Fertility awareness

By Ann Griswold • Published: April 25th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When it comes to women’s reproductive health, there’s an old wives’ tale for everything: If you’re trying to conceive a girl, eat lots of chocolate. If you’re trying to conceive a boy, eat a diet rich in red meat.

Fortunately, most women know these sayings are myths. But other misconceptions abound. Women trying to avoid pregnancy often worry when their periods are late because they mistakenly believe that menstrual cycles always last twenty-eight days. The truth is that female cycles can vary from month to month, making the rhythm method the contraceptive equivalent of Russian Roulette. On the flip side, women with irregular cycles often have trouble becoming pregnant because they miscalculate their most fertile time of month.

But there is a more accurate way for women to monitor fertility: The simple acts of recording waking temperatures and monitoring cervical fluid reveal more about reproductive health than you’d expect. Fertility awareness, as it is called, helps women avoid or achieve pregnancy by identifying the most fertile times of the month and exploring underlying health problems that could interfere with fertility. A pattern of waking temperatures can reveal imbalances in thryroid and reproductive hormones and even identify anovulatory [ann-AH-vew-lah-tor-ee] cycles, when a woman gets her monthly period but doesn’t release an egg.

But beware: Fertility awareness offers no protection against S-T-Ds and depends on the user’s ability to correctly interpret the recorded information. To learn more about fertility awareness, contact a qualified Natural Family Planning instructor in your area.