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Fertility Awareness x 2

Doula and Cradle Organizer, Katherine Weaver, offered two fantastic classes on fertility awareness. The first class, offered to the public on March 1st, began with an overview of a woman’s “monthly” cycle before delving into a detailed explanation of how various hormones drive the processes that control ovulation and menstruation (quotes are used around the word monthly because we learned that it is NORMAL for women’s cycles to vary greatly in length, with some women experiencing different cycle lengths throughout the year).

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Katherine explained the use of the Fertility Awareness Method for both natural family planning and as an important tool for women to monitor their reproductive health.  She described how charting creates a baseline for an individual woman’s “normal” and allows her to monitor for early warning signs of abnormal (for her) hormone changes, endometriosis, infection, and more.  This inspired some of us to get basal body thermometers and begin charting!  Katherine also used a homemade play dough model of the female reproductive system to demonstrate what happens throughout the reproductive cycle.  It was brilliant!

 

On April 17th, Katherine offered a different version of her fertility awareness class, aimed at undergraduate students.  This class was a collaboration between Cradle and three students at Bucknell University who were taking the class GEOG218: Geographies of Justice.  The lunchtimes class, co-sponsored by several Bucknell University departments, included lunch for all participants, and play dough for them to make their own models!

Some of my favorite takeaways from the classes include:

  • the hypothesis that women’s cycles once (long ago) aligned with the phases of the moon – with ovulation occurring around the full-moon,
  • the fact that women produce chemicals that make them more attractive right before they menstruate (when I am feeling bloated and gross),
  • the first half of the cycle is sometimes called the “inspirational phase” and the second half is the “reflective phase” (this might explain some of my “brilliant” ideas that seem absurd a week or two later…).

For more information on fertility awareness, check out Toni Weschler’s book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

If you are ready to start charting but want to do it digitally, I recommend the Ovia Fertility App by Ovuline.  Even though it is marketed as a tool to help you become pregnant, I love it as a general fertility awareness tool!

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