Symptothermie is a natural method that allows you to better understand your menstrual cycle to conceive at the right time or, on the contrary, abstain to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.
The symptothermie or symptothermal method consists in observing the evolution of cervical mucus and body temperature during the cycle to identify the most fertile days. It can be used as a natural contraceptive or as a way to increase your chances of conceiving.
Temperature and menstrual cycle: what links?
Body temperature varies during the menstrual cycle. Just before ovulation, it drops by a few tenths of a degree then increases just after ovulation by a few tenths of a degree to go above 37° C. If your temperature is a little higher than normal in mid of cycle, it means that you have ovulated.
Observing the evolution of temperature allows women who have regular cycles to identify when they ovulate during their cycle. It gives an indication of the presumed ovulation phase for the next cycle, ie the number of days elapsed between the first day of menstruation and ovulation.
What is cervical mucus?
Cervical mucus is a viscous liquid secreted by glands located in the cervix. Its texture and volume change over the cycle. At the time of ovulation, it is abundant, transparent and stringy (like egg white) to allow sperm to reach the cervix and protect them against the acidity of the vagina.
Outside the fertile days, the cervical mucus is more sticky and on the contrary forms a barrier against the spermatozoa. The vulva is also less “wet”. This mucus is an index of fertility at the moment T.
The symptothermie consists in noting in a table (or cyclogram) the evolution of its body temperature and its cervical mucus during the whole cycle. Note that the first day of the cycle is the first day of the period and the last day of the cycle is the day before the first day of the next period.
Women who practice the symptothermal method therefore measure their body temperature (to the nearest tenth) and observe the appearance of their cervical mucus every day before reporting the data in a table. The combined observation of these two parameters makes it possible to identify the most fertile days and the days of infertility.
Ovulation lasts on average 24 hours but the fertility window lasts several days because it takes into account the lifespan of the egg (12 to 24 hours) but also the lifespan of the spermatozoa in the cervical mucus (between 3 and 5 days).
Is this an effective method?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the symptothermal method is 98% effective (2 unwanted pregnancies per 100 women) as a method of contraception, provided it is practiced regularly and correctly. And to practice it correctly, it takes a lot of rigor.
Indeed, the temperature must be taken every day at the same time and under the same conditions. It is also essential to learn about the physical signs related to fertile days and those related to infertile days. For good control of the symptothermie, it may be necessary to train over several cycles (3 to 6 on average).
What applications can be used to practice symptothermia?
The sympto.org site offers tools and manuals for training in symptothermia. It also provides Internet users with a directory listing symptothermia advisers throughout France.
Some apps (Moonly, Kindara, Femm, Clue) offer an automatic interpretation of your cycle based on the data you enter.
This method allows you to better understand your body and the revealing physical signs of ovulation and the arrival of your period. The symptothermie can also in some cases reveal an absence of ovulation or irregularities in the cycle (to be confirmed with a doctor). Finally, it is a natural and free method of contraception.
The symptothermie is a less reliable method of contraception than the pill or the IUD. Also, a misinterpretation of the data increases the risk of unwanted pregnancy or conception attempts programmed at the wrong time.