This guest post is by Raylene A and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
My road to fertility awareness began 20 years ago, when I realized that I couldn’t handle the side effects of the birth control pill. My partner and I attended a class called “The Serena Method of Fertility Awareness,” which is as useful for pregnancy prevention as it is for pregnancy achievement. I don’t consider this a birth control method, as much as a lifestyle; information that we should all have about our bodies. In a survival situation, where other birth control methods are unavailable, this information would be invaluable.
Our bodies are all unique: our cycles differ in length and symptoms and even we change over time. The trick is to pay attention to and learn your own pattern. We first do this by charting the changes of our cycle:
-Temperature: Purchase a basal body thermometer and take your temperature the moment you wake up in the morning. You need to have been asleep for at least 3 hours and be a fairly routine type person. From experience, I know that this doesn’t work for night- shift workers. What you will typically see at ovulation time is a drop of a few tenths of a degree, followed by a spike. The temperature tends to stay up for a few days and then settle where it was pre-ovulation. If pregnant, the temperature will stay up.
-Your cervix (if you are squeamish about this, then fair warning, it gets worse) : your cervix changes throughout your cycle. Near ovulation it actually gets tucked higher in side you and gets softer. The opening gets a bit bigger. With practice you can discern the subtle differences. Chart these changes to see the pattern.
-Your mucous flow( told you): The characteristics of your discharge also changes throughout your cycle. When you are near ovulation, your flow will increase and become stretchy like egg-whites. After you ovulate, it will change back to a non- stretchy, creamy consistency .Again, chart to see the pattern.
Other things you may start to notice are breast tenderness, mood changes and sex drive that all change throughout your cycle. My husband is very adept to where I am in my cycle just by paying attention to my mood and sex drive!
One thing that remains fairly stable is that most women will get their period 14 days after they ovulate. What changes is the amount of time between the onset of their period and ovulation. This can change due to emotional upset or simply a vacation. This is why counting on a calendar and marking when you should be ovulating will not work, without taking in to account your own symptoms.
I abandoned charting after about the first 2 years. I was an LPN and worked crazy shifts that made temperature taking useless. The other changes I noted mentally and just became part of my lifestyle. Just as the “Pill” is 99 % effective when taken as prescribed, we all know that it isn’t as effective in real life. With fertility awareness it is suggested that you do not have sex until after ovulation each month. This can be very difficult considering that your sex drive is probably highest when there is an egg wanting to be fertilized! To prove this point, I have 4 beautiful children conceived over 20 years, quite by accident, but had I not known this information, I dare say I would have a lot more!
The book that I recommend is “Taking charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler. It is an easy read, stating everything I said, and more, with pictures.
This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:
First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following; (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.
Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.
Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.
Contest ends on August 7 2012.