What are FABMs?
AKA Fertility Awareness Based Methods & is it right for you?
What is the Fertility Awareness Method?
There are a few different Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs). Each of them is dedicated to teaching how a woman’s cycle works using her body’s signs. The goal of each method is to identify whether or not ovulation is occurring.
The method that I teach is the Sympto-Thermal method which uses cervical mucus & basal body temperature. I am certified in the Sympto-Hormonal method and can teach the use of LH strips to help confirm ovulation if interested, or if we need an additional biomarker to get a clear picture of what is happening in someone’s cycle. Each method has to include an estrogenic sign (cervical mucus) in order to truly track her cycle because the rise and fall of estrogen is a major part of ovulation.
How does it work?
First, you have to decide which method you would like to use. If you are interested in researching other methods, you can look into Billings (cervical mucus only) or TCYOF, Taking Charge of Your Fertility (cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and cervix). You should stay away from shortcut methods like the Calendar Method.
Additionally, you need to be weary of period tracker apps, and especially of Natural Cycles. All of these apps use an algorithm to predict your cycle. Natural Cycles goes a step further and tracks basal body temperature on top of the algorithm. While it may be FDA-approved, it does not work. FAM methods have to have an estrogenic biomarker in order to know your fertile window.
What’s the commitment?
The time commitment depends on what you are learning it for. If you aim to learn on your own it will take longer than with the help of an instructor. If you want to use it for natural birth control, you should not trust the method until you’ve been charting for six cycles, whereas with an instructor you could trust the method by cycle three!
It does take time to learn the method, but it is worth it! The body literacy you will gain is invaluable information you will have for a lifetime.
If you are interested in a comparison between FAM and hormonal birth control, visit here.
How can you learn?
The least expensive route is to borrow, buy, or rent Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. This book is the holy grail of FAM! For myself personally, I read the book, and charted for about 4 cycles, but still decided I needed to take a class to feel fully confident in the method and that I understood it right.
Since this is a knowledge-based method, it is really important to fully understand the rules and reasoning behind what you do and why to chart the way it asks us to. I found that my confidence grew much faster with an instructor reviewing my charts and encouraging me throughout the learning process than only reading a book and articles on my own.
I offer a few different classes for learning FAM (symptothermal, symptohormonal- or both!) in order for you to fully understand the method, ask as many questions as you like, and gain confidence in your charting!