I know that the Catholic church has tons of materials on natural family planning. Even if you're not Catholic, I think they'd provide you with some. Most of the time they want to share their beliefs and encourage others to follow. Also your gynecologist and/or doctor could provide this info to you.
Also of note, every one of my friends who has practiced natural family planning has two or more kids. Its not a reliable method, if you ask me.
I remember someone on here talking about the details of this, but I can't find it & was hoping someone can explain that to me. I thought nfp was similar to knowing when you ovulate and all those other factors of when a women is most fertile.
there is also a book called "the art of natural family planning" (what i used) and we also use condoms during my fertile period. we have been doing natural family planning for over a year and have not gotten pregnant. it's free, there are no side effects and my husband and i BOTH communicate about our goals, thoughts and sexuality, as opposed to him expecting and relying on me to pop a pill once a day and that's his only responsibility... it was like that for the year i was on the pill and i decided i'd had enough. i love NFP.
there are several people who post on this forum that can help you with information, but the best thing to do is buy one of the books and find someone in your community, either someone you know, or a group that meets together to learn and help each other with it, that way you can have face to face contact with people who know what they're talking about because they're walking through it too.
there are three ways to tell if you are fertile and about to ovulate. the various methods of natural family planning teach you how to monitor one, two or all three symptoms. i'm not sure about the book "taking charge of your fertility" since i didn't read that one, but "the art of natural family planning" teaches you all three, sort of like triple checking to be sure where you are in your cycle. and the art of natural family planning explains the methods over and over again throughout each section of the book, so it's really clear.
when i first started asking about it, most of the people i talked to said "oh i had friends that did that and they've got 8 kids!" well what their friends did was go off BCP and just "see what happens". that is not natural family planning. i found a couple people in my community, one couple that has kids my age (mid twenties) who planned all their pregnancies and had no surprises, and another couple who has two young boys, one who was conceived while she was on BCP, the second who was planned with NFP.
as far as your question about when you are fertile, the time frame is slightly different for every woman, so don't just guess. learn the techniques and go from there. but it is roughly around a week after your period is over (any time in between your period and the time you ovulate you could potentially become pregnant, for reasons we can explain in another post if you are interested). to be safe, the organizations/books that teach NFP usually suggest about a 7 day time frame - a few days before and a few days after when you would actually be fertile. some women, who have short cycles like 21 days or less, can become pregnant if they have sex (without barrier protection) on the last or even second to last day of their period. but most women who are around 28 days usually ovulate about a week after their period.
like i said, don't try to estimate this time, learn the techniques. but just so you know, that's the time frame. after you ovulate (which is a different time for every woman, every cycle, so don't try to count the days) you cannot get pregnant because there is nothing to fertilize, and it is ok to have sex without a condom or any other form of barrier method, without risking getting pregnant.
also, just some encouragement. the first month will probably be a little confusing as your body comes off BCP (my first cycle off BCP was 45 days long, but after that i was back to normal) and as you are learning first-hand about your cycle as you monitor the symptoms of fertility. it's easy to feel like you're getting it wrong or making a mistake, just because you're just beginning to learn it. just be extra careful the first few weeks. sticking with it will make a world of difference. by the end of the second cycle you should start to feel comfortable with your ability to monitor you body's symptoms. this is why it's really important to connect with people in your life who use natural family planning, so you can have someone right there ready to share with you and help you.
be ready for lots of discouragement from people around you. my in-laws were POSITIVE we were going to get pregnant and literally said "it's only a matter of time". well, here we are more than a year later...no babies. when people don't know a lot about it, it's easy for them to try to discourage you, mostly because they want to help you, but they just do it in a negative way. just smile and say "thanks for helping me be real about everything" but stay strong if this is something you really want to do. it is totally worth it.
there are a lot of other things the books and women in your community (life) who use NFP can share with you and teach you. but if you have any questions, feel free to ask!
It's a far better method for having children rather than as a means of contraception, in my opinion. A woman's cycle has to be perfectly regular and exact each month, and very few women are like this. I just saw an ad for strips that are ovulation testers for the whole month, sort of like a pregnancy test, I guess. They'll keep you informed of the exact date that you're ovulating. Still, it's far easier to use natural family planning or the rhythm method in order to conceive because pregnancy can occur so easily without any contraception. Sperm can live inside for longer than expected, you might have released an egg only a week after your menstrual cycle, etc, etc. Unless other forms of contraception are against your religion or ethics or if you sincerely are ready for children and wouldn't mind getting pregnant, you might want to consider sticking with some sort of other contraception in addition to tracking your fertile days. I would think relying completely on your cycle with unprotected sex would be too risky. Good luck and God bless!
"Not everything that steps out of line, and thus 'abnormal,' must necessarily be 'inferior.'"
Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 07-22-2005 at 03:57 PM.
Your cycle does NOT have to be perfectly regular to use this method. Because it has nothing to do with counting days. You are monitoring the unique fertility signs that your body reveals to you (such as the presence of cervical fluid).
And whatever you do, don't use those ovulation strips as contraception! First, they only tell you 24 hours before ovulation. You are usually fertile for about 5 days before ovulation. Second, you can get a false positive. Which might lead you to think you ovulated and you are safe, when in reality you didn't, and you aren't.
I agree with the book suggestions the others gave. I love Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Every single one of my female relatives uses nfp and there have been no surprises. Most of the times when there is an "oops" its because the couple knowingly took a risk, not because the method failed.
My husband and I have been using NFP for 3 years and love it. I have several friends who use NFP to concieve (some over the age of 40) and it is very successful.
My two sisters practice NFP, about 10 or 12 of my friends practice it and all of them seem pleased with it.
I wish that women were taught how their bodies work. It is absolutely incredible! We were only told how to cope with our menstrual cycles. No one ever explained the fertile times/infertile times in a woman's cycle. In fact, I had a situation when I was in my early 20's I would get some pain/pressure in my lower abdomen. I went to my gynocologist and he starting spouting endometriousis, cysts, tumors, etc. I was freaking out. He did exploratory surgery and found nothing. Years later, I learned through NFP class that the pain was called Middleschmertz (spelling?) and it happens to some women during ovulation.
I get very upset when I hear the drug companies touting the safety of BC pills, morning after pills, etc. when there have been so many DEATHS, illnesses, horrible side effects that are attributed to them.
Location: bourg d'oisans, isere, france (the alps)
Re: Natural Family Planning
Hi, I'm catholic and it's not my thing to impose my views on anyone but if you go on to omsoul.com (one more soul) you'll find tons of info. I use NFP for moral reasons but morality and nature are kind of linked and if you could get a copy of Janet Smith's 'Contraception Why Not' she might be able to explain a few things that are kind of serious. However, if you know you might be closed minded or become bitter or angry towards the church's views, perhaps not. Ps - my husband claims to be a huge non-believer and is all confused and bitter with regards to the church. We don't broach the subject together but when I explained why (from the natural, biological and self respect point of view) I would NEVER contracept, he didn't have to think twice about it. I could give a million reasons why I think NFP is vital for today's society and couples but Janet would do a better job, if you're interested that is. Ps - hat off for even wanting to investigate it, not a lot of women do.
I vote another for Taking Charge of Your Fertility book!!!! I LOVE this book!! It has taught me so much about things I didn't realize that it's been invaluable. And it's a shame it wasn't mandatory reading for all girls during health class in high school. Oh the problems I could have avoided.....
But anyway, seriously. Pick up the book and I can guarantee it will be an eye-opener. I highly, highly reccommend it!!!!!
I quit using BC long ago and have resorted to NFP and it works like a charm(my DH and I make sure and use condoms during the crucial periods). I did just have a baby a month ago, but that was planned---but before---it worked like a charm and we plan on using the same method when we resume having sex.
As for the book, I've never read it! It seems to be informative---might have to get it! ))
Just learn to be intune with our body---learn how to read it and you will be OK.
I come from a Catholic family.. My parents have been married for over 30 years and have never used any type of bc other than NFP and maintain a healthy sex life even today. I only have one sibling, and my parents claim that we were both planned. When I went on bc i mentioned it to my mom and she almost jumped out of a window. She stressed how easy and how much more effective NFP is than any other method. I don't know, I didn't believe it then but now it makes more sense.. still using something else though.