Natural Family Planning (NFP) is about pregnancy prevention techniques revolving around a woman’s fertile days. When couples are using natural family planning it is crucial that they abstain from all unprotected sexual intercourse when the woman is fertile. Natural family planning is also sometimes referred to as fertility awareness contraception.
People with wide differences in religious and ethical beliefs practice natural family planning. These methods can also provide alternatives to women who wish to use natural methods of contraception as opposed to pharmacologically based methods. There are many different natural family planning methods available to women. These are discussed in this article.
The Standard Days Method
This is a new fertility awareness method. This method focuses around the concept of a “fixed window” of fertility which makes it easier for a woman to find out when she is likely to become pregnant. It involves no calculations and this makes it a very easy method to teach. It is also extremely easy for women to learn how to use because of this as well. Women who have cycles between 26 to 32 days simply avoid having unprotected sex on days 8 to day 19. Women use beads which are color-coded to keep track to their menstrual days.
The Two Day Method
The Two-Day method is also another new, simple approach to natural family planning. It uses a very simple algorithm to aid women in identifying their fertile days and is based on the presence (or absence) of cervical secretions. A woman who notices secretions knows that she will be fertile the next day and should avoid having unprotected sex. Two days with no cervical secretions indicate that she is no longer fertile.
The Ovulation Method
This natural family planning is also referred to as the Cervical Mucus Method. It relies on the woman’s understanding and interpretation of her cervical secretions. When she is most fertile, these secretions are clear, wet and slippery. If she wishes to avoid pregnancy, she should avoid unprotected sexual intercourse for three days after first noticing secretions such as these.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Method
Women who wish to practice natural family planning by using the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Method also sometimes called the calendar method, recognize their fertile days by keeping track of their body temperature. They take their temperature each morning when they wake up. A woman’s body temperature will dip slightly just prior to ovulation and then rise very slightly (about 2 degrees Celsius) following ovulation.
This method requires the observation of changes in cervical secretions as well as changes in a woman’s basal body temperature. Women are also instructed on how to monitor the position and feel of the opening of their cervix. They are also taught to recognize other signs of fertility such as mid-cycle pain. Fertility is also sometimes accompanied by bleeding caused by the egg’s rupture from the ovary.
Lactational Amenorrhea Method
This method is based on evidence that a woman is unlikely to become pregnant while lactating or while exclusively breastfeeding an infant. Breastfeeding is only considered to be complete when no supplemental feedings, even water, are provided to the infant in question. The infant must be feeding day and night and be separated very little from its mother. This method will be effective only as long as the woman has not resumed menstruation, the baby is less than six months old and no bottle feeding or supplemental feeding of any kind occurs.