Fertility awareness is an awesomely effective method of birth control. It’s especially cool that it’s totally natural and can be so effective.
But what does an efficacy rate tell us? It definitely tells us how effective a method can be, but that is with perfect use. What does perfect use mean, though, and what factors might make it less likely that you personally wouldn’t use it perfectly (or would)?
Perfect use of fertility awareness is all about learning the method well and sticking to the rules. Contrary to what seems to be popular opinion on the internet, perfect use is very possible (as it is with all birth control methods). This is not one of those times that you say “no one is perfect”.
That being said, it does take some work to be perfect, and also motivation.
Here are some of the important pieces to using fertility awareness perfectly (and achieving the bombass effectiveness rates):
- You are motivated (and your partner is)
- You have been taught the method well
- You have had follow-up with a teacher
- You follow all of the rules
- You interpret your charts correctly
- You record your fertility signs on the daily
That all mostly boils down to learning the method well, getting your questions answered, and actually using the method, but let’s break it down.
Since the sympto-thermal method requires that you do things every day, follow-rules, and those rules= either abstaining or using another birth control method during some of your cycle it can be rather easy to say “meh… do I really care?” If you only half don’t want to become pregnant.
Having personal experience with going through times that I didn’t care at all if I got pregnant, I never had an issue with this myself, but hubs was always more adverse to an accidnetal pregnancy. So it kept me on the straight and narrow ;)
Learning the method well
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: You need at least ONE COMPLETE education in the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness through a comprehensive book or class with a certified fertility awareness educator. Some people will do better with a couple different sources of information, but you always need at least one comprehensive one. Do not try to piece together info from multiple places and people or learn the method entirely from googling. You will not have a complete understanding.
This is all about getting your questions answered. All highly rate efficacy studies have included learning from an instructor and working with them to follow-up while they were learning. It’s important stuff, yo.
Following the rules
This one is kind of obvious, but if you know how to determine your potential fertile time and then decide to consciously have unprotected intercourse during a day that might be fertile based on the rules you could very well be having unprotected intercourse during a fertile day and get pregnant. Follow them rules!
Having a correct interpretation of your charts
This is half good teaching/learning and half rules. Just make sure you learn the method well :)
You record your fertility signs every day
If you aren’t always charting you have a high probability of forgetting things and you have less data to go off of with interpretations. Less data usually means more time you have to consider yourself fertile and if you don’t have high motivation you will get the “fuck it” attitude. It takes 2 seconds, just chart your data.
I like talking about all of this because I think it’s super important to have all information you can when you are thinking about different birth control methods and what will work well for your life.
Even though fertility awareness is really quite simple, there are considerations you should make when you decide to use it. It’s also important to make sure you have everything in place to succeeded when you do use it.
Do you have any barriers to using fertility awareness successfully? Let’s talk about it in the comments.