Fertility awareness-based methods have been linked to shorter time to conception; however, little is known about the predictors of fertility awareness-based method use among women who are currently or will soon be trying to conceive.
To identify predictors of fertility awareness-based methods use among women trying to conceive or contemplating pregnancy within the next year.
Women participating in the Nurses' Health Study 3 were asked if they were trying to become pregnant or contemplating pregnancy and whether they are using fertility awareness-based methods. Multivariable negative binomial regression was used to identify predictors for a number of fertility awareness-based methods used.
Among the 23,418 women asked about pregnancy intention since 2015, 955 were trying to conceive, and 2,282 were contemplating pregnancy within the next year. The three most used fertility awareness-based methods among women trying to conceive were menstrual cycle tracking, ovulation prediction kits, and cervical mucus monitoring. Among women contemplating pregnancy, the three most commonly used methods were menstrual cycle tracking, cervical mucus monitoring, and basal body temperature monitoring. The ongoing duration of pregnancy attempts and gravidity were associated with the number of methods used among women actively trying to conceive. When compared to women who were trying for 2 months or less, the number of methods was 29% higher when trying for 3-5 months, 45% higher when trying for 6-12 months, and 38% higher when trying for more than 1 year. Compared to nulligravid women, the number of methods was lower for women with a history of two or more pregnancies. Among women contemplating pregnancy, those who were married or in a domestic partnership used more fertility awareness-based methods than unpartnered women. No other significant predictors of fertility awareness-based methods use were identified.
Duration of ongoing pregnancy attempt and gravidity were the only significant predictors for the number of fertility awareness-based methods used among women actively trying to conceive, whereas partnership was the only significant predictor of the number of fertility awareness-based methods among women contemplating pregnancy.