By Published On: February 2nd, 2022Last Updated: June 20th, 2024
Carmen Lorenzana - Difference between Menstrual Cycle Awareness and Fertility Awareness

Today, I want to share the difference between Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA) and Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM). You may have heard me talk about both practices—cycle tracking for MCA and cycle charting for Fertility Awareness—but are they the same thing?

The answer is no.

While both practices are valuable tools for connecting with your cycle, they are different from each other.

Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA)

Menstrual Cycle Awareness (MCA) is the practice of paying attention to where you are in your cycle and what you experience every day. It involves finding patterns in each phase and taking care of your cyclical needs. Coined by my mentors Alexandra Pope and Sjanie Hugo Wurlitzer, MCA recognises that your reproductive hormones cause physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual changes in a cyclical manner.

At the core of MCA is cycle tracking, which means recording your daily experiences using a journal, lunar calendar, or app. The aim is to identify patterns in each phase of your cycle. With this information, you can make small adjustments in your day-to-day to align better with your body’s natural rhythms and maximise your energy.

Carmen Lorenzana - Cycle traking

Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM)

On the other hand, Fertility Awareness focuses on observing and charting fertility biomarkers throughout your cycle to identify your fertile window. Your body gives you clear physical signs that indicate fertility, and these signs vary depending on whether you are currently fertile or not.

The foundation of Fertility Awareness Methods is cycle charting, which involves daily observation and recording of your cycle biomarkers such as cervical mucus, basal body temperature, bleeding patterns, and other symptoms. You can use a paper chart or an app for this purpose, following a set of rules specific to the Fertility Awareness method you choose to learn.

Charting and understanding these biomarkers allow you to:

  • Identify your the fertile and infertile days in your cycle
  • Confirm whether your cycles are ovulatory
  • Estimate the date of your next period
  • Identify possible hormonal imbalances and take the right steps to address them
  • Achieve or avoid pregnancy naturally
Carmen Lorenzana - Cycle charting

Both practices complement each other

As you can see, Fertility Awareness is data-oriented, scientific, and rule-based. For this reason, it takes longer to learn it, and it’s important to do it with proper guidance from a certified Fertility Awareness instructor who can teach you about the anatomy and physiology of your cycle, how to observe your fertile signs accurately, and the specific guidelines or rules for your fertility intentions (avoid or achieve pregnancy).

Menstrual Cycle Awareness, on the other hand, is more intuitive, free. It allows you to experience your cycle as it is, be creative, express yourself, delve within, and explore the deeper aspects of yourself. To begin with MCA, you only need basic knowledge of the phases of your cycle, curiosity, and a way to document your experience (a journal, app or lunar calendar). A menstruality mentor or coach can provide gentle guidance and hold space for you as you connect with your cycle. They can support you in exploring your struggles, strengths, and needs in each phase, considering the physical, mental, and emotional aspects.

While Fertility Awareness provides more structure, Menstrual Cycle Awareness offers more freedom.

Both practices offer you the opportunity to understand your cycle and yourself. You can choose to use both or opt for one based on your intentions and desires.

If you are interested in monitoring your health, identifying possible imbalances, regulating your hormones, or naturally preventing or achieving pregnancy, I recommend starting with Fertility Awareness. You can learn more in my free class, “What are Fertility Awareness Methods, and how can they help me understand my cycle?

On the other hand, if you desire to gain more self-knowledge and sync your life with your cycle, Menstrual Cycle Awareness is the way to go. You can begin by downloading my free guide to Cycle Tracking 101 here.

And if you want more guidance or tips on where to start, I’m on the other side :) Comment below or send me a message.

Carmen Lorenzana - Free Guide The Four Phases of the Cycle

New to Menstrual Cycle Awareness and not sure where to start?

Download your free guide: The Four Phases of the Cycle 

🌱Learn about the hormonal changes, strengths & challenges you may experience in each phase of your cycle.

🌱Discover the parallels between the four phases and the seasons of the year.

🌱Learn how tracking your cycle can help you unlock your superpowers in each phase, become more mindful of your vulnerable moments, and identify what’s normal and not for you.

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