Holistic Reproductive Health Solutions
Laura Salamanca, HRHP Intern
What is Fertility Awareness?
Fertility Awareness refers to the practice of observing, charting, and interpreting scientifically proven signs of fertility and infertility, including Basal Body Temperature (BBT), cervical mucus, and cervical changes (optional). Using the sympto-thermal method entails charting at least temperature and cervical mucus.
Learning the principles of fertility awareness can help you prevent pregnancy, achieve pregnancy, monitor and address menstrual cycle concerns, and understand how the rhythms of your reproductive cycle are related to your overall health.
"You're not crazy, you're cyclical" - Zahra Haji
In general, health care providers are not trained in how to use or teach fertility awareness methods of birth control, and they tend to not offer them as viable options. There is much misinformation about efficacy and scientific basis. There is a variety of methods, and some are substantially more effective than others. In fact, the sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness is nearly as effective as hormonal birth control.
Many folks use apps to track their periods, but based on this information only, an app cannot tell you when you are fertile, or protect you from pregnancy. Apps can be great tools to keep track of our health and collect data about ourselves. While they can be fun to use, apps use computer algorithms and calculations to suggest times of fertility and infertility. This is a modern way of using the rhythm method, and does not accurately adjust to your cycle variability. I do not recommend you rely on an app for birth control without making your own body observations.
Fertility awareness takes into account your unique physiology, and the variability of your particular cycle. It is not about predicting reproductive events, but about gathering real-time information that you can use to know whether you are fertile or infertile day to day.
The Justisse Method (1987) is an easy to learn, reliable, and standardized system of Fertility Awareness developed by Geraldine Matus, PhD. Justisse was developed to support sharing of information and guidance that respects the right of women to make their own reproductive health decisions.
We do not discriminate based on martial status, sexual orientation, or sexual behaviour. Reproductive freedom is crucial to our practice, and we will provide support through the full spectrum of pregnancy outcomes. We support a naturopathic and complementary medicine approach to managing health problems and enhancing reproductive health.
The Justisse Method uses a unique colour system that makes chart interpretation easier, and helps you gain confidence and proficiency quickly. Learning Justisse will equip you with body literacy for life!
Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner (HRHP) Intern
You can learn Fertility Awareness from a book, but having the support of a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner will ensure that you are accurately collecting and noting your data, and applying your knowledge correctly. Personal follow up equips you with accurate reproductive health information, correct interpretation of your charts, and support in any therapeutic action you take. My goal is to improve your success with the Justisse Method - whether you are avoiding pregnancy, wanting to become pregnant, or monitoring your reproductive wellness.
I have an undergraduate degree in Socio-cultural Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Culture from Western University (London, ON), a master's degree in Medical Anthropology, and a graduate certificate in the Collaborative Program in Women's Health from the University of Toronto. I have more than six years of experience in sexual and reproductive health counselling, including discussion of healthy relationships, sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs), pregnancy options, birth control methods, and abortion. For those of you in Ontario, I am happy to provide substantive support to help you navigate the healthcare system to get the care you need.
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I am offering the Justisse Starter Package for a limited time only, as part of completing my practicum for designation as a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner (HRHP), and international certification as a Fertility Awareness Educator (FAE) by the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals (AFAP). This work is undertaken with the supervision of Geraldine Matus, HRHPE, PhD, Founder and Academic Dean of Justisse College.
My approach to teaching the Justisse Method is secular, youth-positive, and celebratory of gender diversity. I work within an anti-racist, anti-oppressive, Reproductive Justice framework. I approach our work together as a partnership with compassion and respect for your individual reality.
In the future I may provide other forms of community support, including herbal contraception and abortion information, menstrual extraction information and equipment, and more! Stay tuned.