Natural Family Planning: How Does It Work?

natural family planning

Natural family planning is a method that can be used to record and observe your body’s natural signs of fertility during every day of your menstrual cycle. The main signs that are taken into account are the length of your cycle, cervical mucus and your body temperature. Your fertile time can be identified by any changes in the above-mentioned fertility indicators. It is important to note that many women need extra support when choosing the natural way – as periods can be heavier and period pains more intense compared to when you’re using hormonal contraceptives. For more info on what supplements would be the best for you, go to

For How Many Days Am I Fertile Per Month?

During each menstrual cycle, you are fertile for around 7-9 days. The egg can live for up to one day and sperm can live for up to seven days in a woman’s body. You might, therefore, get pregnant even if you had intercourse seven days before ovulation.

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Is It Effective?

The effectiveness of any contraceptive method depends on whether you follow the instructions, how often you have intercourse and how old you are. If 100 women (sexually active) don’t use any form of contraception, between 70 and 90 will get pregnant over a period of 365 days. If natural family planning is used as it should, it can be up to 99% effective. This means that one woman might get pregnant over a period of 365 days. It is even more effective when more than one fertility indicator is used to determine your fertility – the more, the better. Some couples prefer to use natural family planning in combination with condoms.

Why Should I Use Natural Family Planning?

It can help you to become more aware of your body and fertility signs and will, therefore, help you to avoid or plan a pregnancy. On top of that, you will experience no physical side effects, often experienced with using hormonal birth control methods and it is acceptable to all cultures and faiths. It can further also help you to become in touch with your body by recognising abnormal and normal vaginal secretions and it will help you to better communicate about your sexuality and fertility. It has been noted by many women, that it can also increase your libido.

What Are The Cons of Natural Family Planning?

  • Travel, stress, lifestyle or illness can affect the fertility indicators – making it more difficult to interpret.
  • It can take up to six months to learn the method effectively.
  • You have to keep records every day.
  • You can’t have intercourse during fertile times or you need to use condoms during this time.

Is This For Anyone?

Natural methods can be used by most women, as long as they receive good support and clear instructions. Women can use it at all stages of their lives, although it might not be suitable for women who do not have periods. When approaching menopause, after having a miscarriage or abortion, during breastfeeding and after stopping hormonal birth control, it is possible that you might have irregular cycles and it might, therefore, take longer to get to grips with your fertility indicators.

How To Monitor Your Cervical Secretions

The amount of progesterone and estrogen at different times during the menstrual cycle alters the type and quantity of cervical mucus. Cervical secretions can be monitored in order to identify the end and start of your fertile days. Your vulva will feel dry and there won’t be any cervical secretions a few days after your period. Once your estrogen levels rise – when your body is ready for ovulation – the secretions begin to increase in sensation and amount and the texture changes. At the beginning of the fertile time, it appears creamy or white in colour and it feels sticky and moist. Closer to ovulation it becomes slippery, stretchy, wetter and clearer. This indicates the most fertile time of your cycle. The secretions return to being sticky and thicker after ovulation. Remember that the quality and amount of cervical secretions will vary from one cycle to another and from one woman to another.

Monitor Changes In Your Cervix

During the menstrual cycle, you will experience that your cervix feels different and that it changes position. Your cervix will feel higher, slightly open and soft during fertile times and closed, firm and low in the vagina during infertile times. These observations shouldn’t be used as the only methods, but should rather be used in combination with as many other fertility indicators as possible for the most effective results.

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