Frequently Asked Questions
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What is the Sympto-thermal method?
The Sympto-thermal method (STM) monitors your bodies symptoms of ovulation using:
· Body-at rest (basal) temperature
♡ Our resting body temperature detects the moment of ovulation and the end of your fertile phase
· Cervical fluid observations
♡ Cervical fluid changes throughout our cycle to either prevent sperm from entering the uterus or transport the sperm for conception. Cervical mucus detects the start of your fertile phase.
Monitoring both signs of fertility enables you to become aware of your fertile phase (and the need to wear protection), verses times where it is safe to have unprotected sex.
How do I "monitor" these fertility signs?
Basal temperature is monitored by taking your temperature with a thermometer in your mouth each morning at the same time and recording the data on a menstrual chart.
Cervical fluid is observed throughout the day by using your finger to gather some cervical fluid from the inner wall of your vagina. Within a consultation you are taught to differentiate this fluid to possibly fertile, fertile, or not fertile.
How effective is the Sympto-thermal method in preventing pregnancy?
In a study of 900 women the symptom thermal method (STM) was 98.2% effective in preventing pregnancy. This rate of effectiveness is as good as most other methods of contraception when used correctly.
This study was conducted in Germany between the years of 1985 and 2005 and data was collected from 35 996 menstrual cycles.
What are the benefits of menstrual charting?
Menstrual charting assesses all of the below:
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Thyroid function
- Adrenal function/stress response
- Hormonal imbalances (oestrogen and progesterone)
- Possible reasons for PMS
- Prediction of next menstruation
- Current and future fertility
- Pregnancy (before you even take a test)
- Whether or not you are ovulating
Can anyone use this method to prevent pregnancy?
Yes. However for some it may be harder to find your fertility signs, and you may find that they don't quite match up to what you are expecting (especially during premenopausal, postpartum, lactation, post-hormonal birth control and reproductive disorders). When you do not have a regular ovulatory pattern, it may take a great deal of dedication and extremely consistent charting to prevent pregnancy - but it is still possible! This highlights to importance of a consultation
Is it difficult to learn?
It is not difficult to learn, but it does takes around 3 months to understand your own cycle and signs and symptoms of fertility before you can successfully use it for contraception.
Can I still learn this method if I do not have a menstrual period?
If you do not have a menstrual period, it is likely that you are not ovulating. It would be advisable to firstly have a naturopathy consultation to support your body to have a natural period before starting to chart.
If you are healing yourself, charting is a perfect way to keep track of your menstrual health. A consultation on menstrual charting may be more advisable until you get a natural period.
Can I still learn this method of contraception with an irregular cycle/PCOS?
YES! I am a charter who has an irregular cycle. Although it does take longer to master your cycle as it changes, it is possible.
When you have an irregular cycle, it is SUPER important to learn through a practitioner as ovulation can sometimes be hard to spot. See here
I can help you manage any difficulties including: Polycystic ovarian syndrome, no menstrual periods, or irregular cycles through natural medicine please see here
Can I learn this method while on the oral contraceptive pill?
No you cannot. The oral contraceptive pill inhibits ovulation, therefore there is no point in learning this method until you are off any type of hormonal contraceptive.
Can I learn this method while I am on the Mirena or copper IUD?
Yes! The Mirena and copper IUD do not inhibit ovulation, therefore you are likely to see the rise in temperature and assess other benefits of menstrual charting (thyroid and adrenal function, nutritional deficiences etc).
What do I need to practice the sympto-thermal method?
- A thermometer
- Love for your body