Amaryllis Sanchez Wohlever, MD

The Hidden Power of A Woman’s Fertility

Q: As a physician with years of experience in women's health, what do you think is the most misunderstood aspect of fertility? 

A: Imagine if you could read signs from your body that reveal what’s happening internally with your hormones—without needing blood draws or special tests. Imagine if these signs could reassure or alert you, with a high degree of certainty, reflecting health or possible illness, fertility or infertility. Wouldn’t this be helpful? Well, guess what! As a woman, you already have this ability.

Every woman is equipped with an intrinsic mechanism through which her body communicates signs of health and fertility, as well as warnings that may signal a medical condition or infertility. This built-in tool is her often misunderstood and commonly underrated menstrual or fertility cycle.

If this is true, why do most women merely track the date of their last period to plan life around it, like the next beach vacation, deriving little else from their cycles beyond displeasure? Simple. Most don’t even know a woman’s cycle holds and reflects the hidden power of her fertility. Too many women have not learned the practical benefits of understanding the female cycle (including charting done right!).

In fact, the female cycle is like an orchestra of finely tuned chemicals that produce not sounds, but physical signs—like cervical mucus patterns and temperature spikes—that combine to tell a story. An entire science called fertility awareness is built upon this story and knowledge.

At FACTS, the Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science, we are doing all we can to educate our medical colleagues and students about the science of fertility awareness to ensure women (and couples!) benefit from this knowledge. We help equip them with the facts so they can provide up-to-date and accurate information about fertility awareness—beginning in medical school and residency.

Women want alternatives to the invasive and medication-heavy approaches so common in both reproductive health and family planning. FACTS is helping ensure they have access to this natural, evidence-based, safe, and effective approach that can be used not only for family planning but also to address common women’s health concerns like pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and symptoms related to polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) like the Marquette Model, Sympto-Thermal Method, and Creighton Model of FertilityCareTM, among others, help women and couples plan and space pregnancies to meet their family’s needs. They enable women to track their cycles accurately, identify ovulation and peri-ovulation (the time right before and after an egg is released), and thus know her fertile and infertile times each cycle, every day. Women can also use information gleaned from the chart to identify potential abnormalities in the cycle and, if necessary, work with FABM-trained medical professionals to address these problems comprehensively and holistically. To women and couples, this brings a new freedom to sexuality, the spacing of children, and reproductive health.

Women around the globe use these methods effectively, feeling empowered in the process. Yet, in the United States, accurate information, effectiveness rates, and the solid science behind these methods are not readily shared. At FACTS, we believe all girls and women deserve the power and freedom that stem from accurate information, which leads to educated choices. In fact, studies reveal the majority of women who learn about FABMs want to know more, and very often try one of the methods once educated (best accomplished by trained instructors).

One user of an FABM expressed the benefits like this, “Using an FABM gives you the power to own your fertility, to work with nature instead of against it! Understanding your fertility is not just about identifying the phases of your cycle. Rather, it involves observing biological signs and recognizing how your cycle correlates to other aspects of your life: your relationships, mood, and overall health and wellbeing.”

Would you like to learn more about the signs of the female cycle, fertility awareness, and FABMs? Register for your preferred webinar date using one of the links below. We hope you’ll join us!

Monday, November 5th, 12:00 pm EST
Thursday, December 13th, 1:00 pm EST

Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, MD is the wife of a loving pilot-turned-preacher and the happy mom of three terrific children. She is a Board-certified family physician and Senior writer and editor for FACTS and the FACTS blog. She is the author of several books, including Walking with Jesus in Healthcare and Recapturing Joy in Medicine, and coauthor of The Ultimate Girls’ Body Book. A retreat leader and frequent speaker at conferences, she loves to empower and inspire women, and can be reached through her website.