Whether you’re hoping for more children or consider yourself “done,” I think everyone should read Taking Charge of Your Fertility*. It’s fascinating! I learned more about how my body works by reading that book than I ever did in health class. Never learned this stuff at the OB/GYN, either.
In those standard health classes in school, we learned that girls “typically” have 28-day cycles and ovulate on cycle day 14. Whatever! Some women may indeed have 28-day cycles, but ovulate on day 12. Or day 16. Etc.
If you’re TTC, it is helpful knowing how long your cycles are (including the length of your luteal phase) so that your 40-week due date will be more reliable.
To summarize the fertility awareness method taught in the book, you chart your basal body temperature (temperature immediately upon waking) and chart other signs to know when you’re fertile and when you’re not. The purpose of this is to see when you’ve ovulated, or if you haven’t yet. Some women aren’t ovulating at all, though they’re having a withdrawal bleed. Not ovulating could indicate a hormonal imbalance, thyroid issue, PCOS or other issues — some of which can be easily corrected.
This book does not teach the “rhythm method,” which can be a seriously unreliable form of family planning. Instead, it is the “fertility awareness” method, a.k.a. sympto-thermal method and is scientific. Temperatures! Charts! Data to analyze! Pre-technology, charting was a bit more time-consuming. You can download a free app or use their website to log your info.
The cost? Cheap! Buy the book, and be sure to get the latest edition since it contains a huge appendix. I’m sure this book is available at public libraries, so go there or a bookstore to browse it perhaps. I think it’s worth owning a copy of this one, though, if you’re planning to use the method for pregnancy achievement or prevention.
Your other expense is purchasing a special basal body thermometer. A standard fever thermometer won’t work — you need a basal one. I picked mine up at Walgreens for like $9 and it’s ok, but I know there are better models available. I’d love one that lights up and that stores the last temperature for longer than a half-second like mine does.
So, for roughly $20-30 with the book and a thermometer, you can have pregnancy prevention or help with conceiving. Compare that to the expense of other methods, and charting is a frugal and green way to do it. (lol)
This method isn’t for everyone, but I think it’s worth investigating, simply for the increased knowledge about how women’s bodies function.
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