Fertility awareness method intention scale

The Intention Scale

DECEMBER 31, 2022

An intention scale is a tool used to measure a person's level of commitment to achieving a specific goal. It can help determine what resources and support are needed.

When it comes to gauging pregnancy acceptability, some people know without a doubt that they do — or do not — want babies. Certainty moves them to opposite ends of the scale.

However, many people fall somewhere in the middle. There can be fluidity and fluctuations as seasons, relationships and cycles shift.

I started my fertility awareness charting journey strictly avoiding pregnancy and remained committed to it for over 4 years. I was a #1-#2 on the scale. I was committed to not having children, and I was very uncomfortable with taking risks.

As time passed, my partner and I leaned into FAM for birth control. I learned to trust myself a lot more. We got a little comfortable with calculated risks. And, eventually, we started taking bigger risks here and there. We went from a #1.5 to a #3-#4. Whatever combination of factors and intentions contributed to this behavior, it came with more conversations about starting a family.

Then we took a timely jump up to a #9, and nine months later our daughter Holly was born. 

I acknowledge that there’s a subconscious level of thinking surrounding issues of fertility that can’t be measured on an intention scale. And, oftentimes we see ourselves somewhere in the in-between (as I've alluded to here myself.) And yet it's pretty clear to me how the scale is relevant.

A fertility awareness intention scale (or pregnancy acceptability scale, or conception scale…whatever you want to call it) is a helpful tool for charters and their intimate partner/s because it fosters communication regarding charting goals and fertility-related decisions.

Having a shared understanding of intentions can also inform fertility awareness educators on how to support clients in optimizing a fertility awareness method for their purposes.

Educators/organizations offer different versions of an intention scale, especially as it relates to beliefs around reproductive technology and pregnancy release. However, the concept of articulating one’s intentions and associating them with aligned actions applies broadly to those for whom all of the outcomes are possible.

Below, I’ve shared how I think about the intention scale in detail. I’ve based it on the majority of my client population and their behaviors. Generally, these are heterosexual couples who are sexually active and somewhat consistently or very consistently charting. I’ve had many conversations with folks about what “avoiding” actually means to them, and incorporated a variety of scenarios in the scale that come from real-life dynamics. A percentage of people may identify with a split, and that’s okay, too. The scale is just meant to be useful for examining and aligning fertility awareness charting with fertility-related goals. 

Example of A Fertility Awareness Method Intention Scale:

To Support Charters in Examining and Aligning Fertility Intentions & Behaviors

TTC – Trying To Conceive

TTW – Trying to Whatever

TTA – Trying to Avoid

10 TTC – Seriously TTC. Consistently charting and having well-timed intercourse every cycle. Would pursue any fertility treatments/procedures (IUI, IVF) and lifestyle changes to support conception and early pregnancy. May be open to working with a surrogate.

9 TTC – Hopefully, actively TTC. Consistently charting and having well-timed intercourse every cycle. Would consider some fertility treatments/procedures and lifestyle changes if recommended.

8 TTC – Unassisted TTC. May or may not be consistently charting, but very aware of signs of fertility. Having intercourse every cycle around a known or presumed fertile window. Not considering any fertility treatments/procedures. Would consider a few lifestyle changes if recommended.

7 TTC/TTW – May or may not be consistently charting or intentionally having intercourse on fertile days, but a pregnancy would be very welcome. Thinking about becoming more serious about TTC in the future.

6 TTW – Charting for body literacy and/or for health reasons without a goal related to avoiding or achieving pregnancy. Intercourse happens when it happens and includes fertile days. Pregnancy would be welcome.

5 TTW/TTA – Kind of avoiding, but not seriously. Intercourse sometimes occurs on fertile days. Withdrawal or a barrier method is usually used. Pregnancy would be welcome.

4 TTA – Avoiding, with low risks. Protected PIV intercourse occasionally occurs on fertile days using short-term birth control methods like an external condom, diaphragm, or withdrawal (or a combination). An unexpected pregnancy may be ultimately welcome.

3 TTA – Avoiding, with very low risks. Alternates to PIV intercourse occur on fertile days (such as oral or anal sex.)

2 TTA – Avoiding, no risks. Abstaining per the method's rules and guidelines. Measures would not be taken to prohibit an unplanned pregnancy from continuing.

1 TTA – Avoiding, no risks. Abstaining per the method's rules and guidelines. Measures may be taken to end an unplanned pregnancy.

0 TTA – Avoiding, no risks. Abstaining per the method's rules and guidelines. Measures would be taken to end a pregnancy.

I hope this scale opens up more communication and conversation regarding your fertile life. Please, only take what you want/need from the concept.

Feedback? Questions? Want to chat about intentions and fertility awareness charting? I live for it. Email me at sara@periflow.com or find me on IG @periflow.health.

To your best intentions in 2023 and beyond,

- Sara

This post is intended to support people who chart their cycles with a fertility-related goal in mind. It is not medical advice.

[BACK] Our Stress Cycle
Fertility Awareness Educator Sara at Reverence Fertility

About the Author

Sara (she/her) is a Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner and Fertility Awareness Educator serving clients virtually and locally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Since 2016, Sara has used fertility awareness based methods to avoid pregnancy, optimize her fertility, time a pregnancy with her partner and navigate postpartum fertility.