Editorial Reviews. Review. “This beautifully written guide to a woman's fertility signs is packed Toni Weschler thoroughly explains the empowering Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), which in only a couple of minutes a day allows you to. Taking Charge of Your Fertility. A few words from Toni Weschler, MPH. Welcome to all who are interested in learning more about the Fertility Awareness. Method. The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. Are you unhappy with your current method of birth control? Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 20th Anniversary Edition.
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Read Taking Charge of Your Fertility PDF - The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health by. Taking Charge of Your Fertility - Toni Weschler . TCOYF is in large part about learning how to be able to advocate for yourself so you can. OvaGraphOfficial TCOYF App. View. Skip to content Below are the Master Charts described in Taking Charge of Your Fertility. They are available in both PDF and user-modifiable Excel format. The Pregnancy Classic or the.
It is this type of appreciation which buoys me when I occasionally feel disheartened by a medical community which has yet to fully grasp the scientific validity and endless benefits of the Fertility Awareness Method.
And to those who took the time to write me the most eloquent and touching letters expressing how the book impacted their lives to such an extent that they changed careers—especially to Alyssa Mayer for earning her Ph. To my cherished friends who witnessed me go from a fairly gregarious and amiable person to a hermit who rarely came up for air while working on this edition.
You helped me maintain a sense of perspective when I kept wondering whether I would ever have a life again.
Especially Aud, Cath, Susan, and Sandy. Without his understanding support for months and months on end—heck, who am I kidding, years on end—I would never have been able to complete this book. So thank you, thank you, thank you. Finally, and most important, to my younger brother, Raymond, without whom I could never have written this book.
And even though we often rued the day that we ever started working together on this daunting project over 20 years ago, he was an indispensable editor, researcher, and organizer, as well as an endless source of wit and moral support throughout this undertaking. The fact is that we talked about sharing authorship credit, but he insisted that the book came from my passion and experiences, not his, and ultimately it was written with my voice.
Perhaps, but truth be told, Raymond was my co-writer. The publisher and author do not guarantee the method of birth control or pregnancy achievement described in these pages.
As a contraceptive method, it is highly effective, but only when the relevant instructions are strictly followed. Like other effective contraceptive methods, this method is not foolproof, and there is a chance that the method will fail. The ideal way to learn about the Fertility Awareness Method is through a qualified instructor or counselor.
In addition, it should be clear that natural methods of contraception do not offer protection of any kind against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
This book does not purport to take the place of qualified medical advice and treatment. Please contact your doctor, a Fertility Awareness instructor, or both whenever appropriate. While every effort has been made to provide the most accurate and updated information, the publisher and author cannot be responsible for any error, omission, or dated material. The anecdotes presented in this book are true and accurate. However, except when requested, the names have been changed to maintain anonymity.
When I first wrote Taking Charge of Your Fertility 20 years ago, women had rarely heard of the concept of charting their menstrual cycles. The idea that they could use the information they gleaned from charting to practice effective natural contraception, maximize their odds of getting pregnant, and finally take charge of their gynecological and sexual health was completely foreign.
So my goal was to spark a grassroots movement among women frustrated with the lack of practical information they were taught about their bodies. As I had hoped, the material contained in these pages struck a chord with hundreds of thousands of women.
Which raises an important key to understanding the book. So let me set the record straight: TCOYF is in large part about learning how to be able to advocate for yourself so you can work with your doctor, for at its heart, this book centers on the concept that knowledge is power.
It is also important to keep in mind that Taking Charge has been written for women with divergent objectives—those who want to avoid pregnancy and those who want to get pregnant. Because of this, the book is structured to be read both as a whole and as individual chapters when a situation or need arises. As a result, you may find that some key information is repeated. This is to highlight the importance of those topics, but also to ensure readers are fully educated even if they use only a portion of the text.
Ultimately, the ability to understand your reproductive and gynecological issues throughout your life is truly empowering. My hope is that even if you have read an earlier edition of this book, you will now benefit from this new 20th anniversary edition of Taking Charge.
So, for those who already own an earlier version, you will find numerous additions and modifications throughout, including:. The way in which women learn about their bodies and chart their cycles continues to evolve, just as our biological knowledge and reproductive technology do.
And so, with this latest edition of Taking Charge , I hope to keep apace of these changes so that each new generation of women will continue to be more educated, more self-aware, and simply more cycle-savvy than the one before. For additional information, forums, and the Taking Charge of Your Fertility charting app, please visit www. I still cringe when I recall my college years and what ironically led me to pursue the field of fertility education.
Yet I remember returning, seemingly every month, with the same apparent problem. So I would leave, feeling like a hypochondriac, only to meekly return when I had what appeared to be the signs of yet another infection.
Along with my frustration at this recurring problem were the inevitable side effects of the various methods of birth control I tried. So back to Square One I would go, seeming to have infections all the time and without an acceptable method of birth control.
What I had been perceiving as infections was in fact normal cervical fluid, one of the healthy signs of fertility that all women experience as they approach ovulation. Because of misleading and inadequate health education, women are rarely taught how to distinguish between normal signs of healthy cervical fluid produced every cycle and the signs of a vaginal infection.
What are the consequences of such a basic omission in our upbringing and education?
In addition to the unnecessary expense, inconvenience, and anxiety that women often experience, such ignorance can also lead to lowered self-esteem and confusion about sexuality. I remember being suddenly struck with the futility of my situation. What was I thinking? While fidgeting, I noticed a brochure about classes on the Fertility Awareness Method that were available at the clinic. I could not believe that this supposedly reputable clinic seemed to be teaching the discredited Rhythm Method.
I was in a dilemma. Should I risk losing this coveted position by expressing my dismay, or should I keep my mouth shut to get the job? In the end, I would have felt dishonest if I said nothing. My heart skipped a beat when the clinic director called my name. The pressure was on. We teach what? I noticed your brochure here about the Fertility Awareness Method.
I muttered shyly. What I learned is that not only was it possible for me to take control of my cycles, but I no longer needed to feel uncertain about various secretions, pains, and symptoms.
I could finally understand the subtle changes I experienced every month. I could place my menstrual cycle in the context of my overall health—both physiological and psychological. And best of all? No more unnecessary trips to the gynecologist. By taking just a couple of minutes a day, I was able to utilize a highly effective method of natural birth control in which I could accurately determine those days of my cycle when I was potentially fertile.
On the flip side, if I wanted to get pregnant, I could avoid the guessing game so many couples play by learning precisely when to time intercourse. I could also identify problems for myself that could potentially impede my getting pregnant.
And the fact is, so can you. Probably the best thing to come out of my years using the Fertility Awareness Method was the privilege I felt in being so knowledgeable about a fundamental part of being a woman. I no longer questioned when I would get my period. I knew what to expect physically and emotionally at different times in my cycle. I also gained confidence in a way that was reflected in other areas of my life. Your menstrual cycle is not something that should be shrouded in mystery.
By the time you reach the end of this book, I hope that you will also experience the liberation of feeling in control of your body. Beyond its practical value in giving you the tools to avoid or achieve pregnancy naturally and to take control of your gynecological health, this information about your cycle and body will empower you with numerous facets of self-knowledge that you rightly deserve. H ow often have you heard that a menstrual cycle should be 28 days and that ovulation usually occurs on Day 14?
This is a myth, pure and simple. Furthermore, it prevents many couples who hope for a pregnancy from attaining one. Much of this fallacy is a legacy of the obsolete Rhythm Method, which falsely assumes that individual women have cycle lengths that, if not precisely 28 days, are reliably consistent over time. The result is that it is nothing more than a flawed statistical prediction using a mathematical formula based on the average of past cycles to predict future fertility.
In reality, cycles vary among women and often within each woman herself. Keep in mind, though, that normal cycle lengths are generally 21 to 35 days. The myth of Day 14 can affect individuals in the most astounding ways, as you can see by this story some religious clients of mine told me decades ago:. Ilene and Mick were virgins when they got married on May They wanted to start a family soon after their wedding, so they had their joint medical insurance start on May When they discovered that Ilene had gotten pregnant on their honeymoon, they were pleasantly surprised that it happened so fast.
Imagine their shock when the insurance company refused to cover the pregnancy and delivery, claiming that since her last period started on April 19, she must have gotten pregnant about three weeks before the wedding.
She tried to explain to them that her cycles had become quite long and irregular since she started jogging and dieting in order to be a picturesque bride. Ilene lamented, We were sunk. How does one prove virginity in a courtroom?
Needless to say, the Day 14 myth had very expensive consequences for Ilene and Mick. He was, in the words of Ilene, worth all the trouble anyway. Fertility Awareness is simply a means of understanding human reproduction. The three primary fertility signs are cervical fluid, waking temperature, and cervical position this last one being an additional sign that simply corroborates the first two. FAM is an empowering method of both natural birth control and pregnancy achievement, as well as an excellent tool for assessing gynecological problems and understanding your body.
As you read in the introduction, probably the greatest resistance to the acceptance of FAM has been its dubious misassociation with the Rhythm Method. Furthermore, because natural methods of birth control are often practiced by people morally opposed to artificial methods, FAM tends to be falsely perceived as only being used by such individuals.
Just as important, it minimizes the frequency with which they might have to choose preventive methods that are unpleasant, impractical, or lacking in spontaneity. Many of these people tend to be oriented toward leading a natural and health-conscious life in other ways besides taking control of their fertility and reproduction.
But regardless of the differing values that often divide users of FAM and NFP, all are drawn by the desire for a natural method of effective contraception. Still, if FAM has so many benefits as both a method of birth control and an aid to getting pregnant, why, then, is it not better known? One of the most crucial and mystifying reasons that people have rarely heard of it is that doctors are still seldom taught a comprehensive version of this scientific method in medical school. Oh really, why is that?
I casually asked, trying not to act surprised. Did you take a class elsewhere, and what rules did you use? I inquired. What do you mean, what rules?
You know. She looked at me totally confused, as if she had no clue what I was asking her. It was then that I grasped just how widespread ignorance of Fertility Awareness was in the medical community. Even among many doctors, I realized, Fertility Awareness still meant looking at past cycles to predict future fertility.
They include the functions of numerous hormones, such as FSH, estrogen, luteinizing hormone, and progesterone, all of which have been scientifically proven. Indeed, FAM can be a vital aid to doctors and their patients in diagnosing a number of conditions, including:.
Another advantage of charting fertility signs is that it facilitates diagnosis of gynecological problems.
Women who chart are so aware of what is normal for them that they can help their clinician determine irregularities based on their own cycles.
Examples of potential gynecological problems that can be more easily diagnosed through daily charting include:. By not being taught FAM, doctors are denied an excellent tool with which they could better counsel their female patients. Moreover, this can often result in unnecessary, invasive, and frequently expensive tests to diagnose an apparent menstrual problem. Of course, if women were taught how to chart for their fertility-related health, they would not need to visit their doctor nearly as often, and substantial numbers of needless medical procedures could be avoided.
It may even show that this woman is consistently getting pregnant but having repeated miscarriages of which neither she nor her doctor had been aware. And for those seeking to prevent pregnancy, charting eliminates the anxiety so many feel as they run off to the store or their gynecologist for expensive and inconvenient pregnancy tests.
Women who chart know if they are pregnant just by observing their waking temps, and thus they can eliminate that recurrent doubt while awaiting the arrival of a late period. In other words, beyond the initial investment in a thermometer and perhaps a book, class, or app, there is no further cost to those using FAM.
Compare this to the cost of the pill, for example, which is at least several hundred dollars a year. Given the profitability of so many other contraceptive methods, is it any wonder that FAM is not promoted more enthusiastically by the medical community? Corporate literature that summarizes the various contraceptives for public consumption is consistently filled with blatant inaccuracies, such as one pamphlet entitled Contraception: The Choice Is Yours, which claims that Natural Family Planning is based on the fact that fertilization is most likely to occur just before, during, and just after ovulation.
This would almost make sense, except for the minor detail that fertilization cannot take place without an egg present, so it would be no small feat for fertilization to take place before the egg is released! This particular pamphlet was typical in that its Natural Family Planning heading was followed by a supposed clarification in parentheses, which as you might guess was simply the Rhythm Method.
While these reproductive technologies are often a clear necessity, you will learn throughout this book why they are not needed for many couples, when education alone could help them achieve their dreams. Finally, FAM is not better known because it suffers the misfortune of being a method that many, especially in the media, refer to as unpalatable. Why is this? We had a doctor on the Seattle news who produced medical stories every week. I had approached him about the possibility of doing a feature on the Fertility Awareness Method a number of times over the years, but he was always noncommittal while still acknowledging that he sincerely believed the method was effective.
Perhaps his concern was about the term used for one of the three fertility signs: Maybe if it were referred to as something less graphic, he would find it suitable for the evening news. No sooner had I written him with the suggestion to use the phrase cervical fluid instead when he called to tell me he thought the change in vocabulary was just the modification necessary to make FAM acceptable for the news. Within a few weeks, he ran an informative story about Fertility Awareness.
It took that experience to make me realize how powerful language can be in the acceptance of FAM. Since that news feature years ago, I have found that people are infinitely more attentive to and interested in FAM when the more neutral term cervical fluid is used instead of cervical mucus. One would never refer to seminal fluid as seminal mucus, and yet the purpose of the fluid in both the man and woman is comparable: Of course, the media are extensions of our culture, and tend to promote a sanitized, unrealistic view of human physical processes.
Thus, if coining a term such as cervical fluid makes that task easier, so be it. But for the vast majority of women, I believe that these assertions are simply not valid. Actually, FAM is fairly simple and easy, once you learn its basic principles.
Most will be able to learn those principles in this book. Others may want to take a class, where a certified instructor can typically teach a comprehensive course in several sessions. The method is no different from many life skills, such as learning to drive a car.
It may seem intimidating at first, until a little practice gives you the confidence you need. Some doctors may genuinely believe that women are not smart enough to understand and assimilate the information taught in FAM classes. While I find this perspective discouraging, I understand why they believe this. However, I think this is more a function of the way in which people initially learn about it, rather than of the inherent intelligence required to use it.
It often takes a very motivated individual to seek out information about a subject that, until recently, has typically been reserved for the few who are resourceful enough to research the topic. I personally have taught FAM to more than 1, clients and can assure you that virtually all women can internalize the method and its biological foundation within a few hours.
I also suspect that few of them are particularly burdened by the couple of minutes a day it takes to apply. The above is not meant to be a diatribe against the medical community. SlideShare Explore Search You. Submit Search. Successfully reported this slideshow. We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
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