Family Planning Book: Fertility Awareness Method

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Family Planning Book Review:    Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Fertility Awareness Method - FAM)

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Family Book Review: Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement

Published: Revised Edition 2002

Reviewed: March 2005

Our Rating: A+



Taking Charge of Your Fertility - FAM




Buy:  Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (Revised Edition)  



Fertility awareness using natural methods is gaining more and more popularity. Taking Charge of Your Fertility has been on the bookshelves for over ten years. The latest revised edition doesn't change a whole lot in terms of information presented about FAM, because the book was brilliantly presented in the first place. However, I would suspect that a more current copyright date would put more people at ease.


Use of the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) has its practical advantages, not only for planning pregnancy and preventing pregnancy (birth control), but for such things as understanding healthy body functions, detecting gynecological problems and maintaining gynecological health, predicting miscarriage, and even the more tricky method of choosing the sex of one's baby-to-be.


I became aware of FAM in 1990 when I was planning my first pregnancy. Because I incorporated the method into my life, I read about the method wherever I could. After exploring many books on the topic, I found Taking Charge of Your Fertility, which first was published in 1995, to be the best book on the subject. It was, and remains, the clearest and most thorough treatment of the subject that I have seen. I was floored by the method itself, and still, to this day, am surprised at how little most women know about their bodies and their ovulatory and menstrual cycles. They need only read this book, and follow at least a few months of charting with a basal thermometer, in order to truly "take charge" of their fertility. 


Having used the method for 15 years, it has become second-nature to me. I used it for family planning so that I could conceive 3 children with the spacing that suited me best, prevent pregnancy, follow each pregnancy in the early stages when miscarriage was more likely, and follow a pregnancy that resulted in miscarriage. Besides the more dramatic family planning monitoring, I am thankful that the method allows me to accurately predict when I will have my period, lets me know when I haven't ovulated in a given month and can expect a heavier than normal period without too much concern, and offers me a tangible and empowering means of connecting to my body through awareness of how it "works". I even was able to spot a thyroid condition before any other symptom was present--because I was intimately aware of my regular basal body temperature, when my "normal" pre- and post-ovulation temperature dipped, I went to a doctor to explore what may have been the cause of this rather dramatic change.


The book outlines the many uses of FAM, and then educates readers about the three primary fertility signs (waking temperature measured with a basal body thermometer, cervical fluid, and cervical position). Graphs are offered for charting the basal body temperature changes. Secondary fertility signs (such as midcycle spotting, which is not standard but common enough, abdominal bloating, water retention, and so forth) are explained. Details on how to chart and observe fertility indicators are offered. 


Many women are surprised to discover that they may not be ovulating even if they are menstruating. The book explains why women don't always ovulate (or menstruate), and how to determine if ovulation has actually occurred. Menopause is also discussed.


FAM is a natural birth control method that shouldn't be confused with the dubious "rhythm method". Although FAM is not just for birth control, it is an amazing birth control method. It does require periods of abstinence if completely natural birth control is desired. However, it can also be combined with other birth control methods, such as use of condoms, for the periods of time when abstinence is necessary. Some level of maturity is a prerequisite for the completely natural method. 


The book offers ways to maximize your chances of getting pregnant through FAM. Timing intercourse in order to maximize your chances of conceiving a boy or a girl is also explained. More topics, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and vaginal infections, are presented in this very thorough and helpful book. Taking Charge of Your Fertility offers ample illustrations, graphs, and examples.


Don't let the size of the book intimidate you. The Fertility Awareness Method itself is straightforward enough. The book is relatively large because it not only offers "how to's", it provides detailed information on a variety of related topics.


The truth is, FAM is quite easy to learn. There are other books on the subject that will teach the method adequately, and there are sites on the web that offer instructions and information on FAM. These resources will suffice (I know that I started using the method five years before this book came out). However, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is comprehensive and for those serious about incorporating FAM into their lives, this manual is ideal.


Our Rating:




[For more information, user reviews, or to buy: Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health (Revised Edition) at]


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Reviewed March 2005
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