Fertility Friday Podcast - What does a Healthy Menstrual Cycle look like? The Menstrual Cycle as the 5th Vital Sign!

It's the first day of Spring! 

And today, Lisa from Fertility Friday, published the podcast we recorded a few weeks ago: What does a Healthy Menstrual Cycle look like? The Menstrual Cycle as the 5th Vital Sign!

Listen to it now!

Listen to it now!

It's full of lots and lots of interesting, exciting, thrilling information...

  • What is the Fertility Awareness Method? And how is it different to the Rhythm Method?

  • What is the difference between calculation-based birth control methods and observational birth control methods? More on the blog here...

  • What is the main ideological difference between Natural Family Planning and the Fertility Awareness MethodMore on the blog here...

  • What are the parameters of a normal and healthy menstrual cycle?

  • How do these parameters change depending on a woman’s age, and her stage of life?

  • What does a normal menstrual period look like in terms of color, quantity, and frequency?

  • How much variation is normal in the length of your menstrual cycle?

  • Is it possible that your menstrual cycles are “normal” even if they aren’t always 28 days long?

  • What is a vital sign? And why do some practitioners consider menstruation to be the 5th vital signMore on the blog here...

  • How does monitoring your menstrual cycle help you to gauge your overall healthMore on the blog here...

  • How does the pill prevent pregnancy?

  • How long does it take a teenage girl’s menstrual cycles to mature?

  • How can hormonal contraceptives actually prevent a young woman’s menstrual cycle from developing normally?

Here is the reproductive cancer symptoms matrix from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that I referenced during the talk... these symptoms should be proven to be benign prior to hormonal contraceptive suppression or treatment... like "going on the pill to regulate cycles."

Here is the reproductive cancer symptoms matrix from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that I referenced during the talk... these symptoms should be proven to be benign prior to hormonal contraceptive suppression or treatment... like "going on the pill to regulate cycles."

Also, for health care providers wanting a more in-depth understanding, the speech I gave at the National American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) Conference is available at the ACNM Live Learning Center.

If you've listened to either or both of these recordings...

  • What were you surprised to find out?
  • What were you relieved to hear?
  • Is there anything you wish you had known sooner?

Local resources for pregnancy loss & infertility...

As a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner that teaches Fertility Awareness here in Denver, Colorado, I often find myself talking with women about topics outside of just charting to avoid pregnancy or to get pregnant. Because miscarriage is so common (about 1 in 3 pregnancies end in miscarriage), finding great resources for clients to utilize when this happens is really important to me.

Next week I have the opportunity to briefly talk about the benefits of charting while *TTC (trying-to-conceive) at a Pregnancy Loss & Infertility Support Group offered at Amelia's Mammas. It's on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 6pm. Contact Amelia's Mammas to register (donation-based).

Then on Saturday, October 4, 2014 from 2pm-4:30pm I'll be teaching a Natural Conception class at Amelia's Mammas. In this class I always...

  • review how reproduction and conception works (...and I promise it's way better than what your high school health teacher ever taught you!)
  • show how charting can help you better time conception, have a better idea of when to expect a period or a *BFP (big fat positive), and understand what's going on with your overall and reproductive health (...including those mysterious hormones!)
  • talk about natural lifestyles choices as well as alternative therapies that may be useful along the way (...should you really do a handstand after sex?!?)

It looks at the whole person and the whole situation from a holistic perspective. And it's a great place to get more accurate and personal answers to questions than Googling can ever give! Contact me to register ($60).

These are some local resources for pregnancy loss and infertility support in the Denver Metro area:

Online resources include:

What other local resources for pregnancy loss and infertility exist in your area?

*Want to better understand all the acronyms in the fertility and reproductive world (like the TTC and BFP I included here)? Here are all of the ones I've collected in this Say What? blogpost! You're welcome ;)

News on IVF drugs

When women who are trying to conceive chart their cycles using the Fertility Awareness Method, they can often “see" what’s going on inside their bodies. Charting allows them to determine if they display a normal, healthy menstrual cycle; a normal, healthy ovarian cycle; and a normal, health reproductive hormonal cycle. And there aren’t any side-effects and it’s pretty much free!

The BBC reports that there may be new and safer medication options (specifically kisspeptin) for those choosing to use IVF (invtro fertilization). The current drugs can cause serious side-effects:

  • "About one in every 100 women undergoing usual IVF treatment will develop a severe form of a medical condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome or OHSS. Instead of producing a few eggs as desired, the ovaries go into overdrive and produce lots in response to the potent fertility drugs. While most women with OHSS will have mild symptoms and recover, those few with severe OHSS become very ill and can die."

My next “Achieving Pregnancy using Fertility Awareness" class is this Monday, June 24 at Natal to Nest. If you’re not quite ready to try IVF, come learn more than you ever thought you could about your fertility!

Next Class = Monday, June 24 at 6:30pm

Charting your cycle using the Sympto-Thermal Fertility Awareness Method will help to unravel the mystery so many of us feel about our reproductive selves! 

If you’re thinking about getting pregnant or have been trying without success, why not try charting your cycle! I’ll be teaching a “Fertility Awareness to Achieve Pregnancy" class this Monday at Natal to Nest in Highlands Ranch. Space is limited, so register soon… $60/person (your non-charting partner is encouraged to attend for free).

Yaz, Yasmin birth control pills suspected in 23 deaths in Canada

An viable alternative to hormonal contraception is the Sympto-Thermal Fertility Awareness Method (STFAM). I recently discussed the side-effects of synthetic hormones used in contraception like the Pill when I celebrated my 100th Fertility Awareness Method chart.

I love teaching more and more women how to avoid pregnancy naturally! We can meet one-on-one or at my next class on Thursday, July 18 at 6pm. Register at Blossom Wellness Center by calling 303-954-9399 ($40/person, $50/couple).

You're Invited!

WHAT: “Avoiding Pregnancy without Hormones or Devices" Class

WHEN: Saturday, June 1 at 9:30am

WHERE: Blossom Wellness Center

WHO: Ladies & Couples who want high effectiveness with no side-effects

HOW: Call 303-954-9399 to register by Thursday, May 30

As simple as period prediction...

While there are many, very “important" uses for charting your cycle using the Fertility Awareness Method such as avoiding pregnancy or achieving pregnancy, it can also be as simple as, “I know when to expect my period!"

This can bring quite a feeling of freedom. No longer will you wonder, “Oh, is that my period?!?" and then a few days later “Oh, wait, is this my period?" If you chart your cycle, you’ll know about 2 weeks beforehand when your period will start, and then usually you’ll know the morning of the day it will start. Pretty cool, huh?

Knowledge is Power! (Or at least knowledge won’t leave you high & dry without a pad/tampon/menstrual cup when you most need it…)

My 100th Chart!

I’m currently in the middle of my 100th Fertility Awareness Method chart… pretty cool, huh? So that means for over 6 years I’ve avoided getting pregnant without any synthetic hormones and their lovely side-effects!

The American Academy of Family Physicians lists the “non-serious" side-effects (but may include more):

  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Sore breasts
  • Irregular periods
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased sexual desire
  • Acne
  • Nausea

So what can be the “serious" side-effects be according the FDA?

  • BLOOD CLOTS… that can lead to strokes, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, or death… yikes!

On Saturday, June 1st I’ll be teaching a class about how to avoid getting pregnant naturally… sign up at Blossom Wellness Center and you could be well on your way to your 100th Fertility Awareness Method chart too!

Kindara offers Denver/Boulder locals 3 months of FREE Fertility Coaching!

Kindara is an iPhone app that is based in Boulder, CO. They offer women who are charting their cycles using the Fertility Awareness Method a way to enter and record their fertility data. Right now Kindara is in the process of improving the app using a focus group and want YOUR help!

Interested? Follow these links if you’re trying to get pregnant or if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy.

Take Control of your Birth Control!

Many women have already learned about and use the Fertility Awareness Method to avoid pregnancy naturally. For those who have no idea what it is… your mind will be blown!

You can scientifically rely on the signs that your body gives you throughout your cycle to let you know when you’re fertile and not fertile. To attain the highest effectiveness (up to 99.6%) it’s recommended you chart your cycle for 3 months before using it to avoid pregnancy, meet with a qualified teacher 2-3 times during that time to answer your questions and interpret your signs and chart, and be MOTIVATED to avoid pregnancy :)

I’ll be teaching a class at Blossom Wellness Center (a part of Mountain Midwifery Center) on Tuesday, April 30 at 6pm. It’s $40/person or $50/couple and you can register by calling 303-954-9399.

Paying it Forward...

In order to be certified to teach the Fertility Awareness Method, a teacher-in-training must teach women and meet with them regarding their charts, and then discuss all of this with her mentor. I am so grateful to all the women (and friends!) who were able to help me complete that requirement for my graduation.

My colleague, Allie Rowland, is currently in the process of teaching the Fertility Awareness Method to new clients as part of her training to be an HRHP through Justisse Healthworks for Women. She is offering a limited number of fully-reimbursed charting follow-up sessions in order to complete her certification requirements. That means she’ll reimburse you the $30 fee for the class if you complete three follow-up sessions with her (in the greater Boulder/Denver area).

Learn the Fertility Awareness Method for free?!? Yes please! You can contact her at allisonlockwoodrowland@gmail.com.