Get Informed Topics Birth Control & Pregnancy Types of birth control Fertility awareness methods (FAMs)

Fertility awareness methods (FAMs)

What are fertility awareness methods?

Fertility awareness methods are various ways to identify the fertile days within a woman’s menstrual cycle. 

Once the fertile days have been identified, couples can prevent pregnancy by avoiding unprotected sex during those days. 

There are 3 main fertility awareness methods:

  1. Calendar method
  2. Cervical mucus method
  3. Temperature method 


What is the logic behind the methods?

There are only a few days of the month when a woman can get pregnant. 

An egg released once a month by one of her ovaries lives for about one day. 

For the egg to have a chance to get fertilized, sperm need to arrive in the fallopian tubes during that day, or they have to be there already waiting for the egg to be released. 

Sperm can survive inside the tubes for up to a week.

Therefore, a woman’s eight or nine fertile days begin a week before ovulation and end one or two days after ovulation. 

Having unprotected sex during the fertile days puts the woman at risk of getting pregnant.

Having unprotected sex during the rest of the cycle carries little or no pregnancy risk given that the sperm will either arrive in the tubes too early and die before the eggs is released or arrive too late after the egg is already dead. 

How does FAMs work?

FAMs are unsafe for pregnancy. If you are interested in using one of these methods it is important that you receive proper education by a trained professional.

  • Calendar method

The calendar method consists of tracking a woman’s menstrual cycles for several months by writing down the first day of your period and the length of the cycle. 

To find the first fertile day, the woman subtracts 18 from the number of days of her shortest cycles. To find the last fertile day, the woman subtracts 11 from the number of days of her longest cycle,

  • Cervical mucus method

The cervical mucus method also known as the ovulation method or billings method, consists of keeping track of the changes in consistency of the woman’s cervical mucus throughout her cycle. 

Right after a woman’s period, there are generally some dry days when mucous cannot be detected, 

As the egg begins to mature, cervical mucus starts to appear inside the vagina and increases in wetness every day.

Ovulation occurs at the peak of the mucous presence, when mucous should be abundant, slippery and stretchy. 

  • Temperature method

This method consists of keeping track of the woman’s body temperature. 

The female body’s temperature increases right after ovulation and remains elevated until the end of her period. 

By charting the changes in body temperature for a new cycle, it is possible to determine when ovulation takes place. 


All these methods are unreliable. 

How effective are FAMs?

FAMs are unsafe and not a reliable method to use to prevent pregnancy. 

What are the advantages and disadvantages of FAMs? 



FAMs don’t cost anything 

FAMs have no side effects 

FAMs are not effective at preventing pregnancy 

FAMs don’t protect you from STIs


Does it offer STI protection?


The FAMs don’t offer any protection against STIs. 

If you have sex and want protection against STIs, always use a condom. 

Also test for STIs at the beginning of the relationship. 

Avoid changing partners frequently.

Did you learn something?

Frequently Asked Questions

Male Body

1 questions

See frequently asked questions on Male Body

All about contraceptives

2 questions

See frequently asked questions on All about contraceptives


2 questions

See frequently asked questions on Relationships

Top Topics

Let's Talk

Facts, tips, stories and common questions

Go to Forum