The Sympto-thermal Method of Fertility Awareness: An Overview

wrote this on January 16, 2015

I know, I know, “sympto-thermal method of fertility awareness” is quite the mouthful. The long name alone might be enough to make you want to turn around and run, but read on! In this post, I’ll provide a brief overview of what the sympto-thermal method is, some of its benefits, and what sorts of folks can benefit from learning it (HINT: probably you!).


When I think about what the sympto-thermal method (STM) is, I’m reminded of the classic quote: “It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superman!” Not because STM is often mistaken for flying objects, but because it can mask as so many amazing things. Before I get into listing out all those things, here’s an overview:

The sympto-thermal method, broadly defined, is education about how the female reproductive system works. This includes how hormones work together to create the menstrual cycle, what exactly happens during the menstrual cycle (and it’s not just ovulation and your period!), and why periods exist (despite many of us wishing they didn’t).

More specifically, STM is the application of this information in order to achieve health and family planning goals.

Benefits of STM:

I mentioned that STM is a lot of things…so, what are those things?

  1. If you struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), heavy periods, menstrual cramps, or any other unpleasant period problems, practicing STM means visualizing the health of your hormones, making it easier to take steps to improve it. It also means shedding light on hormone imbalance and reproductive disorders.

  2. If you’re seeking a highly effective alternative to hormonal contraception—or if you’re tired of the pill and want to know what else is out there—practicing STM means effectively preventing pregnancy without artificial hormones or devices.

  3. If you’re trying to conceive, thinking about trying, or struggling to conceive, practicing STM means identifying your body’s most fertile days, helping you maximize your chances of getting pregnant.

  4. If you’re interested in ridiculously accurate period predictions (I know I am!), practicing STM can help you predict your next period…in many cases right down to the day! Talk about period preparedness.

Who can use it?

More than likely, you can find benefits of practicing and/or learning about STM regardless of your family planning goals, relationship status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. All you really need is functioning ovaries. Even having a hysterectomy doesn’t rule you out since your ovaries will still be producing hormones!

Whether you’re looking to accurately predict your upcoming periods, having trouble getting pregnant, thinking about getting pregnant, seeking alternative birth control options, considering stopping hormonal contraception, looking to improve your hormone health, or just trying to gain an understanding of all your body’s organized madness, learning STM might just help.

The human body is freaking amazing, y’all. The effects of understanding the female reproductive system can propagate into many areas of your life.

Learn more about the sympto-thermal method on our website, download this free book about the sympto-thermal method, or check out this highly-rated book about fertility awareness for more information.

You can also download the Groove app to help you track your cycles and practice the sympto-thermal method.

Jennifer Aldoretta is the cofounder and CEO of Groove. She is an entrepreneur, engineer, and biohacker who is obsessed with periods, nutrition, hormones, and the microbiome.