6 am every morning, is it not going to matter if one day i've had 8 hours of sleep and the next night i've only had 3 hours of sleep by the time i take my temperature?

also i felt like the thermometer i got wasn't good enough.


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