Birth control spotlight: using the fertility awareness method

Six women discuss how the fertility awareness method (FAM) worked or didn’t work for them

In a day and edge when countless birth control options are available (including the pill and the implant), it may seem backwards to manage fertility the “old school” way. However, the fertility awareness method (FAM) is a tried and true method for some women, and it may be gaining popularity despite other alternatives. In general, there are two main thought processes, as it works for many women but it still has high risks for pregnancy:

  • Many women stand behind by it despite doubts, as the system worked perfectly for their lives and their fertility
  • Although the method works for many people, it is not a fail-safe method, and other birth control options offer much higher success rates

Why FAM works for so many couples

couples holding each other

In general, FAM seems to work best for women who are already familiar with their cycle, or have discussed the possibility of pregnancy with their partner. Some women who have extremely regular cycles can rely on FAM methods such as the rhythm method (which includes a male partner only ejaculating at certain times during their cycle to be safe). For others, “pregnancy wouldn’t have been an issue” so using a natural version of contraception seemed like a good fit. Even still, other women found that “fertility awareness is empowering” and having your own control over your bodily systems turned out to be their favorite form of contraception. Finally, women who have experienced extreme negative effects of prescribed birth control resort to FAM. Some individuals suffer from weight gain, depression, and mood swings among other common systems. When these side effects end up impacting daily life, FAM may be an option to consider.

FAM still has its drawbacks


According to Planned Parenthood, the FAM method approved by the women mentioned above can consist of several different methods: the temperature method, the cervical mucus method and the calendar method. Utilizing all three has the highest success rate, but even then, there is still a high chance for pregnancy. According to the organization, “FAMs are about 76-88% effective: that means 12-24 out of 100 couples who use FAMs will get pregnant each year, depending on which method(s) are used.”

In conclusion, FAM is another birth control method that may work for some, but may not work for others. As always, be sure to consult your doctor for more contraceptive information, and make the decision that is best for your body, your relationship, and your plans for conception.

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