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Fertility awareness and well-being

How in tune are you with your menstrual cycle and the hormonal fluctuations throughout each cycle?

What is Fertility Awareness?

Fertility awareness is about recognising and interpreting the signs of fertility that are already being displayed by the body. These signs of fertility are able to give an insight into hormonal health and wellbeing, as well as being effective for those who are wanting to achieve pregnancy or avoid pregnancy naturally.

As a trained Natural Fertility Coach, I work with women and couples to teach a fertility awareness method and provide guidance as they interpret their cycles. Fertility awareness is about empowering people to interpret their signs of fertility accurately to gain insight into their reproductive health and achieve their fertility goals naturally.

In addition to natural family planning, fertility awareness is useful to identify hormonal changes that could be causing migraines or other issues, understand changes in fertility approaching menopause, returning fertility after childbirth, or even noticing potential conditions that could be affecting fertility when trying to conceive. Following a fertility awareness based method is a great way to increase body literacy and be more in tune to the rhythms of the body.

Changes in the Menstrual cycle

Hormones change significantly throughout the cycle. Early in each cycle as eggs start to ripen in the ovaries, one egg becomes dominant and the hormone oestradiol is produced as it begins to mature. Oestradiol is at its highest as the body approaches ovulation and this causes increasing amounts of cervical mucus to be produced. Many women feel more energised, happier, and have a higher libido at this point in their cycle.

After the egg is released, the remaining follicle (egg sac) secretes the hormone progesterone and continues to produce a lesser amount of oestrogen. The increase in progesterone has the opposite effect to oestrogen and decreases or entirely stops the flow of mucus from the cervix. The increase in progesterone also causes a noticeable spike in resting body temperature. As the period approaches, progesterone levels drop which can cause you to feel sluggish, both mentally and physically. This point in your cycle is a great time to prioritise self-care strategies.

Ovulation and Signs of Fertility

Stress, sickness, lack of sleep, extreme exercise, and hormonal disruptions can all affect the menstrual cycle. These things can delay ovulation, cause changes in the cervical mucus produced, or cause ovulation to be missed altogether. Ovulation and the fertile time in each cycle can be accurately identified through tracking signs of fertility. The Sympto-Thermal Method (STM) that I teach involves tracking signs of fertility including cervical mucus produced and resting body temperature. When the fertile time in each cycle is identified, this is a powerful tool that can be utilised for timing intercourse to achieve or avoid pregnancy. STM is a double-check method (multiple signs of fertility are observed and compared) which makes it very accurate and reliable, even when the method is being used as a contraceptive option.

Applying Natural Fertility Awareness

Each person’s fertility journey is unique. As a Natural Fertility coach, my role is to support clients with the skills they need to achieve their fertility goals at that point in time. The beauty of a fertility awareness method is that the skills a client learns are able to be applied in different life stages and the guidelines can be adjusted depending on their fertility goal at the time.

The majority of the clients that I see in my Natural Fertility clinic are wanting to learn a fertility awareness method to avoid conceiving without the use of chemical contraceptives. Other clients are learning the method to maximise chances of conception when trying to conceive, or simply learning for improved body literacy or to track hormonal changes during their cycle. Whatever your reasons and goals for learning natural fertility awareness, it is a great way to gain insight into your changing fertility and hormonal well-being throughout each cycle.

About the Author:

Danella Redepenning is a Natural Fertility Coach based in Christchurch. She trained in natural fertility education out of a desire to see more people equipped with skills and confidence to achieve their fertility goals naturally and improve their overall well-being. She is also a music teacher, cyclist, and keen hiker in NZ’s beautiful mountain ranges.

Danella is accredited with Natural Fertility New Zealand and works with clients throughout NZ over video appointments. If you are interested in finding out more about what she offers, she can be reached at or

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