Tag Archives: fertility awareness methods

5 Reasons To Use The Fertility Awareness Method When You’re Single – By Holly Grigg-Spall

Practicing FAM has benefits for all women, regardless of your relationship status

When we talk about practicing the Fertility Awareness Method to avoid pregnancy, we usually talk about it in terms of committed relationships. This is understandable, because we all know that condoms are necessary in any casual or early stages relationship to avoid contracting an STD. But equating FAM with committed relationships is rooted in the assumption that it’s not an effective method for avoiding pregnancy. It’s also rooted in the assumption that practicing FAM involves no other methods of contraception. Both these assumptions are wrong and have arisen out of misinformation.

The Fertility Awareness Method used within a committed relationship has all kinds of benefits – including increased communication, heightened intimacy, sharing the burden of preventing pregnancy, and being able to go condom-free for most of the month. However, there are also benefits to practicing FAM when you’re single, dating, or in a non-monogamous relationship. Even if your primary method of contraception is condoms or a hormone-free IUD, you can still practice Fertility Awareness and gain from the knowledge.

Some might wonder, why go to all the bother of tracking your fertile signs if you’re single? With technology like Daysy it’s no longer a hassle to practice FAM and the process can be easily accomodated into any woman’s life, from a college student to a mom of three. Practicing FAM is not limited to certain lifestyles or certain kinds of women.


5 benefits of practicing FAM when you’re single

1. If you’re single and dating knowing your fertile window can provide an additional level of caution for avoiding pregnancy. Using condoms and FAM is essentially doubling up on your contraceptive methods, it means you can plan to only have sex (with a condom) when you’re not fertile, making the experience more enjoyable and stress-free, or you can choose to have sex when you’re fertile and use additional natural spermicide for added protection. It also means that if the condom breaks, you’ll know if it’s necessary to use an emergency contraceptive or if it’s not necessary – thereby avoiding the side effects.

2. Hormonal shifts have an impact on how you feel about sex, relationships, and your attraction to others. Being aware of if and when you’re fertile and when you’re not can provide insight into why your Tinder habits change throughout the month. When you’re fertile you tend to have a higher sex drive and might find yourself attracted to different kinds of men. You could see a significant shift between your interaction with potential partners around ovulation in comparison to the week before your period. Knowing this information can add another layer to your dating game – helping you to keep on top of what’s infatuation, simply lust, and those relationships that could become more.

3. When you’re single and not practicing FAM, a late period can cause a whole lot of stress. You think you must be pregnant and can spend days unable to focus on anything else. When you do practice FAM your charts tell you when to expect your period or if it might be late this cycle. Plus, because you know when you’re fertile, if you have a condom mishap you will be well aware from the timing whether there’s any chance that could have led to pregnancy. So instead of waiting anxiously each cycle for a sign of your period arriving, you can just relax and feel confident and in control.

4. Practicing FAM and using condoms (even better condoms and a natural spermicide) is a highly effective way of keeping you safe from unplanned pregnancy. Many single women feel pressured by their partners or by their doctor, or both, to be on hormonal birth control. Yet hormonal birth control can lower your libido, make sex less enjoyable, and skew who you’re attracted to – and that’s just a few of the side effects. Because you don’t ovulate on the pill or most other hormonal birth control methods, you don’t get to experience that heightened sense of attractiveness and attraction to others that comes with the ovulatory phase. The cautionary tales about women who’ve met someone when on the pill and come off later, only to find they’re no longer attracted to that someone, are more than cautionary tales and actually find foundation in research studies.

5. Experiencing a menstrual cycle, unmedicated by hormonal birth control, has many benefits for your health. Tracking your cycle can reveal any issues with your fertility and overall health early on. The information you get from your fertility signs and charts, can help your healthcare provider to diagnose a thyroid problem, infertility issue, endometriosis, PCOS or even provide indicators of food allergies. Early diagnosis can be crucial for getting effective treatment, especially for reproductive health issues. Your charts can even reveal the impact of stress on your body and prompt you to take action. Even if you’re using a hormone-free IUD as your primary method of avoiding pregnancy, you can still enjoy this important benefit of practicing FAM.

Holly Grigg-Spall – Marketing Consultant and Blog Editor

When she came off the birth control pill after 10 years in 2009, Holly decided to write a blog about the experience. That blog became a series of articles, and then book, “Sweetening the Pill,” which then inspired a feature documentary, currently in production and executive produced by Ricki Lake.

Talking To Your Doctor About The Fertility Awareness Method For Preventing Pregnancy (How doctors react, and how you could respond) By Holly Grigg-Spall

Once you decide to come off the birth control pill or get your IUD removed, once you’ve done your research into alternatives for preventing pregnancy, and once you’ve discovered the Fertility Awareness Method, then at some point you’ll probably have to have a conversation with your OB-GYN.

At first, if you have an IUD you’ll be asking for its removal; if you’re on the Pill or another hormonal birth control method you’ll be turning down the next prescription. At that point your doctor might want to know why you no longer want to use that method of contraception. They also might want to know what you plan on doing to prevent pregnancy in the future. Many of the women who’ve been there already report back that this can be a tricky conversation to have, made more so if you are dealing with side effects and don’t feel like your best self at the time.

Of course, there are doctors that know to support their patients’ decisions, especially well-researched decisions, and they will be open, curious, compassionate, and may even know a lot already about the Fertility Awareness Method. However, there are also doctors who – mostly due to lack of education in medical school about contraception beyond just the hormonal methods – who will have a different reaction. It’s possible you might experience some pushback over hormone-free birth control and cycle charting. Your doctor might prefer to persuade you to give another hormonal method a try – like the implant, shot, or ring – or to give the method you’re already using just a few more months.

Yet, when you have made the decision to practice the Fertility Awareness Method, it’s usually because you’re done with hormonal birth control and the side effects or you haven’t enjoyed the IUD and you’re absolutelyready to make the change. You know this is right for you.

So, what are some of the questions or concerns you might expect to hear from your doctor and how might you respond? We take a look at some of the ways this conversation can go.

Reaction: Do you want to try another, different, more effective method first? Like the implant/shot/ring/IUD? It has less side effects/lower hormone levels/a different formulation (delete as applicable).

Response: No. I’m done with hormonal birth control. Synthetic hormones are synthetic hormones and I’ve had enough experience with them now to know I don’t like what they do or how they make me feel. I know that another kind of pill or device might be different, but in the end they all have side effects of some kind and I’m tired of putting myself through this. Now that I know I don’t have to, that I can instead use the Fertility Awareness Method, which is definitely, completely side effect free – I honestly feel liberated from having to give anything else hormonal or invasive a try, and playing Russian Roulette with my health.

Or: The IUD isn’t working for me. Even though it’s low hormone/hormone free, I still experienced side effects. I thought this was going to finally be the solution for preventing pregnancy for me and it’s not. I’m sure it’s great for some of your patients, but it’s not something I’m comfortable with continuing.

Please support me in this decision, knowing that I’m serious, and that I need and appreciate your support.

Reaction: I’m confused, are you hoping to get pregnant sometime soon though?

Response: No, like I said, I’m not ready for a baby yet, and won’t be for some time. Fertility Awareness Based Methods can be as effective as the Pill for preventing pregnancy as long as you monitor the fertility signs – such as basal body temperature, cervical fluid, cervix position. I know that generally in mainstream medicine  you only talk about cycle charting when a woman is trying to get pregnant, and even then it’s often Rhythm Method-based (like saying all women will ovulate on the 14th day of a 28 day cycle). However, when you track fertility signs daily you can use this information to better achieve AND avoid pregnancy – you can pinpoint your most fertile day and know when you’re not fertile and cannot get pregnant. The principles are the same. When I’m in my fertile window I plan to either abstain from PIV sex, or use a barrier method like a condom/diaphragm/cervical cap. The Fertility Awareness Based Method I’ve chosen is the Daysy fertility computer, which is 99.3% accurate- it relies on the fertility sign of basal body temperature.

Reaction: I’m doubtful that you’ll find it easy to abstain from sex half the month and I’m concerned that the barrier methods you mentioned are not effective enough.

Response: I may decide to abstain from PIV sex (the kind that makes babies) for my fertile window – which is actually about 9 days for me right now, so less than half a month. However, there are a lot of other ways a couple can be sexually intimate without getting evem close to the possibility of pregnancy. I’m kind of looking forward to making this more a part of my sex life! I know that if I use a condom plus a spermicide like Contragel that I’m well protected, with an effectiveness of 95%. In addition, if something were to go wrong with my barrier method, like a break or slip, then I would know I’d need to react quickly to make sure pregnancy doesn’t occur. I’ll be making an informed, educated decision about what to do next.

Reaction: You know that when you come off your hormonal birth control you may find the reason you went on will come back i.e. your acne/heavy periods/cramps/bloating?

Response: I imagine some of those issues might return, at first, as the hormonal birth control did not work as a treatment (despite what I was told) and was actually only a band-aid to cover up my symptoms. However, there are many positive things about experiencing a cycle that I’m looking forward to, including being free of side effects, but also having my sex drive back; feeling more connected to the world and my partner; feeling more energized; my creativity, my changing/shifting emotions and abilities during each phase;  a stronger sense of touch, smell, taste; and experiencing the full spectrum of my hormonal cycle. Not to mention the longterm benefits of ovulating regularly – for my bone, heart and breast health.  One of the benefits of using the Daysy fertility computer is that I can share my charts with you via email. These charts can help a doctor diagnose certain health issues like thyroid problems more quickly and effectively than blood tests alone. I’d be happy to share my charts with you, if you might be interested. I also know now that there are ways to treat the root cause of problems like cramps and heavy bleeding and I plan on taking steps to change my diet, lifestyle and use supplements, as needed. I know I’m going to feel better than I do now with these side effects.

Reaction: It sounds like a lot of work, do you have the time to do what is needed to follow the Fertility Awareness Method? I’m worried you won’t be able to be consistent in doing this.

Response: I know I’m super busy all the time. I have a packed work schedule. But I took the time to research all the Fertility Awareness Based Methods out there. I decided that charting my signs with a regular basal body thermometer may take more time and effort than I am able to give right now. That’s why I chose the Daysy fertility computer. It takes 30 seconds a day for me to take my basal body temperature and get my fertility status for the day. It does all the analysis and interpretation for me. So, whereas charting manually and learning the rules of, say, the Sympto-Thermal Method of Fertility Awareness might be great for some women, I know it’s not the right choice for me. Just like there are lots of different hormonal birth control options on the menu; there are actually lots of different Fertility Awareness Based Methods on the other, hormone-free menu! Because I’m used to hormonal birth control/the IUD, I feel good using a medically certified device that gives me the confidence to learn more about my body and practice natural birth control.

To read “Reactions people have when you tell them you use the Fertility Awareness Method” click here.


by Holly Grigg-Spall, Marketing Consultant and Blog Editor

When she came off the birth control pill after 10 years in 2009, Holly decided to write a blog about the experience. That blog became a series of articles, and then book, “Sweetening the Pill,” which then inspired a feature documentary, currently in production and executive produced by Ricki Lake. She is a fertility awareness and body literacy advocate and educator, a Daysy enthusiast, and excited to help more women come off the birth control pill and find a natural, effective alternative.


The 5 Best Reasons To Go Off Hormonal Birth Control

The 5 best reasons to go off hormonal birth control:

1) You’ll enjoy sex more! It’s pretty much guaranteed that hormonal birth control has thrown cold water on your sex life in some way, at some point. Whether it’s made you less interested in sex, reduced your sexy dreams, given you less lubrication, pelvic pain or a harder time getting orgasms. Taking a pill to prevent you from getting pregnant, that then stops you wanting to even do the thing that might get you pregnant anyway is one of life’s cruelest jokes on women. We think not having to worry about getting pregnant will be the most amazing aphrodisiac (it makes sense!), but these synthetic hormones have the effect of removing the libido peaks all women would otherwise get with their non-medicated cycle. For many women, coming off the Pill is a revelation, because all of a sudden they really want sex, like physically want it, in this strong way they may not have felt since they were a teenager.

2) You’ll improve your relationship. Our body’s own hormones impact how we react to other people and how they respond to us. Many studies have shown that using the Pill causes men to behave differently around women and skews how women feel about men. Some experts even recommend women try coming off the Pill before marrying their long-term partner, just to check that they’re actually attracted to him. If you’re single, you might find not using the Pill helps you tune in better to your intuition when it comes to seeking out a date. If you’re in a relationship, coming off might cure any doubts you have. Not feeling solely responsible for preventing pregnancy is also really important for some women – sharing that part of a relationship can open you both up to more communication and intimacy.

3) You’ll experience all the feelings. Although the Pill can help some women avoid the perils of PMS (that said, there are better ways…), many women decide to come off the Pill because they feel it has caused them, conversely, to experience mood swings, depression or anxiety. The effect of hormonal birth control on your mood might be obvious to you now, or you might be questioning how it makes you feel after a decade or more of using it. For others, these methods of contraception cause a “blah” or dulled-down feeling that means they find it hard to get excited or feel really happy or enjoy life to the fullest. Everyone’s different. Going Pill-free can bring in a whole range of feelings and mood changes – some women have said it’s like coming out from under a cloud or from behind a veil. Colors are brighter, tastes better, and smells sweeter, a bit like when Dorothy switches from black-and-white Kansas to technicolor Oz! But without the weird little wizard man.

4) You’ll up your fitness game. This is a little-known fact unless you hang out with professional athletes – hormonal birth control actually prevents you from gaining muscle effectively. Some athletes have also noticed that the Pill makes them retain water weight through bloating. This all links back to testosterone – the Pill pretty much wipes out women’s testosterone levels which you need for energy, sex drive, and for building your strength and fitness. So, choosing non-hormonal birth control might actually help with your goal to tackle a triathlon this year or just to lose those 10 extra pounds. At the very least, it might make it less of a drag to get to the gym a couple of times a week.

5) You’ll stop worrying about scary headlines. Unfortunately, some methods of hormonal birth control cannot be categorized as safe. We’re seeing more and more in the media about the blood clot risks associated with the Pill and other hormonal methods like the NuvaRing and that’s because new brands with new formulations have been shown to have a significantly higher risk than the hormonal birth control methods of the past. You may have even already swapped your method because you read an article or your doctor mentioned the issue. As we get older our bodies change, we gain weight, we might be more sedentary – and as such our personal set of risks change. If the headlines have made you uneasy and you don’t feel like you should be at risk of death just because you want to avoid pregnancy (especially when there are so many other options out there for you), then coming off hormonal birth control can be a big sigh of relief.

Written by on Dec. 16, 2015

You’re reading The Daysy Planet. The most accurate, all-natural, fertility management solution for planning or preventing pregnancy. 99.3% accurate. Advanced tech with proven pedigree. Hormone-free, elegant, easy. Meet Daysy.

photo courtesy of Daysy.me

How To Build A FAM Village Of Support: The Roses Of Fertility Awareness


Ladies, last month I told ya’ll about a not-so-great run in with a nurse-practitioner when I told her I was using FAM. By the way she was talking, this woman was basically asking me, “Have you bought your maternity jeans yet?” Uh. No.

Can a sista’ get some support here?

So, I want to take a couple of minutes and share with y’all positive reactions I’ve gotten from people that I’ve shared my FAM-life with. It’s about the support and the community you build…you know what I’m sayin’?

We all need a little support, right? Especially when we do something that’s different from what the people around us are doing, like eating fresh vegetables in the Mayonnaise and Fried Foods World of the South (a battle I fight everyday living in rural North Carolina) or being the first one in your family or community to go to college, get divorced, or breastfeed. When we make empowered choices in our lives, it’s nice to have a little back up or network of social support, right?! Some people call this “building your village.”

Here’s how I’ve built my FAM village of support:

FAM Village #1 – Friends who have supported my seemingly crazy choices before. Last summer I stealthily bought “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” after I had had quite enough of the Pill. After a few months of hard work, I needed some friends (outside of my partner) to give me some love for going down this seemingly singular path of birth control. The first friends I went to were either the ones that I had seen make empowered healthy decisions themselves or ones with whom had supported me before when I went against the grain to do something I believed in (like hyphenating my last name and deciding to become a midwife). Sure enough, when I told these friends about my journey from the Pill to FAM, none of these women batted an eyelash. I even found out that a couple of them were experimenting with FAM themselves!


FAM Village #2 – Colleagues who support women. I study and work in the public health world, which is focused (for good reason) on what prevents diseases and supports the health of populations. When it comes to birth control, this is usually best done by providing condoms, IUDs, and hormonal contraception to women free of cost. So, I was a little worried that my colleagues would think that I had jumped ship on the whole public health thing. And, some did. As I (carefully) shared what I was trying out, some people raised their eyebrows in skepticism. That’s to be expected, right? I did, however, find a lot of women who saw women as individual with the capacity to make the best decisions for themselves. These colleagues were (not surprisingly) the most supportive.


FAM Village #3 – The internet. Oh, the interwebs. You can anything, including supportive communities for FAM. I’ve gotten emails from other women who have been trying out FAM, who study it, and who write about it. Although I can’t just grab a drink with these women whenever I want, connecting with them via the internet has been cool to see what others are doing and why they are doing it. I can also send them messages to tell them what a kick-ass job they are doing preventing their pregnancies and knowing their bodies. Here are some fun blogs to check out.



Learn To Trust Your Cervical Fluid! The Roses Of Fertility Awareness

It’s all good and fine to go on about learning to love my body and empowering myself to learn about my reproductive health, but how’s a woman to actually go about tracking her fertility? Remember that the goal is to NOT get pregnant?

To be honest, learning the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) is a work in progress. And, I’m still progressing. I’ve been off hormonal birth control for about four months, and I’m still using condoms every time. I’m learning to trust my body.

There are three ways of tracking your fertility: taking your basal body temperature, (your body temperature when you first wake up) looking at changes in your cervical fluid (think cum, but for the lady-folk), and the position and texture of your cervix. So, I’ve gotten real intimate real fast with my body.

Now, I’m going to break down the first sign (tracking your temperature) as best as I understand, but let me just say that if you’re actually considering trying out these shenanigans, you should read this book, and go to this website. These people know way more than I do.

The first way of tracking your body’s cycle is taking your temperature first thing in the morning. I mean, like, first thing. Like, you can’t get out of bed before you do this because you’ll mess it up. The great thing about this sign is that it’s really easy for your partner to be involved. My husband helps out by sticking the thermometer into my mouth at the first sound of the alarm (Okay, maybe after one snooze…). I lay there half asleep while he does all the work. Loving it so far, dear reader? Thought so. I downloaded this form to help me keep track of it all.  I started with only this sign because feeling up my cervix seemed intimidating.

Let me just say that those that said that it takes 21 days to form a habit are liars. Maybe if the habit was drinking wine or watching The Bachelor. It took me two months to get into the swing of tracking my temperature! It’s pretty interesting though; your temperature is relatively low (about 97ish degrees) during the first phase of your cycle, and then it shifts up a few degrees after you ovulate, or release an egg. When this happens, USE THE CONDOM! Control the births!

Now that I have the hang of it, it’s pretty great. Using the chart helps me see how long my cycles are. My first charted cycle was 36 days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next (long, but still normal, ladies!)! I would have had a complete pregnancy scare/heart attack had I not seen the shift in my body temperature! How empowering is that?

I’m at the point now where I’m loving feeling the changes in my cervix (look forward to that next post, y’all). I’m loving not putting hormones in my body, I love involving my partner, and slowly but surely, I’m learning to love my body.

The Roses Of Fertility Awareness: One Woman’s Experience With Natural Birth Control

Hey there! I’m Rose.

I’m in my mid-20’s, and I’m a southern woman here in the good ole US of A. I’m new to SuzyKnew.

I’m going to take you through my adventures of using fertility awareness as a contraceptive method on my page The Roses Of Fertility Awareness. I just started this year.

So, what’s this all about? Becoming aware of your fertility or times during your cycle when you’re most likely to become pregnant, so you can avoid vaginal sex or use a condom or diaphragm (barrier methods) to avoid getting pregnant.  Some people call this “natural birth control” or “natural family planning.”

When I started learning online about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), one thing became very clear: I had to learn to be okay with being intimate with my body.

Here in the States – as in many places – the human body has long been held up as both sacred and dirty, dating all the way back to the days of dear old Victorian morality and sexuality, and confusing and disempowering women (and men) for hundreds of years. This mindset has deeply pervaded our mind, affecting individuals of all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic statuses, teaching us to both hate and be estranged with our own bodies – an internalized phobia, if you will.

And of course, this phobia and hate has been un-proportionally put on us lady folk. Little boys masturbate? Oh, it’s just a part of growing up. Little girls masturbate? Call in the abstinence-only educators! Women are often blamed in sexual assault. Well, what was she wearing?  She was asking for it. The Pill was (and is in some parts of the world) denied to women because of the fear that she would have sex with whomever she wanted whenever she wanted (Oh God, no!). In the States, breastfeeding in public is seen as inappropriate. But, media is constantly bombarding us with boobs as sexual playthings for men, right? African American women’s bodies, in particular, have historically been over-sexualized and -publicized and owned collectively by both black and white men.

And, so our bodies are seen as sexual and sensual, while at the same time dirty and somebody else’s. We don’t know or love our own bodies.

One reason I decided to try FAM was that I wanted to buck this misogyny and know and be empowered by my body. Oh, and not get pregnant…by the way!  For me, hormonal birth control, while it had offered me immense freedom and protection in the past (and clearly for many women it continues to do so, hooray for contraception!), was controlling my body. It was another external source dictating what my body could and could not do.  I wanted to cut out this external substance and see what my body would be like when left to its own volition.