I have a lot of people ask me about when and how to stop taking the pill and starting fertility awareness. There’s nothing too tricky about it, but sometimes it can be confusing. Should you start charting before you stop taking hormones, or should you come off hormones and start charting only once your cycles get regular?
If you are taking the pill or another kind of hormonal birth control and want to start using fertility awareness, here is what you should do:
1.) Stop taking the hormones! If you want off and are wondering if you have to wait: You don’t! You are not going to be able to start using fertility awareness right after you get off hormones no matter when you get off (though you can start recording your fertility signs at any time, and it’s good practice to start before you can actually use the method just to get in the habit). The only reason you may want to stay on the pill is if you think you might have hormonal issues you are dealing with and want to prepare your body the best that you can. This post from Lara Briden covers when that might be the case.
2.) Take a class in fertility awareness. It’s a good idea to take a class when you are coming off the pill since it can be a more complicated time, but if you don’t want to for whatever reason then you must at least read one book completely teaching the method. Then you can decide what kind of further education you need. For example, one on one consults, a class with a teacher, or something like my cervical fluid masterclass (coming soon!).
3.) Start charting your cycles (this can start before you are off the pill, but if you are charting while on hormones you need to know that you will not be seeing a normal cycle at all, you will be seeing what the synthetic hormones are doing to your cycle).
At this point you are doing it to learn more about your body, get in the habit of charting, and seeing where your hormones might need help. You are not able to use the method as birth control until your cycles regulate (but, luckily, you will see when they regulate because you are charting already) because of the crazy things hormonal birth control can do to your cervical fluid.
4.) Now you get to use the method as birth control. You’ve had your practice charting while your hormones were regulating and you are able to see exactly when they actually become regular again (and your cervical fluid looks normal).
Did you come off hormones and start using fertility awareness? What worked for you?
Are you still on hormonal birth control and want to come off? What are your barriers?
Let me know in the comments!