Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Frugal Birth Control and Basic Fertility Treatment/Diagnoses

Taking Charge of Your Fertility- Book Review

Fertility and all that surrounds it can add up to quite a pretty penny. Whether you're trying to avoid pregnancy, or trying to get pregnant when it doesn't come easily, at some point you may get annoyed at all the money spent each month on things connected to your reproductive ability or lack thereof.

I had heard of the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” quite a while ago, but with English books both hard and expensive to get in my country, I hadn't had any chance to read it until I came across it at my friend's house a little bit ago. In reading it, the book entirely lived up to the glowing reports I heard about it, and I was so impressed by it that I felt I needed to share the basic ideas shared in the book, as they're right up my alley, both from a financial standpoint, and from a health/green related standpoint.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility teaches you all about the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), a pain free, chemical free, hassle free, and practically money free way to prevent pregnancy, and to get started with dealing with infertility issues if you want to achieve pregnancy. (No, FAM is not the rhythm method, as the book explains very clearly.)
How do you do it? What exactly is this book about?
The premise of the Fertility Awareness Method written in the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" is that in order to fully be "in charge" of what is going on with her fertility, each woman should learn about, track, and record the different signs that let you know about impending ovulation, as well as the signs you've already ovulated. By being in tune with your body and knowing exactly when or if you even ovulate, you're a few steps ahead of the game.

Ovulation, as you all should know,  is when your ovaries release an egg (or two, in some cases) in preparation for a potential pregnancy. The egg will last a total of 12-24 hours after ovulation, during which time it can be fertilized. After ovulation, there is a phase called the luteal phase, during which time the fertilized egg can implant in the uterine lining and proceed to pregnancy. If no fertilized egg implants itself, the lining will be shed in what we all know lovingly as Aunt Flo, your period, or menstruation.

In preparation of ovulation, the cervix (lower part of the uterus) starts producing cervical fluid that is wetter, stretchier and more alkaline than it was beforehand, making a more hospitable environment for the sperm to live, swim, and fertilize the egg. By observing and recording the type of cervical mucus you have each day, you're able to tell when your body has finally ovulated.

Once you've ovulated, your basal body temperature (first temperature of the morning) becomes raised in order to make your body a better environment for incubating a possible pregnancy. This shift in temperatures signals that you've ovulated, which is why according to this method, you must take your temperature every day as soon as you wake up, and keep track of them on a chart, to be able to know the precise day that you've ovulated.

The last signal that the book talks about is your cervical position, which is higher and open during ovulation, and is lower and closed prior to and post ovulation. Checking your cervical position helps confirm where the other two signs seem to show you are in your cycle.

Ok, I know when I'm ovulating. So what? What's that got to do with frugal, green birth control?

Everything. With no egg, you can't get pregnant. If you know that you're no where near ovulation, there's no way on earth that you can become pregnant, barring a miracle. With the FAM of birth control, on potentially fertile days, you either abstain or use some other form of birth control, like barriers or spermicides, or both.
On safe days of your cycle, you have no need to spend any money on one time use birth control things, as you have the most foolproof method- no egg. By abstaining on the non safe days or using birth control only then, you limit the expense of birth control. After all, spending money on birth control to be used the day before your period comes is just a waste of money.
This method also allows you to not need to rely on birth control methods with potentially  unsafe side effects, like IUDs, shots, or hormonal methods of birth control.
For more details, please read the book, as I have not given enough information here for this method to be effective.

Fertility Awareness Method to Help Get Pregnant
Especially in places with expensive medical care, and throughout the world, fertility treatments can be time consuming, aggravating, painful, and costly. While a good chunk of fertility issues will end up needing complex medical intervention, FAM can help by:
  • Informing you when you are going to ovulate, so you can time both intimacy and procedures when they need to be, and not on standard day 14 of a cycle, which more often than not, is not the day that you ovulate.
  • Letting you know if you actually are ovulating, or just having anovulatory cycles, so you can get treatment to cause ovulation.
  • Helping you be aware if your luteal phase is too short for the fertilized egg to have a chance to implant, so that issue can be resolved for a pregnancy to take place.
  • Letting you know if you're pregnant and then having early miscarriages, instead of the periods you thought it was, so that doctors can help figure out ways to prevent the miscarriages, instead of trying to help conception.
  • Making you aware if the quality of your cervical fluid is problematic, so steps can be taken to remedy that.

If one of the above is your only issue, FAM can help you avoid the cost, headache, and pain of unneeded fertility tests and treatments.

Other ways the Fertility Awareness Method can save you money:
No need to spend money on ovulation predictor kits, as this method will let you know about impending ovulation.
No need to waste money on pregnancy tests when your period is late- you'll know in advance if your period is going to be late because ovulation happened later than usual.
No need to spend money on pregnancy tests- in most cases, by looking at your temperatures alone, you'll be able to know that you're pregnant without the tests.

I really think that this is an excellent book that every woman should read. I only gave the briefest of overviews,  and for  a fuller picture, you have to read the book itself. Its very informative, detailed, interesting, and even a good, non dry read. Either buy on Amazon (and get it for free with your Swagbucks), at your local second hand book store, borrow from a friend, or request it from the library. This is a book worth spending money on, and fortunately, its only 11 dollars!
Alternatively, go to TCOYF.com for more information, as well as downloadable computer programs to chart your fertility, printable charts, and even a FAM message board.

No, I have to point out, I am not being compensated for this post at all. I just loved  the book so much  with its frugal and natural and healthy ideas that I felt compelled  to share it with you readers.

Have you ever read Taking Charge of Your Fertility? Have you heard of the Fertility Awareness Method? If you use/used birth control, what method do you use? How much  do you usually spend on birth control each month? Would you consider using the FAM method?
If you've had infertility issues, do you think the books fertility achievement recommendations are beneficial/would have helped you, at least somewhat?

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