Why natural family methods when you have other options?
A significant number of couples opt for natural family methods due to religious reasons since some denominations do not accept the use of popular contraceptive practices. They advocate for a natural family method for spacing children, maintaining family size, and avoiding unintended pregnancy. They exhort their fraternity not to make use of any technique that they believe contradicts the natural process – including abortion and sterilization. This leaves many couples with no other option apart from natural family planning methods.
Other reasons include low affordability of desired family planning methods, lack of knowledge about hormonal contraceptives, side effects to medicines, etc.
What do natural family planning methods do?
The natural family planning methods act based on the principle of fertile and non-fertile days of a woman’s reproductive cycle. There are few things you need to understand in order to practice this method-
- A woman’s reproductive cycle repeats every month starting from puberty till menopause.
- A woman is not fertile on all the days of any given cycle.
- The First phase starts with day one of menstruation.
- This is followed by few days of infertility.
- After this phase starts the fertile period when the ovary gets ready to release the egg.
- This is seamlessly followed by the release of an egg from the ovum called ovulation.
- After ovulation, the woman is highly fertile.
- This phase ends with the beginning of another infertile phase that terminates in menstruation
- This completes one full cycle
So the natural family planning method targets those days of infertility to have sex.
What are the types of natural family planning method?
There are various ways to identify this fertile period to avoid sex. You can use the calendar to track your menstrual cycles and use that information to arrive at a tentative date of ovulation and days of fertility. You require information of at least six months to a year in order to accurately estimate the dates. This is also known as the rhythm method.
The other method is to find out the day of ovulation by observing the physical and biological signs in a woman. The basal body temperature of the woman drops just before ovulation and rises after ovulation, which is paralleled by the change in the consistency of the cervical mucus. The stretchability of the mucus increases, becoming clearer and wetter. There will be luteinizing hormone in urine that can be detected by testing kits. This is referred to as the fertility awareness-based method. Using physical symptoms, along with the changes in temperature, is referred to as the symptothermal method.
The other way to remain infertile is lactation, a phenomenon known as lactational amenorrhea. A woman cannot conceive if she is breastfeeding. So the period of breastfeeding acts as a natural family planning method.
What are the advantages of natural family planning methods?
The first advantage is that it is acceptable on religious grounds. For staunch couples who suffer guilt if they use other contraceptives, this proves to be a very comfortable and guilt-free method to practice. Secondly, there is no external interference in the form of medicines or other devices. Being natural, it has no side effects. In most cases, it doesn’t cost much, as compared to hormonal contraceptives.
Who cannot use this family planning method?
- Women with irregular periods cannot use this method: It becomes a very tedious task to guess the dates of the fertile period and ovulation, which will decrease the success rate of the method.
- People who cannot practice periodic abstinence, moreover, the cooperation of both partners is essential.
So find out if any of these methods are suitable for your use, and whether you want to make use of them. Be sure to meticulously follow these methods in order to avoid the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.