Natural Family Planning Methods
Natural family planning methods, when done properly, are an effective alternative to birth control pills and barrier methods to prevent pregnancy. Many women chose natural family planning because they do not like the way their bodies react to hormones in birth control or for religious reasons. Some churches do not support the use of other birth control methods. In naturally family planning methods a woman listens to her body’s fertile clues to plan intercourse. There are a few different choices in natural family planning, understanding how each method works will allow you to make the right birth control choice for you and your partner.
- Couples wishing to postpone pregnancy using natural family planning methods learn to identify the signs of fertility in a woman's body during her monthly cycle. They avoid sex during these fertile times. A woman can only get pregnant after the egg has been released from the ovary and is in the fallopian tube or uterus. Unfertilized eggs only live for 12 hours. Avoiding intercourse after the egg is released eliminates the chance of pregnancy. Sperm can live inside a woman’s body for a span of three to five days. Because of this, couples must refrain from intercourse prior to ovulation as well.
- Different ways are used to determine of ovulation. Most couples combine techniques for more accuracy. During ovulation a women’s cervical mucus becomes stretchy, clear, and slippery, similar to egg whites. When a woman has egg white mucus she is fertile and couples should abstain from sexual activity.
- Another method involves having the woman take her resting temperature first thing in the morning upon waking up. During ovulation her temperature will show a slight increase. Sex can resume a day or two later.
- Less effective is the calendar method of natural family planning. In the calendar method woman predict their next ovulation based off of their previous cycle pattern. Unfortunately, not all women have regular cycles making this method far less successful. Women with cycles that are more regular can determine their fertile peak by tracking their period over the course of several months.
- Combining methods works for many women. Many women track their basal body temperature and monitor their daily cervical mucus to better determine the signs of ovulation. Knowing exactly when ovulation happens helps couples avoid fertile times during the women's cycle. Women may add the calendar method as well, to give them a better idea when to expect ovulation.