Natural Birth Control
I learned Natural Birth Control about 13 years ago. My husband and I took a course through local teachers. The organization that we took the course through promotes abstinence during the fertile time of the month (which is a great example to set for your kids).
In the years since we started Natural Family Planning, my husband and I have adopted the practice of fertility awareness. We use alternate contraception during fertile times. We have never had an unplanned pregnancy in all these years. If you follow the rules, NFP (Natural Family Planning) is a very effective method of birth control.
This method is much more accurate than the Rhythm Method or Calendar Method of birth control. The reason these methods are not very reliable is because everyone's cycle is different and a lot of things can throw off your ovulation time (when an egg is released from the ovary), such as illness, stress, or poor nutrition.
With the sympto-thermal method of determining fertile times of the month, you have a cross-checking system to very accurately know if you are fertile or infertile. It's very effective for getting pregnant if you choose to do so. We managed to get pregnant the first month we tried, each time I got pregnant. Not true for everyone, but it is possible.
I'll start with the thermal part of the method.
You take your temperature every morning, at the same time, before getting out of bed. This is your basal (base) temperature. A basal thermometer is the best kind to use, because it's more accurate than a traditional thermometer.
Start taking your temperature the day after your period stops. There's very little chance of getting pregnant during your period, although it can happen, if you ovulate very early. Day 7 of your cycle (the first day of your cycle being the first day of your period) is the very latest day you want to start taking your temperature.
At or around the time of ovulation, your temperature will rise about 4/10 of a degree Farenheit. After 3-5 days of elevated temperature (depending on your cross-checking symptoms) you will be infertile until your period comes again in about 2 weeks.
You can tell if you have low progesterone by a short luteul phase, the time between ovulation and your next menstruation.
If you have 21 days in a row of elevated temperature, you are pregnant. No need to buy pregnancy tests with this method of birth control.
For cross-checking, you look at signs in your mucous. This is the symptom part of the method. When you have no mucous coming from your cervix inside your vagina, you are infertile. Mucous helps the sperm survive and swim to the egg.
When your mucous starts, it is usually what is called tacky. This is a drier mucous and also not very fertile (still, it's considered fertile before ovulation because sperm can live up to a week). Then the mucous changes and becomes slippery and stretchy. This is very fertile mucous. Around the time of ovulation, your mucous becomes more dry and tacky again. After 3-5 days of tacky mucous (depending on how strong the temperature rise associated with it is) you are infertile.
There are other rules for interpreting when your fertile time of the month is for natural birth control or natural family planning. You need to learn how to interpret your individual signs.
For a book that will teach you how to use natural methods of birth control from Amazon.com, click the following link:
For an easy start to natural birth control, I'm really excited about a new software program that you can use. I never considered NFP fun before but this software makes recording your symptoms simple and screens pop up to tell you whether you are fertile or not that day.
This software program helps you chart your symptoms, temperatures, and other factors while interpreting the results for you. This makes your learning curve much shorter. For example, Daylight Savings Time always used to be a little questionable for me to interpret because your temperature is higher, the later you take it. So an hour's difference in time can make your temperature off by two tenths of a degree. This software made the transition of a time change a breeze.
You can use this software alone or with the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" sold above. If you are intent on not having an unplanned pregnancy, I recommend the two together.
I found this software to have excellent descriptions for the different types of mucous that you will need to record in order to have an accurate interpretation of your fertility chart. This software is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a fertility diagnostic device and aid-to-conception.
Ovusoft Fertility Software claims a 90% user effectiveness rating for preventing pregnancy. This includes people that don't follow the rules or don't record their temperature, symptoms, and disturbances correctly. If you record carefully (the book will help) and use the strict interpretation rules, your ability to prevent pregnancy will jump to around the same effectiveness rating as that of birth control pills. The course that I took, teaching this same symto-thermal method of fertility awareness, claims a 98% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, when the rules are followed.
In the long run, NFP is the best for your health and your pocketbook.
Do your body a favor, and get off the synthetic hormones used in contraceptive birth control pills, patches, and injections.
Health Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, cure, prevent or treat any diseases or conditions. The information here is not provided by medical professionals and is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Please consult your physician or qualified individual before beginning any course of treatment.