Natural Family Planning

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Natural family planning is a method of contraception teaching women how to recognise on which days of the month they are fertile and on which days of the month they are not fertile in order to avoid pregnancy. There are clear physical signs which one can learn to recognise which tell you when you are ovulating. When the woman is not fertile, there is a firm plug of mucus in the neck of the cervix, which means that no sperm can enter the womb. This is the main way in which the progesterone only "mini pill" works.

It is obvious when menstruation takes place - the first day of menstruation is called Day 1 of the cycle. The most usual pattern is for women to ovulate on day 14 of their cycle. They are generally fertile for about 5 days before ovulation and two days afterwards. During this period of time the cervical mucus changes from a thick, slightly sticky clouded mucus to a thin, clear, stringy and slippery quality. During this time also the cervix descends partially down the vagina and the neck of the cervix opens slightly. Furthermore, at ovulation time the basal temperature, as taken first thing in the morning before rising, rises by ½ to one degree.

Learning to recognise these signs has to be taught by an experienced instructor. There are many books on the subject but if you wish to learn this technique of natural family planning then a list of NFP teachers is available on Fertility UK Website.

This is a very important technique because, once learned, it will stand you in good stead for life. It does not rely on any artificial barriers or hormone taking. Obviously the pill, the mini pill and many coils contain hormones with potentially serious long term effects.



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