1. Once you learn the Fertility Awareness Method it’s a life skill you’ll have forever
Learning the fertility awareness method teaches you how your body works. You get to learn all about your lady parts and how amazing mother nature really is. You get to learn that most of the days of your cycle your body is killing sperm left and right making it impossible for you to get pregnant EXCEPT for during your fertile window. You get to learn that the reason why pregnancy is even possible at all is that during your fertile window your cervix produces cervical mucus that keeps sperm alive for 3-5 days, and allows the sperm to live long enough to get a chance at fertilizing the egg.
Fertility awareness teaches you to observe your fertile signs (cervical mucus, change in cervical position, and basal body temperature) and identify when you’re in your fertile window. This way you can figure out whether or not you are fertile each day. It’s a skill kind of like learning to ride a bike or drive a car. It can take a few months of practice to get the hang of what cervical mucus looks like, what your cervix is supposed to feel like, and even what a normal temperature pattern looks like. But once you get the hang of checking for mucus and feeling your cervix you’ll find that it gets easier and easier to figure out when you are in your fertile window. There may be a bit of a learning curve, but once you learn it it’s a life skill that you’ll have for the rest of your life. No matter what happens you’ll always be able to tell when you’re fertile or not!
2. When used correctly the Fertility Awareness Method is 99.6% effective 
Yes you read it right. And yes, that means that the Fertility Awareness is more effective than the pill when used correctly. When you learn fertility awareness you learn to identify your fertile window. And your fertile window is the only time in your cycle when it’s physically and biologically possible for you to get pregnant. This effectiveness rate is based on a study that was done with couples who identified their fertile window and abstained from genital contact during that time. And if you think about it, if you can only get pregnant in say a 5-7 day window each cycle and you don’t have sex on those days then you won’t get pregnant.
After years of being told that we could get pregnant anytime, it takes a bit of time to wrap your head around the idea that there are actually “safe days” when you can have unprotected sex and not get pregnant. But when you’re outside of your fertile window it is impossible to fall pregnant. Sperm needs cervical mucus to survive and outside of that fertile window, your cervix isn’t producing any mucus. On your infertile days, your body is killing sperm in several different ways. Your vagina is killing sperm because the pH level is too acidic for sperm to survive in there, your cervix is closed and there is a physical barrier (mucus plug) blocking the opening that prevents sperm from even being able to get past the cervix and make its way into the uterus, and if that weren’t enough there is no egg and no ovulation happening outside of the fertile window since ovulation only happens once each cycle during the fertile window.
Once you figure out how to confidently and accurately identify your fertile days then you can decide if you want to use a barrier method (like a condom or cervical cap) on your fertile days, have alternate sex (without genital contact), or not have sex on those days, but at least the choice is yours. If you do use barriers or other forms of birth control then the effectiveness is based on the birth control method you’re using.
3. Fertility Awareness can improve your sex life
One of the nasty side effects of the pill and other hormonal contraceptives that many women experience is that they lose their sex drive. Hormonal contraceptives can negatively impact your natural hormone levels including your testosterone levels which can put out that burning desire for sex. Pretty ironic if you think about it since the main point of taking hormonal birth control is to allow you to have lots of sex without having to worry about pregnancy. In addition to that, when you’re not on the hormones you may notice that during your fertile window you libido goes through the roof! Not much of a surprise if you consider that Mother Nature is trying to make sure we keep reproducing.
If you decide to start using Fertility Awareness you may be pleasantly surprised to find that after ditching the hormones your sex drive comes back. Also, one of the side benefits of using the Fertility Awareness method is that it can foster communication between you and your partner about fertility and sex. In order for the method to work effectively both partners need to be able to communicate their intentions and come to some sort of understanding about how it’s all going to play out during both the fertile window and the infertile days. If you and your partner are trying to avoid pregnancy you’d want to be communicating with your partner on your fertile days to determine what actions you will be taking to prevent pregnancy. Having improved communication about sex and fertility along with that extra boost of to your sex drive can really spice things up as far as your sex life is concerned!
4. Fertility Awareness is basically free and does not require a prescription
The cost of using the fertility awareness method is pretty close to nil. Other than the money you might spend getting a good book like Toni Weschler’s Taking Charge of your Fertility or the Justisse User Guide, and a basal body thermometer that measures your temperature to a 10th of a degree (i.e. 37.1 degrees celsius) there isn’t much of a financial burden associated with fertility awareness. In the initial months while you are first learning the method you may have to invest some time in learning how to chart and how to interpret your fertile signs. As a general guideline I’d give yourself at least 2-3 full menstrual cycles of charting before you start using Fertility Awareness as birth control. In order for the method to work you have to be able to correctly identify your fertile window, and that can take a bit of time and practice in the beginning phases.
If you find that you’re having a hard time with charting you may want to get support from a fertility awareness instructor either in your community or on-line, but this is not typically an on-going expense. Once you get the hang of charting your cycles with fertility awareness, just like learning to ride a bike or learning any other skill, you’ll likely be fine to continue on your own. But if you’re having a hard time when you’re first starting out you may want to invest in a consultation with a certified fertility awareness instructor. This can ensure that you learn the method correctly so that you can be confident in your ability to identify your fertile window especially if you are relying on fertility awareness for birth control.
5. Fertility Awareness makes trying to conceive easier
Since fertility awareness teaches you how to identify your fertile window, you learn that you’re only fertile during a short period of time each cycle. Fertility awareness teaches you how to check your cervical mucus and how to differentiate between “peak” and “non-peak” mucus. Peak quality mucus looks like egg whites. It is clear, stretchy, slippery and lubricative. It can also be extremely wet and abundant if the water content is really high. Non-peak mucus is white or cloudy in color, not as stretchy, sometimes sticky, and looks more like hand lotion. Although all mucus is fertile, since both peak or non-peak mucus can keep sperm alive for 3-5 days, peak quality mucus is optimal when you’re trying to conceive because it gives you the best chance of getting pregnant when you’re trying.
When you learn fertility awareness, you’re never shooting in the dark, so to speak, when you’re trying to get pregnant. It helps you to identify the only period of time in your cycle when it’s actually possible for you to get pregnant, and it helps you to pinpoint the best time to have sex. Outside of the fertile window it is impossible to get pregnant, so fertility awareness gives you a head start when you’re ready to start trying.
6. Charting your cycles with Fertility Awareness can help you identify health issues related to fertility and otherwise
Charting your cycles with the fertility awareness method gives you a wealth of information about your health. Fertility is an indication of overall health, and once you start charting your cycles, if you find that you’re having a hard time understanding your fertile signs or if you notice that the information on your charts falls outside of the range of what a normal and healthy cycle should look like, your chart can become a diagnostic tool that can be used to identify health and fertility issues.
For instance, if you find that you’re having trouble conceiving your chart could serve as a diagnostic tool that could help you to identify what the problem is. When you are recording your fertile signs irregularities or health concerns will show up in your charts. For example, if you’re not ovulating you’ll be able to tell from charting, or if you aren’t producing any cervical mucus or if your hormones are out of balance you’ll notice that your chart doesn’t quite match up to the charts that you’ve read about. Those are just a few examples of how your chart could help you to identify potential health issues, but there are many other ways that health and fertility-related concerns can show up in your charts. The good news is that your chart provides you with information that you otherwise wouldn’t have, and if you’re working with a health practitioner that is open to it, you can work towards addressing these issues much earlier than you would have if you weren’t tracking your fertile signs.
1. Scientific Basis for the Fertility Awareness Method: http://www.justisse.ca/MediaGallery/Documents/Effectiveness.pdf