Thursday, June 26, 2008

Natural Family Planning

After more than 1 year taking birth control pills, I decided to opt for natural family planning. My reason is very simple….I’ve gained weight!! After giving birth, I’ve asked the doctor whether the pills will affect my weight; she said it’s a myth! According to her taking pills does have side effects which are headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating, decreased sex drive (libido) and depression but not weight gain!!

Yeah right!! I have experience most of the side effect as well as gaining weight! When I met the doctor again explaining my weight problems, she simply said, well why don’t you take this pills….she was talking about the most expensive pills…maybe not so expensive for some people but RM56 per months is rather costly for me!

I decided to write about the natural family planning because I hope by writing this article I can understand more how this method works. Until this moment I still have doubts whether it will works for me or not!

Here’s how natural family planning works….

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a means of preventing pregnancy by avoiding unprotected intercourse during a woman’s fertile period, when she’s most likely to become pregnant. Natural family planning is based upon certain facts about a woman's eggs and a man's sperm:
  • A woman has two ovaries, one on each side of the uterus. Each month, one of the ovaries releases an egg into a fallopian tube. This is called ovulation. It typically occurs about 12–14 days before the start of the menstrual period.
  • For example, if a woman has a regular 28 day menstrual cycle, counting the first day of her period as day one, then she will usually ovulate on day 14. If her cycle lasts 32 days, then she usually ovulates on day 18.
  • Once ovulation has occurred, the sperm has only 24 hours within which to fertilize the egg in the woman's Fallopian tubes.
  • Sperm can survive for up to seven days following intercourse
The Menstrual Cycle

The ‘typical’ menstrual cycle occurs regularly over 28 days. Most women have cycles with an interval that lasts from 21 to 35 days. The woman’s cycle must be regular to identify the three phases of fertility during each menstrual cycle.

The first phase is the first infertile phase, or the first safe period when the woman is unlikely to fall pregnant. This starts on the first day of the woman's period and ends on the earliest date from which sperm could survive long enough to fertilize the egg. This first safe period is short because sperm can survive for up to seven days after intercourse and a woman may ovulate early. Therefore, unprotected intercourse during this first phase may result in pregnancy.

The fertile phase is the time when a woman is most likely to fall pregnant. If pregnancy is desired then this is the time when a woman is most likely to conceive. The fertile phase lasts from the end of the first phase until 24 hours after ovulation.

The second infertile phase or safe period when a woman is less likely to fall pregnant is more predictable than the first phase. This phase lasts from the end of the fertile phase until the beginning of the woman's next period.

Menstruation is a very complicated process involving many different hormones, the woman's sex organs and the brain. However, the menstrual cycle doesn’t have to be a drag, it actually shows how complex your body is and a sign that it is functioning properly! Congratulations you are a woman and being a woman is terrific.

There are few methods for Natural Family Planning but after extensive reading about NFP, I think there are 2 methods which is (for me) easy to understand and used i.e Calendar Method and Two Days Method.

The Calendar Method

To calculate the fertile days using the calendar method a woman first must determine the length of her menstrual cycle in days. Day one of the menstrual cycle is the first day of period bleeding and the last day of cycle is the day before bleeding begins with the next period. By doing this for several months a woman who has slightly irregular cycles can determine the range of her fertile cycle.

The first day of the fertile phase is found by subtracting 18 days from the length of the shortest cycle. To find the last day of the fertile phase, subtract 11 days from the longest cycle. In this sample, the shortest menstrual cycle in the past 6 months was 28 days. The longest menstrual cycle in the past 6 months was 31 days.

To calculate the fertile phase:
Subtract 19 from the shortest cycle (28 days) = 10
Subtract 11 from the longest cycle (31 days) = 20

This means the first day of the fertile phase is Day 10. The last day of the fertile phase is Day 20. If a couple is using this method to avoid pregnancy, they would not have sex during Day 10–Day 20 of the woman's menstrual cycle.

The effectiveness of calendar method is 87%. This means that 13 put of 100 women practicing this method for one year will get pregnant. This calendar method isn’t dependable if your cycles vary in length

Two Day Method

The Two Day Method is a new simple approach to NFP. It relies on a simple algorithm to help women identify when they are fertile, based upon the presence or absence of cervical secretion.

If you decide to use the Two Day Method, check for cervical mucus at the vulva or on toilet paper two times each day: once in the afternoon and once before bed. Ask yourself two questions. Do I have any secretions today? Did I have any secretions yesterday? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, then you should avoid unprotected intercourse, because you might be fertile. If the answer to both questions is no (two days in a row without secretions), then you’re not in a fertile part of your cycle and can have unprotected intercourse.

Many woman use a chart to mark fertile and infertile days, as well as the start of each cycle. It’s important for women using this method to know how to recognize cervical mucus.

The effectiveness of Two Day Method is 86%. In other words, out of 100 women using Two Day Method over one year, 14 get pregnant.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So I'm curious how the NFP method has worked out long term for you, as we have been practicing it (with a little help from QAL tincture) with 100% success over the past 2 years.