Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

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Overview

Since its publication in 1995, Taking Charge of Your Fertility has helped literally hundreds of thousands of women achieve pregnancy, avoid pregnancy, or simply gain better control of their moods, health, and lives. Now it is revised and updated to include a revolutionary fully-intuitive charting system; numerous new master charts, including separate ones for pregnancy achievement, birth control, and menopause; a new celsius chart; a fully-revised chapter on advances in high-tech treatments; a physician's ...
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Overview

Since its publication in 1995, Taking Charge of Your Fertility has helped literally hundreds of thousands of women achieve pregnancy, avoid pregnancy, or simply gain better control of their moods, health, and lives. Now it is revised and updated to include a revolutionary fully-intuitive charting system; numerous new master charts, including separate ones for pregnancy achievement, birth control, and menopause; a new celsius chart; a fully-revised chapter on advances in high-tech treatments; a physician's appendix; and a new epilogue that explores the emerging role of fertility awareness in the long and compelling history of the modern women's health movement.

Maximize odds of conception/increase chances of choosing baby's gender/gain control of gynecological health/etc.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
This is an invaluable tool, both for couples struggling with the frustrations of infertility and for those who seek a natural way to avoid becoming pregnant. Weschler debunks the ineffective Rhythm Method and explains a far more reliable alternative that allows women to exert real control over their fertility: the Fertility Awareness Method. Ample illustrations, charts on which women can track their cycles, and chapters on such topics as gender selection and male fertility make this revised edition an outstanding and classic work on fertility.

Although its primary function is to introduce readers to the FAM and address issues specific to conception and natural birth control, Taking Charge of Your Fertility is also an important resource for any woman who wishes to better understand her general gynecological health. The result is a comprehensive guidebook covering menstrual cycles, menopause, and sexuality, as well as reproductive health. (Karen Burns)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060950538
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 382
  • Product dimensions: 7.29 (w) x 9.13 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Fertility Awareness:
What You Should Know and
Why You Probably Don't

How often have you heard that a menstrual cycle should be 28 days and that ovulation usually occurs on Day 14? This is myth, pure and simple. And yet it is so accepted that it's sadly responsible for countless unplanned pregnancies. Furthermore, it has prevented many couples who have desired a pregnancy from attaining one. Much of this fallacy is a legacy of the dangerously inaccurate Rhythm Method, which falsely assumes that individual women have cycle lengths that, if not precisely 28 days, are reliably consistent over time. The result is that Rhythm is nothing more than a flawed statistical prediction using a mathematical formula based on the average of past cycles to predict future fertility

In reality, cycles vary tremendously among women and often within each woman herself, though most cycle lengths are 24 to 36 days. The myth of Day 14 can affect individuals in the most astounding ways:

Ilene and Mick were virgins when they got married on May 21. They wanted to start a family soon after their wedding, so they had their joint medical insurance start on May 15. When they discovered that Ilene had gotten pregnant on their honeymoon, they were pleasantly surprised that it happened so fast. Imagine their shock when the insurance company refused to cover the pregnancy and delivery, claiming that since her last period started on April 19, she must have gotten pregnant about three weeks before the wedding.

"That's impossible," she insisted, "we were both virgins until our wedding day." She tried to explain to them that her cycles had become quite long and irregular since she started jogging and dieting in order to be a "picturesque bride."

The insurance company wouldn't hear of it. They adhered to the frequently used pregnancy wheel, the calculating device that doctors rely on to determine a woman's due date. It is based on the assumption that ovulation always occurs on Day 14. As Ilene lamented, "We were sunk. How does one prove virginity in a courtroom? And why should it be anyone else's business?" Needless to say, the Day 14 myth had very expensive consequences for Ilene and Mick. The only consolation they took from their experience was the fact that their son was born just when they expected, three weeks after the insurance company 's due date! He was, in the words of Ilene, "worth all the trouble anyway."

Luckily, with advances in our understanding of human reproduction, we now have a highly accurate and effective method of identifying the woman's fertile phase: The Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). Fertility Awareness is simply a means of understanding human reproduction. It is based on the observation and charting of scientifically proven fertility signs that determine whether or not a woman is fertile on any given day. The three primary fertility signs are waking temperature, cervical fluid, and cervical position (the last one being an optional sign that simply corroborates the first two). FAM is an empowering method of natural birth control or pregnancy achievement, and it is an excellent tool for assessing gynecological problems and understanding your body

Why the Fertility Awareness Method is Not Better Known

As you read in the introduction, probably the greatest resistance to the acceptance of FAM has been its dubious misassociation with the Rhythm Method. Unfortunately, just the phrases "Natural Birth Control" or "Fertility Awareness" inevitably conjure up jokes along the lines of "What do you call Rhythm Method users?" — "Parents." Given the prevalence of this type of joke and the confusion of Rhythm with Fertility Awareness, is it any wonder that FAM is so misunderstood?

Furthermore, because the Rhythm Method is still practiced by people morally opposed to artificial methods of birth control, FAM tends to be falsely perceived as used only by such individuals. But in fact women from all over the world have been drawn to FAM simply because it is free of the chemicals associated with hormonal methods such as the Pill. Just as important, it allows them to minimize the time they need to use the devices that make other methods unpleasant, impractical, or unspontaneous. Many of these people tend to be oriented toward leading a natural and health-conscious life in other ways besides taking control of their fertility and reproduction.

It is true that many religious people have discovered the benefits of Fertility Awareness, though they may technically practice "Natural Family Planning" (NFP). The primary distinction between FAM and NFP is that those who use NFP choose to abstain rather than use barrier methods of contraception during the woman's fertile phase. But regardless of the differing values that often divide users of FAM and NFP all are drawn by the desire for a natural method of effective contraception.

FAM's Conspicuous Absence from Medical School

If FAM has so many benefits as a method of birth control (and as an aid to pregnancy achievement, as you will later read), why, then, is it not better known? One of the most critical and mystifying reasons that people have rarely heard of it is that doctors are still seldom taught a comprehensive version of this scientific method in medical school. It is amazing to think that women who practice the Fertility Awareness Method are often more knowledgeable about their own fertility than gynecologists who are trained to be experts in female physiology!

Years ago when I taught at a women's clinic, the entire staff except one doctor took my seminar to use FAM as a method of contraception. One day, the one who had never attended pulled me aside and whispered, "Toni, I'll be honest with you. I don't refer my patients to your classes." "Oh really, why is that?" I casually asked, trying not to act surprised. "I got pregnant using your method and haven't trusted it since," she replied. "You're kidding! What rules did you use?"...

Taking Charge of Your Fertility (Revised Edition). Copyright © by Toni Weschler. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments    ix
Introduction   xiii
     
Part One BREAKING FERTILE GROUND: TOWARD A NEW WAY OF THINKING     1
 1. Fertility Awareness: What You Should Know and Why You Probably Don't     3
 2. Taking Control of Your Reproductive Health    11
     
Part Two REDISCOVERING YOUR CYCLE AND YOUR BODY   31
 3. There's More to Your Reproductive Anatomy Than Your Vagina   33
 4. Finally Making Sense of Your Menstrual Cycle   44
 5. The Three Primary Fertility Signs   52
 6. How to Observe and Chart Your Fertility Signs   67
 7. Why Women Don't Always Ovulate or Menstruate   94
     
Part Three  NATURAL BIRTH CONTROL 103
 8. Fertility Awareness in the Age of AIDS 105
 9. Natural Birth Control Without Chemicals or Devices 110
10. Shortcuts: Minimum Charting with Maximum Reliability 124
     
Part Four PREGNANCY ACHIEVEMENT 129
11. Maximizing Your Chances of Getting Pregnant 131
12. Practical Tips Beyond Fertility Awareness 153
13. Lovemaking Versus Babymaking 167
14. What Next? Tests and Treatments That May Be Necessary to Achieve Pregnancy 172
     
Part Five BEYOND FERTILITY: PRACTICAL BENEFITS OF CHARTING YOUR CYCLE 195
15. Maintaining Your Gynecological Health 197
16. Appreciating Your Sexuality and Nurturing Your Relationship 212
17. Choosing the Sex of Your Baby 219
18. Premenstrual Syndrome: It's Not All in My Head? 228
19. Demystifying Menopause 236
20. Enriching Your Self-Esteem Through Knowledge About Your Body 250
     
APPENDICES 253
A. Troubleshooting Your Cycle: Expecting the Unexpected 255
B. Using FAM During Special Circumstances 294
C. Using FAM While Nursing Your Baby 302
D. The Contraceptive Effectiveness of Natural Birth Control 308
E. The Menstrual Cycle: A Summary of Events Through the Use of a 28-Day Model 317
F. Most Commonly Asked Questions 325
G. The Difference Between Natural Methods of Birth Control 333
H. Optional Coverline 334
I.  Optional Cervical Fluid Symbols 335
J.  Drugs That Can Affect the Cervical Fluid 336
K. Optional Master Charts ( for Recording Exercise, PMS, or Internal/External Cervical Fluid ) 338
L.  Offensive Terminology in Women's Health 342
M. Fertility Awareness Resources 344
N. Recommended Books 348
Glossary 350
Bibliography 362
Index 373
Master Chart 383
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 38 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2002

    Get Pregnant! - This book really helps!!!

    My husband and I tried for at least one year before we bought this book. I charted the first month and got pregnant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2001

    Fertility Awareness is NOT the Rhythm Method!

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. I would definately recommend it to every female out there. It is the information all women need about their own bodies, but never receive! Every female, as well as their respective partners, should understand their bodies this well. The information we receive in elementary school about the female reproductive system is a joke in comparision to the information contained in Toni's book. For all of those women who spend $$ on Pregnancy tests that are always negative THIS BOOK IS A MUST! I am about to graduate from university, have even taken a Human Sexuality course, but I learned so much new information about the female reproductive system and fertility from this book. Why isn't this this information taught to young girls in school? 'Taking charge of your fertility...' seems to be one of the best sources of basic fertility awareness signs toward pregnancy prevention, as well as conception acheivement around. Thank you Toni.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2001

    This book is amazing!!

    This is a great book to begin your process of fertily charting....I'm extremely glad that I chose this book to guide me in the process of becoming pregnant. I'm on my first chart....wish me luck!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2001

    A must have for every woman!

    This book should be read by every woman regardless if you are trying to conceive or avoid pregnancy. It explains things in a clear way and you will know your body better than you ever thought possible.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2001

    JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR - BUT NEVER KNEW

    WOW, This book was just what I was looking for, but never knew it! I just went for my annual check-up at the GYN, and discussed birth control with Doc. My husband and I have decided not to have children. He suggested the pill and I told him I did not want to start taking it now, at 34. I especially do not like taking drugs, or any unnecessary medicines. He prescribed it anyway. So I read all the side effects and I was really not thrilled with any of it. A few days later, my husband and I went into B&N, and this book was just right in front of me ... must have been fate. I picked it up and thumbed through it and said to myself 'This is It!' I read it in 3 days, it was very easy to read and understand. I can't believe how much I didn't know about my body, or cycle. It's almost embarrasing. This information is not taught to women anywhere, although it should be. I wish I had this book years ago! This is a GREAT book for EVERY woman, for birth control, pregnancy, and just to know what is going on with your body. I have already told friends and even bought one as a gift for another. Thanks Toni! You're Hard Work On This Book is Greatly Appreciated!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2001

    I'd give this book 6 stars if I could!

    This book truly is the definitive guide to fertility. I've been using this method as my only birth control for 5 years without an accident, and now I'm on my second month of using it to try to get pregnant. It removes so much of the guesswork -- and the pressure of sex 'for a reason,' since my husband knows just what days are for babymaking and the whole rest of the month is just fun. It relieves a lot of stress to know exactly what's going on. And if I don't get pregnant within 4-6 months, I will have a wealth of information to share with my doctor for what to try next, instead of hit-or-miss for a year or more before looking deeper. I'm continually struck by friends who say their doctor said to 'try between days 10-14' to get pregnant or 'you're fertile as soon as your temp goes up' -- not knowing why this advice could actually be promoting birth control! Ladies, learn for yourselves how your body works so you won't be at the mercy of all that misinformation. I swear this book should be required for all girls instead of that stupid 'this is a tampon' talk in jr high. It should also be required reading in medical school. I'm astonished at the bad information that doctors, talk show hosts, and websites give about how to get pregnant --- even those promoting taking temperatures. There's more to it than that, and it's so easy once you know how. Learn for yourselves and take charge of your fertility.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2001

    Read this Book

    I bought this book based on all of the excellent reviews it received on this site and others. I was skeptical about the basal body temp method, but wanted to learn more about it. This book answered almost every question I had about getting pregnant. It's easy to read, informative, and understandable. I highly recommend this to anyone trying to conceive. I just started following this method, so hopefully there'll be good news to report soon!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2000

    A must read for every woman

    An informative, easy to read and understand book. It is packed with information that every woman should know about her own body. It has been an invaluable resource for me as I deal with repeat miscarriage and infertility. I have gotten pregnant twice using this book as a guide, and I will continue to use it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2000

    So much info we should know about our bodies...

    I saw this in the store several years ago and passed it up because I didn't believe in natural family planning. I ended up buying it because of secondary infertility. After a miscarriage I was advised to use a basal thermometer to get a handle on my cycles. Wanting more information, I came back to this book and I can't believe I didn't buy it earlier. I learned so much about my cycle including that NFP can be combined with other birth control and I learned why I can't become pregnant now when my first child was conceived so easily. I don't know if my fertility problem can be solved, but at least my doctor and I know where to start. I highly recommend this book for pregnancy avoiders, those just thinking about a baby, and infertility sufferers alike. There is info for everyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2000

    Twin Boys-our crowning glory

    This book gave the most practical and simple techniques for pregnancy achievement. I successfully delivered two beautiful twin boys in March. After trying to get pregnant for months, I purchased this book and was pregnant 2 months later. Thank you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 12, 2000

    Great Book

    I would recommand this book to everyone. We where trying to get pregnant for 4 mos. and nothing. A friend told us about this book and I got pregnant the 2nd month!! And if you are trying not to get pregnant this book is also for you. It helps both ways.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2000

    A good basis for learning Natural Family Planning

    This is a good start to learning how to avoid pregnancy, but I would not rely on reading this book alone!! I got this book because my husband and I want to avoid pregnancy for another couple of years. It is a good start, but I still have many questions after reading it. I don't want this method to fail, so I have ordered The Art of Natural Family Planning. I want this to be the method of birth control that I use for the rest of my life, so I want a book that supports that with more real-life usage and stories. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is trying to get pregnant, but wants to use the pill or other artificial birth control method between pregnancies. This book doesn't go into much detail about starting this method after the pill or between pregnancies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2000

    Get this book!

    Every woman should own a copy of this book. Toni Weschler presents the information in a clear, concise way. Her humor helps make the book even better. I have learned so much about my body and cycle from this book. Whether you are trying to get pregnant or not, this is a must read. It's a shame we're not taught this stuff sooner! Thanks, Toni!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2000

    AWESOME

    This book has all the information you need to get pregnant. It breaks fertility down to the details often left out my the medical profession. This book taught me so much information and I was a Family and Child Science major in college.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2000

    Whether you do or you don't

    I am a 32 year old Sales Manager from Australia. Whether you want a baby or not this book really delivers. Taking charge provides you with the tools to understand what's going on with your body at different points in your cycle and in your life. It takes some of the guesswork out of having a baby and dispells a number of myths. I wish I had read this book earlier in life. I recommend it to all women.

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