In the comment board for my article, “What Does Your Vagina Discharge Tell You,” one question was asked more than once: “If I have unprotected sex on x and y days, can I get pregnant?”
Having unprotected sex can be quite enjoyable. But it does come with a consequence – a potentially significant one, if you’re not prepared to have and raise a child.
So if you choose the Fertility Awareness Method for natural birth control, you need to become familiar with your menstrual cycles and be diligent in determining when are the safest days for unprotected sex.
Generally, there are four safe windows:
1. First 5 Days
You’re safe the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle if you ovulated during the previous cycle, which can be identified by observing clear and slippery egg white-like vaginal discharge, or by an obvious temperature shift 12 to 16 days before you bleed.
Ovulation in the previous cycle helps to confirm that your bleeding is true menstruation, not ovulatory spotting or abnormal bleeding unrelated to menses.
Note that this rule may not be reliable for women approaching menopause, because premenopausal hormone changes can result in dramatically early ovulation.
2. Dry Days
You’re highly unlikely to be fertile during your dry days.
Assume that you have a 28-day cycle. If you finish your period on day 5, and ovulate between day 12 and day 16, your dry days are likely to be from day 5 to day 10.
Of course, not everyone fits perfectly into this pattern.
Regardless, the most reliable way to identify your dry days is by paying close attention to your cervical fluid/vaginal discharge.
As the name suggests, your dry days are those days when you observe no cervical fluid or wetness at any point during the day.
For an enhanced sexual experience during your dry days, check out Passion Lubes, the best selling lubricant on Amazon.
3. The 3rd Consecutive Day Your Temperature Remains High
If you track your body temperature, you may notice a rise in temperature 12-16 days before your menstruation by 0.4 to 1 degrees. The rise of temperature usually occurs immediately following your ovulation. Check out my basal temperature chart and how you can chart your own.
If your temperature continues to remain high for 3 days or more, you’re considered safe to have unprotected sex after the 3rd day.
Start tracking your body temperature, you'll learn a lot about your menstrual cycles. And it will be an eye opening experience! All you need is a digital basal themometer.
4. The 4th Day after Your Peak Day (Ovulation)
Once you see your vertical fluid changing from wet, clear and egg white-like to dry, you’ll know that your peak day (ovulation) has occurred.
And once you’ve seen 4 dry days after your peak day, you can assume you are no longer fertile.
Whether you want to get pregnant or avoid it, it's important to know when you're ovulating. And the easilest way to know is to take an ovulation test.
1. When you notice a rise in body temperature and it remains higher for 3 days or more, you can assume that you have already ovulated.
2. For this reason, cervical fluid is the most reliable fertility sign to observe before ovulation, because it reflects higher estrogen levels, indicating the impending release of the egg.
3. After ovulation though, temperature is the most reliable fertility sign, because it confirms that ovulation has indeed occurred.
4. Take charge of your fertility with our free Period Calendar and Ovulation Tracker. It’s a great tool to track your body temperature, vaginal discharge, menstruation, ovulation, and more...
5. It may take a couple of months to get familiar with your menstruation/ovulation cycle and the signs to watch for. It’s well worth it though, considering the potential consequence – and the worry and fear of an unexpected pregnancy.
6. Just in case you're wondering if you may be pregnant, don't worry. You can take an early pregnancy test.
7. To learn more about your menstrual cycles and fertility, I highly recommend Toni Weschler's Taking Charge of Your Fertility, The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health. It's the best book I've read on this subject.
Personally, I use the Fertility Awareness Method for birth control. I like its naturalness. I also find it a wonderful method to help me stay in tune with my body’s rhythms.