Contrary to what our 8th grade health teacher taught us, reproduction is about so much more than eggs and sperm. And that’s where it can get a little... shall we say... complicated. Complicated as well as emotional, pragmatic and sometimes overwhelming. Whether employees are doing their best to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, hoping to have a child soon or simply confused about their own reproductive health, incorporating fertility resources into wellness programs benefits both employees as well as the company.
To help make the often touchy subject of fertility and reproduction a bit more manageable, it’s best to start with a holistic perspective. Simple, everyday life choices can go a long way. In addition to providing access to counselors, nutritionists, personal trainers, stress management tools and support groups, a wellness program can also include fertility and family planning resources such as acupuncturists, chiropractors, sex health educators and information about fertility awareness.
When a woman or couple uses fertility awareness, they’re keeping track of certain changes in her body throughout her cycle. These changes let her know when she’s fertile and when she’s not fertile, as well as provide some wonderful and non-invasive insight into her reproductive health. If she consults with a qualified Fertility Awareness Educator, she’ll also accurately learn what’s normal, what’s normal for her and what may be an issue to discuss with her health care practitioner.
Fertility Awareness for Birth Control
Many reliable research studies have reported the high effectiveness rates for modern fertility awareness-based methods (which are NOT the out dated Rhythm Method). It’s easy to learn and simple to use if it’s properly taught, correctly used and there’s a strong motivation to avoid pregnancy. Hormonal contraception and birth control devices may be the best choice for some women and couples, and fertility awareness or a combination of methods may be the best choice for others. Wellness programs can include family planning resources that provide a thorough education about all contraceptive options, including risks and benefits, so that employees can make individualized, personal and well-informed decisions regarding their reproductive health goals.
Fertility Awareness for Conceiving and Parenting
In 2013, a study reported that over 87% of women who sought artificial reproductive technologies after trying to conceive for about a year did not know which days of their cycle they could get pregnant. The authors concluded, "Poor fertility awareness may be a contributing cause of infertility.” If women have good fertility awareness skills, they may be able to eliminate some cases of initial infertility and the resources spent on fertility treatments such as time, financial expenses, physical side effects, emotions and stress. Wellness programs can include family planning resources for those trying to conceive as well as those using a surrogate, fostering or adopting a child, and those who are already parents.
Fertility Awareness for Empowerment
When a woman charts her cycle, it not only gives her a better understanding of her body, but it also gives her health care practitioner information about her reproductive and general health. Any questions or confusion about her cycle can then be more easily answered and resolved. Wellness programs can include resources like fertility charting apps (check out Kindara) as well as classes and information about fertility awareness from qualified educators and holistic providers (like massage therapists, yoga teachers, herbalists and nutritionists).
If reducing absenteeism and presenteeism (attending work while sick/distracted), proving the ROI on these initiatives and lowering health insurance costs make sense to you, then adding fertility resources to your corporate wellness program would be a great next step. Discover more by watching MINDBODY’s latest webinar about how to create family-friendly wellness programs.