Natural Menstrual Health & FAM
Want to start tracking your cycle using the Fertility Awareness Method, but not sure where to begin?
The intention of this page is to provide you with resources to do just that. I LOVE tracking my cycle and highly recommend it, no matter if your goal is to use FAM as natural birth control, because you are interesting in getting preganat, or (and maybe most importantly in my opinion) if you are interested in learning more about your body’s natural cycle and syncing up with it. I am a seasoned practitioner of FAM, but do not dedicate the bulk of my energy to educating others on it, so on this page I will get you linked up with people who do and products that can support you.
What is The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)?
“Fertility awareness (FA) refers to a set of practices used to determine the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Fertility awareness methods may be used to avoid pregnancy, to achieve pregnancy, or as a way to monitor gynecological health.”
How can I learn about practicing FAM and tracking my cycle?
There are a number of great resources in the world for learning about FAM. I think the best is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, a book written by Toni Weschler, and it is what I recommend reading if you are interested in having a great understanding of your cycle. The book is lengthy, but super interesting to read. Also, the chapter on tracking your cycle is one of the first in the book and provides you with basically everything you need to know. It is available on amazon in both ebook and paperback format, or you can get it at a local library. You can also visit tcoyf.com.
Femmehead, a YouTuber by the name of Victoria runs a channel with a number of videos on FAM and Charting, which are also a great resource, especially if you tend to prefer to watch videos over reading.
Where should I track my cycle?
You can track your cycle using an app on your phone, or you can track it by hand with a physical chart. My preference is the later, which I explain below, though I encourage others to do whatever feels best for them and most importantly, whatever they feel will work with their daily flow and that they will be most likely to stick to.
There are a number of reasons I prefer charting on paper to using an app. The main one is that I can see everything in front of me really easily, as opposed to it being on a screen. I also like that I feel more intimate with my cycle tracking it this way. I can also track other elements of health, which I feel are relevant, such as my fitness, diet and sleep. I’m regularly updating my chart and have a lot of fun with it.
I keep my current chart folded in my journal and take it out each morning to update it. When I have completed a cycle, I take a picture of the chart and store it in a google drive folder, so I don’t need to keep all of the physical papers on hand to see previous cycles’ data.
Using an App
Not all cycle-tracking apps are created equal. Many of them do not take into consideration all the important rules of FAM, so I recommend doing your research well if you want to use any app. As I chart by hand, I have only played around with these apps minimally, but I like the look of them so far.
Kindara: This is a full-on cycle charting app. So basically everything you could do with a paper chart, you can do here…I think. You can look for it in the app store on your phone. Learn more at kindara.com
Clue: Clue is a female health/period tracker app developed by the Berlin-based technology company BioWink GmbH. You can look for it in the app store on your phone. Learn more at helloclue.com
What will I need to chart my cycle?
One of the great things about tracking your cycle is that you don’t need much to do it! The biggest component is the knowledge of how to do it, and then practicing it so that you can learn about the little nuances of it. Beyond that, there are very few items that you need. Basically you will need:
1. A Basal Body Thermometer: I recommend a digital thermometer that will track your body temperature to the 10th of a degree, such as this one.
2. A Place to Chart your temperature and cervical fluid, as well as your cervix position and other signs that you will learn about while educating yourself on how to track your cycle using FAM, such as the free download on this site.
Products I Recommend
Here are some of the products I use regularly in the realm of menstrual health. Some of them are links to Amazon, where you can purchase a certain model or browse for similar ones, and some are links to other specific places to buy these things.
Videos on Why I: Track My Cycle, Got My IUD Removed, and Use a Menstrual Cup
I share about my experiences and the benefits!