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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » FAM and EC?

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Author Topic: FAM and EC?
moon_goddess
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Hello,

I know I've previously asked about FAM as a method of birth control.

I am wondering what is meant by using it with condoms. Does that mean you always use condoms and then abstain during fertile times, or use no protection during non-fertile times and then condoms when fertile?

Also, I am worried that my body will all of a sudden mess things up for me. My cycle is really regular (28-29 days and has been for the past few years), so it shouldn't be that hard to figure out with a thermometer and kind of know in general when I am ovulating. My concern is what if my body somehow decides to ovulate earlier than usual? When I am charting, I will notice this temperature change as well as some other signs, which may be a couple days after intercourse. Is Plan B/Emergency Contraception something that can be taken at that point (or is it too late)? I only ask because I know someone who got pregnant because she ovulated a week before she was supposed to. I guess I'm a little fuzzy on the specifics on how long it takes the sperm to reach the egg once it's been fertilized. Or how soon after ovulation the sperm can reach the egg if it's already been hanging around in the body for two days.

Luckily, this is all still in the hypothetical for me, but I'm always really curious about what I see as weird cases. Maybe due to slight paranoia? It's a big part of the reason I've held off on intercourse, my significant other not sure he's ready either (for different reasons) being the other part.

Posts: 46 | From: Northern Hemisphere | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Allie R
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I believe FAM can be used as a back-up for condoms, where a couple uses condoms consistently, but charts her fertility to see when she's most fertile, and perhaps choose to abstain during that period of time.

Or condoms are used as the back-up to the FAM method, where they're used during a woman's most fertile time period.

I'm not 100% sure how variable a woman's body can be, in terms of ovulation. Sometimes they're consistent in their habits, and as you've observed, they aren't. I suppose the purpose of FAM is to observe your body's habits, and to act accordingly.

Also, Plan B is most effective within the first 24 hours of risk, and is essentially ineffective if not taken within 120 hours.

To clarify, fertilization is when a sperm cell makes it to the Fallopian tube and burrows into the egg cell. The egg cell sits there waiting to be fertilized for about 24 hours, so if sperm cells are at the waiting even before the egg cell is in position, fertilization can occur then.

No form of contraception is 100% effective, but very rarely are there cases of women getting pregnant even with 'perfect' use. The effectiveness of the combination of FAM and condom usage is over 99% with perfect use. Put another way, less than 1 out of ever 100 women will get pregnant with that combination of birth control.

Hoo! That was a lot of information. Does this clear most of your concerns up for you? [Smile]

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AAR

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Redskies
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Hi moon-goddess,

extra to what Allie says, for FAM to be effective, it's important to be really well trained in how to use the method in order for it be effective: at the very least, having a good-quality and recommended book, but ideally, having in-person training. Do you have access to those things?

When a person uses FAM, they have to do detailed daily charting of their body's changes for several months before FAM can actually be used as a method. It's this daily charting that lets a person know what's going on with their own particular body and means they can observe when they're close to ovulating and therefore fertile. If someone ovulates earlier than usual, they should be able to observe that that's going to happen from changes in cervical mucous and the cervix position. Using FAM (as opposed to something like the Standard Days method, which Is about day-counting, and is basically educated guess-work, so not something I'd like as a properly reliable method!) isn't really linked to the usual dates that things should happen (although that can add to the picture). It's about knowing what physical changes indicate what precise part of the cycle. So, it shouldn't matter on which day of the cycle someone becomes fertile; if they're observing their body's behaviour, they'll spot it coming.

Properly using FAM also involves knowing what things might make the usual observations unreliable and different, and either abstaining or using a barrier method at those times. No method is perfect, so yes, it's possible that someone's body could not give them the usual signs of ovulation and they have no reason to expect that. When FAM fails, though, it's much more usually because a person has just not been thorough enough with their observations, or they've not taken into account something that may change their body's behaviour. For FAM to be effective, it's important to be very diligent about applying the method exactly as it's supposed to be used.

Hormonal contraception is very likely to change the body's behaviour, so FAM would not be reliable for perhaps several cycles after using emergency contraception.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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moon_goddess
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Thanks for the responses! I especially liked the addendum, redskies.

I went out and bought Taking Charge of Your Fertility and have read it twice, now. (Actually, I didn't go out and buy it- I would be really embarrassed to buy it in a bookstore, so I ordered it and this really annoying beeping thermometer on amazon.) I started to chart my temps every morning, as a way to sort of ease into it, but then I realized that I don't have a regular enough sleeping schedule to make it work well, and I have a lot of stressors in my life. Also, S.O. and I both have a couple of things we need to work through individually before we decide to have intercourse.

I am confident that when I choose to use it as a method of birth control, I will do a really good job, but right now I'm not able to, so we'll just keep doing other things. (It doesn't really feel like a loss at all.)

I was just really curious because the person who said she got pregnant while doing it seemed to be someone who would have been really on top of all of the signs and stuff. (I am not comfortable asking more details.)

It's really helpful for me to remember that the body will produce signs before ovulation, too. Also, I'd always wondered if EC would screw everything up, so thanks for addressing that as well.

Is there a good book/online resource that talks about different parts of the cycle and general tendencies/moods? Like, I tend to find that the week before my period I'm more grouchy, but it's also the time of the month where I feel I am good at communicating honestly more bluntly about things I wouldn't usually say because I'm afraid of hurting other people's feelings. So I guess I'm looking for a guide that might talk about strengths and weaknesses of female-bodied people during different parts of their cycles.

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Allie R
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If there are any resources that go over that, I'm not familiar with them- however, I feel like tendencies/moods/strengths/weaknesses would vary for each woman. I guess in general most women feel moody prior to menstruation, hence PMS, but I feel like it's hard to generalize for the other parts of the cycle.

But I might be completely wrong. I'd be interested in checking out any resources on the matter, if anyone has them!

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AAR

Posts: 109 | From: Maryland | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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