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How to Start Tracking Your Fertility Naturally

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

A Brief Overview on How to Start Tracking Your Fertility with the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) - a holistic approach to birth control, fertility support, and becoming synced with your own body.


In other words, how to prevent or promote starting a fam with FAM.



You may remember that awkward moment like it was yesterday. You were a young girl who had just entered in to womanhood. Through the symbolic portal of menstruation, of course. You may have known that it was coming, warned by your mother or older sister. Or you may have been caught off guard and feared that you, for reasons unknown, had started to have internal bleeding-- send you in to a frenzy.


I wish I could say that it gets better with age (it can!). Even as a woman in her mid-twenties, I feel as though I found this method just a little too late. The more I have learned about the female body, the more that I feel not-so-scared of the crazy things that my body tends to go through on a monthly, even daily, basis.


After dappling with oral contraceptive birth control on and off for years, and asking my practitioner so many questions about alternatives with no avail, I decided t take matters in to my own hands. Of course! Because no one cares about my health the way that I do (except my mom, probably).


I found the fertility awareness method (FAM) originally through my sister, who had started this method shortly before she started trying to become pregnant, and then after a few months, finally did conceive my nephew. I then did my own research through reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, MPH and doing additional research online via public health websites, practitioner blogs, and through research-based articles and resources.


*** This is not me saying that you should do this for birth control. You should talk with your practitioner, do your own personal research, and speak with your spouse before starting a new form of birth control. I am simply presenting you with a form of natural birth control as an option**


So, here are some steps to tracking your fertility naturally through the FAM method! This is what I am currently doing as a form of natural birth control in addition to withdrawal. Sorry if this post is TMI.



Step #1 - Find a good tracking app or do it on paper


Start tracking your cycle the first day of your next period. If you are in the middle of your period now, hopefully you can start asap, as you should be able to recall the date of when your period started. Periods usually last anywhere from 3 - 7 days. Starting during menstruation is a good way to know where you are at in your cycle since bleeding is an obvious sign of when you are at during your menstrual phase. Other phases aren't this obvious. (duh!)


If you are not familiar with the menstrual cycle phases, check out my other blog post explaining each of the phases and why I am opting for natural birth control methods HERE.


Mark each of the days that you are on your period. In the next 12-16 days is when you should be fertile. It is usually a 2-5 day window. But don't stop there! We will talk about more ways to track your fertility other than just knowing what menstrual stage you are in.


More of a paper girl than a high-tech tracker? I also have may a free downloadable cycle tracking graph that you can access when you sign up for my newsletter! Check it out HERE.


I use my Garmin Watch App to track my cycle. There is also the Flo, 28Wellness app, and Natural Cycles App.


As great as the apps are, some are just not as accurate as others. Most apps assume that every woman's menstrual phase is 28 days long. This simply isn't true. Tracking is a great way to figuring out how long your cycle really is. Cycles can last anywhere from 21 - 35 days.


I love to track my cycle by accounting for when my period is, my emotions for each day, and other symptoms like bloating, cervical fluid, energy level, aches/pains, and temperature-- which leads me to the next step in tracking!


Step #2 - Starting Taking Your Temp


Due to increased progesterone levels, your temperature will start to rise when you are heading towards ovulation and will be at your peak point of fertility.


It is important that you check your basal metabolic temperature (body temp) in the morning each day around the same time, right after waking up and before getting out of bed and moving around. This is because our bodies usually warm up when we start to move around. That can throw the temperature off.


Women are usually 96 - 97.7 degree F when they are not ovulating. 97.8 and over is usually a sign that you are approaching ovulation. When charting this temperatures, look for dramatic increase in temperature that stays around for a few days, and then drops again once ovulation is over. This is why it usually takes a few months to get use to the FAM method. You need to know your body and begin to see patterns after tracking your temperature, fluid, and periods each month. Many people recommend usually a secondary form of birth control during this time in order to prevent pregnancy. For example, you may have 96.5 - 97.6 F temperature during your follicular and menstrual phase, and then 97.9 - 98.6 F or higher during your luteal and ovulatory phase of your cycle. The ranges should vary significantly. Give yourself time to get use to the temperature changes and to start seeing patterns.


Things that can interfere with temperature are being sick with fever, alcohol consumption the night prior, taking temperature at significantly different times, irregular use of weighted blankets/heating pads, and less than three consecutive hours of sleep before taking temp.


Consistency is key when tracking your cycles. Do the FAM method for a few months before making it your first source of birth control. After quitting hormonal birth control, it can take anywhere from one month to several months for your period to return to its normal cycle.

Step #3 - Cervical Fluid


Discharge-- let's get this out of the way. It is not gross. It is not abnormal to have discharge. It is your body's way to communicating with you. Don't get freaked out over what is natural but not often talked about.


Cervical fluid, otherwise known as vaginal discharge, is also a great way to know what stage of your menstrual cycle you are in! Try checking cervical fluid while in the restroom or before taking a shower-- whenever is convenient for you. And although this is a taboo thing-- look at your panties if you cannot find cervical discharge when using the restroom. Cervical fluid changes throughout the cycle in a regular order (usually) and this is our way of our bodies communicating with us and preparing for potential conception each month.


Here are the cervical fluids in their usual order in the menstrual cycle and what each type of cervical fluid can mean:

  • Bleeding - Period!

  • Spotting - blood spots post-period, implantation bleeding, or infection

  • Dryness - right after period

  • Tackiness - increased estrogen levels start to cause fluid production. post period white discharge, late follicular phase. This is when you have a pasty discharge that cracks like rubber, low fertility chances

  • Wet/Creamy - preparing for ovulation, low to medium fertility chance

  • Egg White - Clear-white color that look like egg whites and can stretch without breaking. High fertility! This egg white discharge works as protection for sperm to survive in what is normally an acidic vagina.

Your Peak fertility day is the last day of egg white fluid.

Douching, infections, arousal fluids, lubricants and taking antihistamines can mask cervical fluids.


Tracking your cycle and your cervical fluids can also be beneficial for those past childbearing age so that they can keep up with their perimenopause and menopausal symptoms.


Step #4 - Cervical Positioning


I would have to say that cervical positioning can be a little advanced and something that you should not use solely on its own.


S.H.O.W.

S - Softness/firmness

H - Height

O - Opening

W - Wetness


When you are at your peak fertility window, you cervix will be soft, higher and more open than in other stages, and will have more wetness or discharge than at other times. You can tell this by taking your middle finger and reaching it towards your cervix through the vaginal opening. Usually, your cervix will be shallow with a firmness that feels similar to the tip of your nose with some dryness.


Step (Tip) #5 - Consistency is Key


Final tip: stay consistent and do this for a few monthly before committing to it fully. You may be surprised how in touch with you body you feel after sticking with this for a while. On the flip side, if you are someone who is not very disciplined and often forgets daily habits-- this is may not be for you. With this method, you are studying your body very closely in order to develop intuition to know when you are at your highest peak point of fertility.


Other signs and symptoms to record when you are tracking your cycle:

  • Achiness near ovaries

  • Swollen vulva

  • Water retention

  • energy levels

  • sense of smell and vision

  • breast tenderness


Irregularities in tracking with FAM method.


After quitting hormonal birth control, it is possible to have false high temperatures, temps and cervical fluids that do not match their cycle phase, short luteal phases (less than 10 days), and irregular bleeding.


Other things like undiagnosed PCOS, endometriosis, cysts, ovarian abnormalities, and pregnancy can be a reason for nonexistent or inconsistent periods. Traditional birth control is often used as a tool to mask these conditions, not cure them. Oftentimes, when you quit hormonal birth control, your periods will go back to exactly how they were before your period. If you would like to learn more about these conditions and what you can do naturally to improve these through nutrition and lifestyle, Click Here to access of free resources and guides on all things women's nutrition.


Stay Healthy, Y'all!

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