You might hear someone toss around the words, “We knew we were pregnant before the test because I charted.” What does this mean? How time consuming is FAM? Can anyone do it? Where do you start?
FAM tracks your monthly cycle, allowing you to know when you are about to ovulate (or if you did), and if done carefully enough, can even indicate a very early miscarriage. FAM can be used two main ways; temperature and cervical mucus. These can also be combined for more accurate and steady indicators.
As an example, I used FAM before we got pregnant with the twins. I charted and 6 weeks later we were pregnant. Because I knew the exact day I conceived them, I was able to let my midwife know that my period was not an accurate indicator of how far along they were, because my cycle had been unusually lengthy. Turns out I was right, while the medical staff said I was 10 weeks and 4 days, the ultrasound showed clearly both boys were 9 weeks along. Just like my chart showed.
This is important because – well – think of the chances of being induced because I’m a week and a half overdue according to them, when in reality I’d be right on schedule.
A typical FAM style is to wake up as close to the same time each morning as possible. Before doing anything else, take your temperature. If you do anything else, your body temp begins to rise. Even going to the bathroom. Buying a basal body thermometer records the small variations in your temperature. Your body temperature will only rise between 0.4 and 1 degree Fahrenheit when you ovulate, but because of tracking several weeks beforehand, this will usually look like a huge jump in your chart.
Checking your cervical mucus is a fairly simple way of tracking ovulation. After a period, there are usually 3-4 days of dryness. Then cervical mucus increases, you may have noticed this in past years. Ovulation occurs on the day you record it as slippery, stretchy, and most like an egg white. After a few months of this, it’s very easy to recognize in comparison with other days. It should be able to easily be stretched between your fingers without breaking at this point.
Sound gross? Believe me, once you’re pregnant, that’ll sound like dinner time talk.
Recording both the temps and body fluids together gives you a high chance of either avoiding pregnancy or achieving it, barring any complications. The method described above is more for achieving pregnancy, be sure to find more resources on avoiding it than what is mentioned here.
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