Fertility awareness and survival

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.

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. And, for those of you still fertile, and those that have female children who will eventually become fertile, remember to store baby things in your preps as well.

    • Exactly! Saw “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” at the 2nd hand store the other day and didn’t get it!. Must go back and see if it’s still there. Could be very helpful for others some day.

  2. The cervix and mucus stuff was discovered by the australian doctros Billings. The Billings Ovulation Method is at the heard of most of this “methods”

  3. JP in MT says:

    I’m glad that these issues are in the past for us, but I will keep a copy for the younger set.

  4. ...and the check is in the mail. says:

    Raylene – Isn’t this basically the same as the ‘rythmn method’ that was advocated by the Pope and proved to be so unsucessful?

    • axelsteve says:

      Hey! That method is the reason that I am here!

    • MustangGal says:

      It is not the same as the “rythmn method,” as it is much more in depth. I highly recomment Toni Weschler’s book. “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” should be required reading for every female of child bearing age. I read it in my thirties and couldn’t believe the things I did not know about my own body!

      • I haven’t read it but like I wrote above just before reading this article I’d seen it at the Sally Ann. I’d heard it extremely highly recommended before, but wasn’t thinking right 😉 when I didn’t get it, so I went back today and thankfully it was still there!

    • Gerardo says:

      Don’t be so dim. The Pope never advocated one method or another (not even those developed by catholics). Advocated for don’t be a servant to pharmaceuticals and condom makers that pay money to hide all natural alternatives.

      • MacTex (working to overcome dimwits ever where) says:

        Don’t be naive – so goes the pope, so goes the Catholic church. Perhaps not today so much as the time I am refering to, but none the less. In HUMAN VITAE published in 1968, Pope John Paul VI wrote “It is supremely desireable…that medical science should by the study of natural rythmes suceed in determining a sufficently secure basis for the chaste limitations of offspring.” I was living in Frankfurt at the time and remember what a big ruckus it was as it was interupeted by most theolegians to indicate support of the then-new symptom based ‘fertility awareness’ over the so called Rythm method, which had been developed by a Roman Catholic physician in 1930. Did the pope do ads for condoms? No, but nothing is ever cut and dried in the Catholic church.

  5. I practiced much the same method. Worked well when I wanted very much for it to work. Had my dd @ 27 & several years into marriage. Ds was planned. Then the marriage started to disintegrate, and guess what? Pregnant again. But that failed (the pregnancy & the marriage). The turmoil made me forget to pay attention.
    No birth control is perfect. Tubals fail, vasectomies fail. historecomies(so) fail! Even virginity fails. This system can/does work. And is a valid option. Where ya gonna get the Condoms/iud/pill/shot/patch/abortion/sterization when shtf? This method fails occassionally–humans fail frequently.
    Thank you for taking heat to say what needs said.

  6. Oh and thank you, md. Got “31 days” today. Gonna start reading tonite.

  7. SurvivorDan says:

    Very important issue RayleneA. As an old cooter I never give such things a thought. But for the young this is a serious issue particularly after any massive Collapse. Nice work.

  8. axelsteve says:

    Back in 95 I had a vasectomy.I also had a old injury fixed . If I had another kid it would be a miracle. And my wife would cry.

  9. Mr. Prepper – Great post. This is great information for survival mode if you were ever not near birth control or looking to have a child. They are very interesting facts and items I never knew about (especially how your cervix moves up and gets bigger. Great information for all females to know. Thank you!

  10. Raylene says:

    Thanks for all the great comments. I am sorry I didn’t reply in a timely fashion to questions, as I didn’t realize the article had been printed, lol.

    I have 5 girls which have, or will be learning about this, regardless of the birth control they choose. It is invaluable information to know about yourself, period.
    BTW, it is easy to find free, downloadable charts on google, if anyone is interested.

  11. Just wanted to chime in and say that while I’m new to prepping, I did plan my birth control for the long run- I have a copper IUD (the new ones are safe, unlike the Dalkon Shield of previous generations) which my gyno told me will last at least a decade, possibly longer. It’s certainly something to consider, is hormone free, and if you’re squeamish like me, a lot easier than looking at your cervix.

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