|Posted on August 28, 2013 at 4:10 PM|
I was excited to learn about fertility awareness, but then my herbalist told me that it’s not very reliable if you have irregular cycles, which I do. Do you have any ideas for natural birth control if someone has irregular cycles?
I’m glad to be asked this question, because I think it’s a common piece of misinformation. Most people have never heard of fertility awareness for natural birth control, and among those who have (including natural medicine practitioners of all types), many are under false impressions. Let me correct a few: fertility awareness is easy to learn; fertility awareness is reliable; fertility awareness is useful whether you have regular or irregular cycles.
In fact, the Justisse Method is just as easy to use if you have irregular cycles as if you have regular ones. The exact same rules apply: when cervical mucus appears, you are fertile; after cervical mucus disappears and you do a Count of 3, you are infertile. (There’s a little more to it than that, of course… but not a whole lot more!)
If you have irregular cycles, and some are very long, most likely in those long cycles you’ll have a lengthy infertile phase at the beginning. However – and this is where it can potentially be frustrating – you might have many phases of cervical mucus that come and go as your body works up toward an eventual ovulation. You consider yourself fertile during each of these mucus phases, because you don’t know which one will be the one that actually accompanies ovulation. This can be disappointing if you’re using the method for birth control, as it decreases your number of infertile days. But, on the plus side, charting this pattern will give you and your herbalist (or other natural medicine practitioner) great information about why your cycles are irregular, and help you improve your reproductive health.