Vol17 Iss1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE — TRIANGLE NC | VOLUME 17 — ISSUE 1 90 FERTILITY AWARENESS Did you know that women of reproduc- tive age are only fertile for a maximum of 6 days every monthly cycle? And did you know it's possible to identify these days of fertility to help become pregnant, naturally avoid getting pregnant, or simply observe for signs of health? Even more, did you know by tracking information about their fertility women can become empowered to play an active role in not only their re- productive health, but in their health and well-being as a whole? As a Registered Nurse and Director of Education at Reply Ob/Gyn & Fertility, I'm excited to be part of a team that prioritizes patient education. We do so by providing personalized fertility education and health coaching for patients at our clinic, as well as offering our monthly "First Tuesday" talks (open to the public the first Tuesday of every month.) My passion is shar- ing with patients the importance of learning about their body's unique design so they can understand and make personal choices that optimize their health. Fertility awareness often plays a significant role in this mission! What is Fertility Awareness? Fertility awareness is a science-based practice that entails observing, recording, and understanding the body's signs of fertility. Once a woman learns how, she can use this information in multiple ways: (1) Becoming Pregnant: Fertility awareness can be used to pinpoint the best days to time intercourse for couples who are trying to get pregnant. Also, "fertility-timed" or "fertility-focused" intercourse, for some couples, can minimize the pressure for intercourse at other times of the cycle when conception is less likely. Tracking fertil- ity signs provides a patient and her medical provider valuable information that can lead to a treatment plan tailored specifically to her needs. (2) Avoiding Pregnancy: Fertility awareness also can be used to avoid or delay pregnancy by refraining from intercourse on fertile days. Modern fertility aware- ness-based methods are highly effective when used as directed by a trained fertility educator. Many women prefer this natural approach to family planning as it eliminates side effects associated with conventional contraceptive methods. (3) Managing Your Health: Fertility awareness can be an important tool to help patients and their medical provider monitor, understand, and manage their health. What Is Fertility Awareness? BY LORI HARTLEY A woman's individual cycle pattern gives clues about how her reproductive organs and hormones are functioning. This can help her medical team diagnose and treat certain health problems, often before physical symptoms arise. How Can I Learn Fertility Awareness? Different methods of fertility awareness work best for different people. At Reply, we work with women using a variety of methods, and can review available methods for patients. Two methods we teach ourselves include Sensi- plan, a German method with decades of research behind it, and our own simplified tracking system called Listen Fertility. Depending on the method and a woman's or couple's goals, learning fertility awareness typically takes 2-4 sessions, and the knowledge lasts a lifetime! Lori Hartley, RN, MPH is a Registered Nurse and the Director of Education at Reply Ob/Gyn & Fertility. You may learn more about Lori and the clinic at, or call 919.230.2100.

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