Fertility Awareness Guide: Natural Family Planning

What is the fertility awareness method (FAM)?

Fertility awareness (also called natural family planning or FAM) is a method to check the regular changes in a woman's body as it goes through during a menstrual cycle. This information can help you learn when you are fertile, if and when you ovulate, and when to have intercourse to improve your chances of getting pregnant (or not getting pregnant).

Pregnancy usually begins as a result of intercourse when the egg becomes fertilized, but it has to be at the right time and circumstance. Conception begins when the sperm fertilizes an egg (fertilization), and the egg subsequently implants in the uterus (conception). The egg can survive after ovulation for 12-24 hours and sperm can survive in a woman's genital tract for up to 5 days. Fertilization is more likely though if the sperm meets the egg closer to ovulation.

Natural family planning can improve your chances of getting pregnant. However, it's lousy as a contraceptive method.

A woman is usually able to get pregnant for about 5 days each month: the day of ovulation and the 4-5 days before the day of ovulation.  On average, ovulation occurs 14 days before the next menstrual period begins. So ovulation would occur on about day 14-15 of a 28-day menstrual cycle, or day 21 of a 35-day cycle. Sperm can live for 4 to 5 days in a woman's reproductive tract, so it is possible to become pregnant if sex occurs up to 4-5 days before ovulation, but your best chances of getting pregnant are when you have intercourse the day of ovulation and the 1-2 days prior to that day. Find out when you ovulate by using our ovulation calculator!

Calendar method

Calendar Method

Fertility temperature charting

Cervical mucus method

Methods of fertility awareness

Ovulation & fertility

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Learn more about other birth control methods in our Birth Control Guide!

Read More:
How To Choose A Birth Control Pill
Cervical Cap
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Vaginal Ring
The Birth Control Patch 

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