Post # 1
I know there are a fair number of NFPers on here who are avoiding for a short time/avoided for a short time, or who are TTC, but what about ladies who want to wait a few years first?
Our wedding is September 13, which gives me 50 days to figure charting out. We aren’t virgins and have been intimate together maaany times, but I’m done with hormones killing my sex drive, so once my fiance gave the green light yesterday, I dove in head first to learning FAM for mainly secular reasons.
I am JUST starting to see FAM as a real choice, will probably lean towards Creighton or Sympto-Thermal Method (STM). I have an appointment with an RN who is a Catholic NFP instructor next Tuesday, but I also plan to use a diaphragm every day we get busy (gyno appointment Wednesday), at least at the first year, with withdrawal + diaphragm on the iffy days, and condom + diaphragm during the peak 2-3 days.
What do you think? Will this work? What did/do you do? I’m really looking to hear from ladies with experience in this, especially FAM rather than (or at least in addition to) NFP. Tell me EVERYTHING!!
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Post # 2
I am a huge advocate of the FAM for trying to avoid pregnancy! We just started TTC this month but I had been using the Sympto-Thermal Method for 2 years prior with no issues. I wasn’t comfortable just using the Billings Method since cervical mucous is sometimes hard to interpret on it’s own without basal body temperature confirmation but that was my personal choice. There were no Catholic NFP instuctors in my area so I would have had to take lessons online so I decided to just figure it out on my own. I highly suggest picking up a copy of Taking Charge of Your Own Fertility and read through it before you start. And if you decide to chart your cycles, sign up for an account on the TCOYF or Fertility Friend website. They are a great help! We used condoms for a few cycles until I had a good understanding of how to interpret my fertility signs and after that we only used condoms when I started to show signs of being fertile. Once I was able to confirm that I ovulated, we ditched the condoms for the rest of my cycle.
Let me know if you have any questions!
Post # 3
peanut88: My husband and I used FAM to avoid for a year – we’re finally TTC now, but it worked great for us! We plan to go back to using it after we have our first baby until we’re ready to TTC again. We used condoms all the time for awhile, but once I felt confident in interpreting my chart and my signs, we only used them through the end of my fertile window.
Post # 4
peanut88: Can you explain what FAM is? Is it the same as NFP? (avoiding fertile times?)
I dislike condoms and am coming off the pill in September to TTC in 2015- but I really don’t want to get pregnant before 2015 haha so I am very interested in any other methods that aren’t hormonal/condoms
Post # 5
peanut88: I absolutely think that FAM is a valid way to avoid pregnancy. Just make sure that for the first few months, while you wait for your cycles to regulate (if you’re coming off the pill) or even just while trying to get used to reading your cycles/temping/checking cervical fluid etc, use a backup form of birth control!
Also, please PLEASE be aware that this is not a foolproof method of avoiding pregnancy. I was SUPER on the ball with it when DH and I were using it, extremely dilligent with temping, fluids, using OPKs etc, and we still managed to get pregnant. We aren’t sure how it even happened… According to every sign, I ovulated late the cycle I got pregnant. We had sex unprotected 7 days prior to my actual ovulation date, condom sex 5 days before I ovulated, and nothing after than (DH was on a business trip and out of town). So either in RARE cases, sperm can live for longer than 5 days, or I ovulated on schedule (rather than the 10 days late I was thinking based on EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM, opk, fluid, etc) and my temp just didn’t go up for 10 days…
This is not to scare or deter you from using this method, but I was seriously involved in it and dedicated to making it work, and now I’m 22 weeks pregnant. But this could have happened had we used ANY method of birth control. FWIW, we intend to use FAM to avoid again in the future, and will just be extra extra careful to avoid DH’s super sperm haha
Post # 6
- Wedding: April 2013 - Valparaiso, IN
What is FAM? I’m kind of sick of being on the pill, and my husband didn’t really like the idea of NFP. He thinks it’s too risky. Haha
Post # 7
MrsWoods47: My understanding is that with FAM, you use a backup birth control method during your fertile times, whereas with NFP, you abstain during fertile times.
Post # 8
We used FAM/NFP for 3 months before we started TTC. We had used condoms as our only method of birth control prior to FAM, so I knew what my normal cycles were like. I did not temp (couldn’t do it at the same time every day), but I monitored cervical mucous, other physical/emotional symptoms, and I kept track on the calendar. We started off just ditching condoms when it was obvious that my period would be on its way soon, and as we got more comfortable with that, for the appropriate amount of time after my period, too.
I think the key things to making FAM work for you are being diligent about temping and tracking symptoms, having a regular cycle, and being open to pregnancy. Like others have said, it is not 100% foolproof, and if you absolutely would not be okay with getting pregnant, I wouldn’t do it. You’d stress yourself out at the end of every month waiting for your period.
Post # 9
MrsWoods47: I am planning to use a diaphragm all the time and also pulling out during the whole third of the cycle that is listed as fertile on online charts, except on the days my temperature & cervical fluid chart show would be my actually fertile days, when we will use condoms. Until I feel more confident in my abilities to tell which days are which, or until we are feeling a little more open to the possibility of getting pregnant at the time.
Like I said, I’m just starting learning, but my fiance went from “WTF” to on board within one night. Even Planned Parenthood shows the failure rate of one FAM method (sympothermal method) as 0.4 out of 100 (4 in 1,000).
Post # 10
mkat37: I ordered TCOYF cant wait to get it in the mail! How long do you think it took to figure out charting on your own?
future_mrs_s: that did scare me, but hey can happen on the pill too, and that you are going to use FAM again does rebuild some of that confidence. Congratuations, btw!
Boxerlover24: unlike with NFP, when you practice FAM, you aren’t JUST charting your symptoms to determine fertile times and abstaining other days, you use back up methods. My main back up is going to be a diapragm (I think) but since we’re really not trying to get pregnant until 2017 or 2018, I’m going to use that all the time so long as it doesn’t bother either of us. We’ll do a combo of pulling out and condoms on the ‘bad days’
Post # 11
DH and I have been using FAM since late April and will continue to do so until next July or August when we begin TTC, so close to 1 1/2 years. I’m absolutely loving it, though it does take your body some time to regulate when you’re coming off hormonal BC. I was on the pill for 8 years and while it was very effective, I was tired of the synthetic hormones and wanted to feel like ‘me’ again. DH was a bit skeptical at first because he was so used to me being on BCPs, but now he really enjoys it. Here’s a breakdown for those:
Those who use the Fertility Awareness Method check bodily signs each day to determine what part of our cycle we are in. We chart (I use FertilityFriend.com) these signs throughout each cycle to help determine ovulation and when AF will arrive. The three signs are:
1) Basal Body Temperature (BBT)-check each morning with a thermometer right when you wake up (before getting out of bed). This needs to be checked at the same time each morning for accuracy. Most women have lower temps before they ovulate and see a temperature spike (called a temp shift) once they have ovulated.
2) Cervical Mucus (CM)- this is the fluid that is produced by the cervix throughout your cycle. CM progresses throughout your cycle-Dry (no fluid; usually follows just after AF), Sticky, Creamy, Eggwhite (**Fertile!**). Determining your CM helps you know when you’re at your fertile peak.
*You can check CM two ways: externally at the vaginal opening or internally at the Cervix. You need to do it the same way each time. I prefer internally as it allows me to better determine CM.
3) Cervical Position (Optional-but if you check CM internally you can’t help but notice). The Cervix changes position based on the time of your cylce. At the beginning/end of each cycle (right after AF or right before AF) my Cervix is very high up and hard. During my fertile window it is lower in the vagina (to allow easier access for semen) and is much softer, and the Cervical Os (the opening to the uterus) is open.
Technically, a woman can *usually* only get pregnant one day a month (when the egg is actually released). So actually becoming pregnant takes either luck or orchestration. The reason we use barrier methods for longer than a day is that fertile quality CM (Eggwhite or watery) can allow sperm to live for up to 5 days. The general rule of thumb is that once you have ovulated (usually you ovulate and then see a temp shift a day or two later depending on what time you actually ovulated) you have to chart three higher temps above the coverline, the line determine by the highest of your 6 temps prior to the temp shift, before having unprotected sex again. I highly recommend reading Taking Control of Your Fertility (I bought my copy for a couple of dollars off Amazon) for further information. Good luck!
Post # 12
Oh, I also want to get the clearblue fertility monitor to help me figure out if I am reading my symptoms right
Post # 13
If anyone thinking about FAM wants to see an example of a chart here is the link to mine: http://www.fertilityfriend.com/home/KatiePi. I ovulated late this cycle (CD28), probably because as this is only cycle 3 off BCP, my body is still regulating itself. I’m in my Luteal Phase (LP) now, the phase after ovulation but before AF. The length of your LP is really important for when you do try to become pregnant (you want a length between 12-16 days). Also, what’s interesting, and sometimes really frustrating, is that the length from the beginning of your cycle to ovulation can be totally irregular each cycle (for example 1 month mine was 17 days, last month it was 20, this month 28) but a woman’s LP is almost completely consistent (11 days, 12 days, 16 days) within about a one day range. I’m currently trying to lengthen my LP, which has been averaging 10 days, so when it is time to TTC the egg will have time to implant properly in the uterus. Fun stuff lol!
Post # 14
peanut88: Thank you!! Very helpful 🙂
Post # 15
Sorry to dig up an old post, but found this helpful. Does anyone have an app they can suggest for Iphone that can help track for beginners?