Are you new to the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM)? Do you want to learn how to use this method for natural birth control or pregnancy achievement? Read on!
If you haven’t already, please refer to (and bookmark) the abbreviations page, as we use a lot of those around here!
What is FAM? In a nutshell, FAM is a collection of methods that require you to observe 1 or more of your fertility signs to determine when you are fertile or infertile. The most effective type of FAM is sympto-thermal (STM), which uses cervical mucus and basal body temperature observations.
*FAM is NOT the same as the rhythm or calendar method!!!*
By far, sympto-thermal is the most popular category in our FAM Facebook group, with TCOYF and Sensiplan being the 2 most popular methods. All other categories can be explored further here (external link).
Step 2 – Find an Instructor or buy a Book
Please do not try and learn a Fertility Awareness Method solely from our Facebook group (which is simply a support group) or this website. Here’s an overview of recommended resources for learning the sympto-thermal method:
Taking Charge of your Fertility (aka TCOYF)
♦ Designed for self-teaching (very limited unofficial instructors available)
♦ Efficacy not specifically studied
♦ This has long been the “FAM Bible” and is never a bad purchase!
Sensiplan (handbook & workbook recommended)
♦ Instructors are available but are not inexpensive (around $450 USD)
♦ The most thoroughly studied method to date, with perfect use efficacy reaching 99.6% (using an instructor)
♦ Additional free materials can be viewed here
♦ Fahrenheit (instructors can provide Celsius materials)
♦ Instructors are available and usually cost between $100 – $200 USD
♦ Additional supplemental learning materials are available through an instructor
♦ Very similar to Sensiplan
NFPTA (Natural Family Planning Teachers Association)
♦ Celsius and/or Fahrenheit, depending on the instructor
♦ Learning materials are custom created by each instructor (unavailable for solo purchase; above link has *brief* summary PDFs)
♦ Instructors are available and usually cost between $150 – $300 USD
♦ Very similar to Sensiplan
**Note – If you are self-teaching it is strongly recommended that you practice for at least three full **ovulatory** cycles before relying on the method for birth control. The efficacy for self-teaching has not been studied**
Step 3 – Gather Needed Materials
Purchase a BBT (Basal Body Thermometer)
View our top picks below (priced low to high), or click link above for more options:
♦ Mabis (aka ReliOn) – Inexpensive, Fahrenheit, also available at Walmart USA
♦ Easy@Home EBT-100B – Inexpensive, F/C, backlight, soft beep
♦ iProven 113i – Fairly inexpensive, F/C, backlight, extra soft beep
♦ Femometer Vinca II – More expensive, F/C, neat extra features, syncs with an app (the app is OK but not one of our top picks)
♦ Tempdrop – Pricey (but priceless to some) wearable thermometer, popular for anyone with interrupted sleep, F/C. As of September 2022, there are NO acceptable alternatives for a wearable thermometer for avoiding pregnancy – See FAQ
Quick picks below – find these in the Apple Store or on Google Play: