Fertility Awareness: The Healthy Way

Many women live their lives not fully understanding their reproductive system and how it functions— but it’s crucial that every person fully understands their body! Whether you’re planning on getting pregnant or using a form of birth control to avoid it, Stark doctors often recommend the Fertility Awareness Method to women for various reasons. This is a dual-purpose method that can be used as a natural means of birth control or as an aid to getting pregnant.

What is the Fertility Awareness Method?

The Fertility Awareness Method is under the umbrella of fertility awareness. There are multiple methods you can use like the rhythm or calendar method— these have different degrees of accuracy. The symptothermal method, which is tracking your menstrual cycle and three primary signs of fertility, is one of the most accurate ways. This method utilizes tracking temperature at specific times, as when your internal temperature rises, this means that you have already ovulated. The egg is dead after ovulation, so you’re highly unlikely to get pregnant during this time. A woman is ovulating when the temperature is lower— meaning she has a higher likelihood of pregnancy.

Can I Take an Oral Contraceptive to Avoid Pregnancy?

Oral contraceptives usually contain hormones that alter the state of your body— making your body function differently than its natural state by creating synthetic periods. When it comes to the bigger picture of your health and fitness, oral birth control can certainly set you back from your fitness goals. Dr. Alice says, “Sex hormone myoglobin will shoot up with oral contraception. It’s not great— it tanks your testosterone. Women also lose their libido, which is ironic. We are taking pills so we do not get pregnant while we’re having sex, but then it takes away our sex drive. It can also make autoimmunity worse if you have it. There is a lot of data coming out about OCPs causing, or at least making, autoimmunity worse. Oral contraceptives are one of those things where I really don’t support it. If I can get my patients to get off of it, that would be my preference.”

What if I decide I Want to Stop Taking Birth Control and Go the Fertility Awareness Method Route? Where do I Start?

Devices like Daysy, a supercomputer that basically tracks your basal body temperature right when you wake up in the morning and then watches it throughout your cycle, can be used to make the Fertility Awareness Method easier to understand. You would take your temperature orally first thing when you get up in the morning— this means before you get out of bed and before you move. The device will either give you a green, yellow, or red light. The red light indicates that you are fertile. The yellow light means that it is still learning your cycle while the green light means you’re not fertile. The device is 99.4% accurate! You’ll likely see the yellow light for approximately three months as your body regulates after getting off hormonal birth control.

Tempdrop is another way of tracking your basal body temperature. It tracks it as you sleep, so you need at least three hours of consecutive sleep for it to work. Normally, you would wake up and take your temperature through a basal body temperature, but you wear Tempdrop during the night and it creates an algorithm. Because your fertility is being are tracked by temperature, these are both great devices for people looking to prevent pregnancy as well as those wanting to get pregnant.