June 3, 2021
Editor’s Note: The FACTS Advisory Council consists of a talented and diverse group of individuals whose guidance and support are crucial to the success of our organization. Being a member of our Advisory Council is a voluntary position and all their work with FACTS is a generous contribution of time and expertise. This month, we are featuring Allison Macbeth, the newest member of the FACTS Advisory Council. Trained in the Justisse Method, she wants to break the taboos that surround topics such as periods and menstrual health and bring these conversations out into the open.
Meet Allison Macbeth
Allison is a fertility awareness and menstrual health educator. She teaches women to chart their menstrual cycles for pregnancy planning, natural birth control, and to manage hormonal health. She has a Masters of Applied Science in sexual health education from the University of Sydney and is trained as a holistic reproductive health practitioner by the Justisse College. She is a member of the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals and served on their Board from 2014 to 2018. She currently serves on the Community Advisory Council of the University of British Columbia (UBC) Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research in Vancouver, BC.
Her Path to Fertility Awareness
Allison Macbeth began her career in fertility awareness as an undergraduate by volunteering on a telephone helpline at a local family planning organization. She quickly “fell in love with sexual and reproductive health education.” When she graduated and considered her options, her next steps became clear. “I realized I needed to become a sexual health educator, so I went to Australia and got my Masters degree in sexual health.”
Although Macbeth has held various positions in this field over the years, it wasn’t until her thirties that she “discovered the true power of body literacy and fertility awareness.” Despite the skepticism she encountered in the mainstream medical world, she read and educated herself, and learned this is “a well-researched science and an evidence-based option for people, not only for birth control but also to plan pregnancy and heal hormonal health issues. Once I discovered this, I knew I had to teach it to others.” She immediately signed up for the Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner training at the Justisse College and has been teaching about this method since 2015.
Macbeth teaches about fertility awareness-based methods (FABMs) and works for the local university to create continuing education programs for family physicians in British Columbia, Canada. She first learned about FACTS from her mentor, Geraldine Matus, who founded the Justisse College and previously served on the FACTS Advisory Council.
Spreading the Word about FABMs
When asked why she joined the FACTS Advisory Council, she explained, “I love the field of health education, and with my background in medical education, FABMs, and working with physicians, this seemed like a perfect fit for me.”
There is such a lack of knowledge and so much misinformation on these topics in the mainstream medical world. I am excited to join the Council and thrilled to be a part of helping to educate and spread the word about FABMs.
She knows it’s essential for health professionals to recognize “the menstrual cycle is the fifth vital sign of health. Too often we only think of the menstrual cycle when someone is having trouble getting pregnant, but it’s so much more than that. Regardless of any desire for children, having a healthy cycle is key to (a woman’s) overall health and wellness.”
Macbeth believes it’s essential for people to understand FABMs are evidence-based and have a growing body of research to support them. She adds, “Too often old statistics are quoted or different FABMs are lumped together when efficacy rates are published, but this is not the full picture or the true story.” She stresses that not all physicians and medical professionals need to become experts in this. “That’s what fertility awareness educators are for! But if they know the basics and where to refer, they would be doing such a great service to their patients.”
She believes everyone should have access to information about their physiology “regardless of philosophical leanings, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or relationship. Body literacy is so empowering and amazing. The fact that people can heal health issues (by getting to the root of the problem), plan for pregnancy, and avoid pregnancy all with the same basic knowledge is so amazing to me.”
For Macbeth, teaching FABMs is more than a career; it’s a calling. “As soon as I discovered this knowledge, I knew I had to teach it to as many people as possible.” She finds it special to be part of people’s fertility journey to empower them to avoid pregnancy if that’s their desire and assist with hormonal health problems. “I can’t say enough amazing things about FABMs!”
Contributions to the Mission of FACTS
Dr. Marguerite Duane, co-founder of FACTS, met Macbeth around 2017 when Dr. Duane was invited to present at a Justisse conference for fertility awareness educators and health professionals. Dr. Duane presented about the FACTS elective and previewed our 5th Vital Sign presentation. “At the time,” explains Dr. Duane, “Allison was the conference education coordinator, and it was clear she recognized the importance of educating women and medical professionals about the science supporting FABMs.”
According to Dr. Duane, after she presented, “Allison and almost everyone present gave detailed, informative feedback to help us refine and more fully develop our 5th Vital Sign presentation, which is one of our cornerstone presentations to educate the medical community. From the beginning, I was impressed with her commitment to sharing the science behind FABMs. Her background in medical education at the university coupled with her knowledge of fertility awareness makes her a fantastic asset to the FACTS Advisory Council.”
More About Allison Macbeth
In addition to running her own business teaching fertility awareness, Macbeth works at the University of British Columbia as an education coordinator to create continuing education programs for family physicians and other medical and health professionals. She teaches the Justisse Method to private clients through her business. Of this work, she remarks, “I teach women how to use FABMs for natural birth control, pregnancy planning, and to manage hormonal health issues. I love how empowering this knowledge is for people, and watching them take charge of their health is amazing.”