Natural Family Planning Methods
The very essence of planning a family naturally is to know and understand when you ovulate. In order to know that you have to have an understanding of the hormonal activity surrounding ovulation. This knowledge helps you to identify when you are fertile and when you are infertile.
Fertile – You are fertile from approx. day 6 of your cycle until 24 hours after you ovulate.
Note: Sperm can thrive in fertile mucous for up to six days.
Note: It is possible, although rare that a second egg can drop.
Infertile – You are infertile from four days after the LH Surge kicks in, or 24 hours after ovulation (but if trying to avoid pregnancy allow for a second egg to drop, until 5 to 7 days into your next cycle.
FYI: The life cycle of an egg is 24 hours. Ovulation takes place within 36 hours of the LH Surge. Four days after the LH Surge, a woman should be infertile again.
If trying to get pregnant relax and have fun. Stressing about timing can cause you to miss the opportunity. Remember the sperm can live for six days in fertile mucous, so really any time after menstruation is a good time.
A fertility monitor, or ovulation prediction kit, can help you figure out when you ovulate by reading your ovulation hormone(s).
The Luteinizing Hormone (LH) Estrogen Progesterone.
The Clearblue fertility monitor is read by urinating on a stick, similar to a pregnancy test, then the stick is placed in the monitor for reading.
For a proper reading, it is important that the first urination of the day be used.
Once the first reading of the cycle takes place – there is a fertility reading time-frame of three hours before, and three hours after, the time of that first reading.
For example, if the first reading of the cycle is at 8.00 am, the fertility reading window will be open from 5.00 am to 11.00 am (three hours before 8.00 am and three hours after 8.00 am) and that window won’t change until the next cycle.
Using a fertility monitor is a simple process in that it does not require taking temperature, checking mucus, charting etc. Clearblue maintain that their fertility monitor is 99% accurate.
Cost: Approx $100 for the monitor, and $20 per month for sticks.
Ovusense is a small monitoring device that is placed in the vagina at night. It monitors the core body temperature every 5 minutes, which determines the daily progesterone level. In the morning the sensor is taken out and placed in the monitor and read. The monitor records and charts the body temperature which lets a woman know a day in advance that she will ovulate. It requires a startup fee and a monthly subscription. Ovusense claims a 99% accuracy rate.
Cost: Approx $300 for a starter pack with a one-year subscription and then $35 per month.
Creighton Model Fertility Care System
Creighton observes and charts biological markers (bio-markers), which tell a woman when she is naturally fertile or infertile. It also detects any fertility abnormalities.
It is the basis for NaProTechnology which is a new women’s health science that monitors and maintains a woman’s reproductive and gynecological health over a lifetime.
This system is used in conjunction with a trained health professional and provides medical and surgical treatments that cooperate completely with the reproductive system.
Costs vary from country to country, region to region and health insurance company to health insurance company.
Symptothermal – Couple to Couple League
Sympto was developed by the Swiss Symptotherm foundation which is dedicated to ecologically friendly conception and contraception. It relies on a combination of temperature taking and checking the cervical mucus to determine fertile and non-fertile days. This is a global program and a woman or couple are assigned a coach to help them for the first six months until they are comfortable with the process.
Cycle beads can be used to identify the most likely time of ovulation. This system is very easy to use and inexpensive, however, the woman’s cycle needs to be regular and between 26 and 32 days. The system was developed at The Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University. The university tested it in large scale clinical trials and found it to be 95% accurate. When a woman is breastfeeding it is recommended to wait for four menstrual cycles to use the beads.
Billings Ovulation Method
The Billings Ovulation Method trains women to be aware of the sensation of mucus at the vulva. Being aware of mucus alerts the woman that she is fertile. Once ovulation has passed the mucus dries up creating an unfriendly, acidic environment for the sperm. The Billings method does not require an internal examination like the Symptothermal method. The woman just records her most fertile sensation of the day on a chart, over time she looks for a pattern that allows her to identify her peak fertility. She knows she is infertile post ovulation.
Rhythm or Calendar Method
The Rhythm or Calendar method was developed in the 1930’s and it simply records the days of the menses on a calendar and determines what days a woman is fertile or infertile based on simple math. For example, if a woman has a 28-day cycle she should ovulate on day 14.
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
With BBT a woman takes her temperature before getting out of bed and charts it. Progesterone production is triggered by the LH surge (just prior to ovulation) which causes the body’s temperature rise .5 to 1.0 degrees at ovulation, the temperature remains elevated throughout the rest of the cycle. Once the temperature rises and stays elevated, ovulation has occurred and the infertility phase begins.