Natural family planning

Those, who for some reason cannot or do not wish to use hormonal or barrier methods of birth control, usually choose natural family planning, fertility awareness in other words. This type of contraception is thought to be the oldest in the world. It involves a good understanding of a woman’s body, a long time of observation and involvement of both partners.

Although natural family planning is a very old type of fertility control, it offers a lot of advantages. Since all of the fertility awareness techniques include a lot of observation of a woman’s body, it is a good possibility for a woman to get to know her body better. Since there are no chemicals, drugs or hormones involved, natural family planning does not have any side-effects. It involves both partners in the process of family planning. Natural family planning is inexpensive and can be used not only to prevent possible pregnancy but also to help a couple to conceive. In addition, this type of birth control does not interfere with any of religious or ethical believes that some may have against other methods of contraception.

There are quite a few couples around the world that practice natural family planning. However, you should be aware that although there are no side-effects there can be a few disadvantages using this type of birth control . First of all, all techniques of natural family planning require a lot of time and efforts to be used properly and constantly. When they are used improperly, the failure rate might be as high as 25%. Natural family planning, as it involves cooperation of both partners, is relevant only to people who are in a long-term, committed relationship. Additionally, be aware that none of the natural family planning techniques offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases. This is another reason why fertility awareness methods are suited only to devoted relationships.

Natural family planning methods

There are a few different methods of natural family planning. These include the ovulation method, the rhythm/calendar method and the basal body temperature charting. All of these techniques are based on a presumption that a woman can conceive only during the days around ovulation.

The ovulation method is based on the changes of cervical mucus and therefore it is also called the cervical mucus method. A woman, who wants to use this method of birth control , must be very comfortable with her body as she will need to check her cervical mucus on a regular basis. Using the ovulation method a woman indicates ovulation, when an egg is released and she is most fertile, when cervical mucus gets thinner and stickier. A woman is most likely unfertile when there is no or very little production of cervical mucus. This method of natural family planning has a failure rate of 20% per year. This failure rate might become smaller when the ovulation method is used with other techniques of natural family planning, such as the basal body temperature charting.

The basal body temperature charting, also known as the sympto-thermal method, requires a woman’s core body temperature measured every day of her menstrual cycle. Since body temperature rises slightly when ovulation occurs, a high peak in a woman’s basal body temperature will indicate that a woman is then most fertile and should abstain from sex or use another form of birth control. This method of natural family planning has an average failure rate of 15% per year but can be as much as 98% effective for those couples, who use the basal body temperature charting properly and consistently.

The rhythm/calendar method is probably the oldest natural family planning technique known. It is based on the thoughts that ovulation happens 14 days before menstrual bleeding begins, that sperm can survive for three days when enters the inside of a woman’s body and that an egg can be fertilized only within 24 hours of the process of ovulation. Although this method is used by some couples, it is very individual when ovulation may occur in each woman. Note that ovulation usually does not appear at the same day of the cycle. Another problem lies in the believe that sperm can survive only three days inside a woman’s body. It has, however, been proved that sperm can be vital for up to seven days inside a woman.

The failure rate is as much as 13% per year of the rhythm method. However, it may be as much as 20% when the method is used improperly or due to individual changes of each woman. Therefore the rhythm/calendar method is not suitable for women who do not have regular menstrual cycles or who have menstrual cycles that are of a different number of days every month. Such women should choose another form of birth control either natural family planning or not.

For those couples who consider choosing natural family planning techniques, it is best to consult with their health care provider. Additionally, it might be helpful to get some training in fertility awareness methods to make sure that you are using them properly to protect against pregnancy. And finally, bear in mind that with enough time, patience and proper use and good cooperation of both partners, natural family planning techniques may offer similar efficiency in birth control as all other methods of contraception .

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Rhythm birth control method

Birth control is still a very live theme in our modern society. Especially it concerns countries where there are too many youngsters not managing to control birth. There exist many ways to do that one of them is using rhythm birth control method. Actually this is one of the oldest methods of all. As most of things in the world rhythm birth control method has two sides: negative and positive. If the way this method works seems the salvation for you then you are welcome to try it.

Rhythm birth control method

If you look for the information regarding rhythm birth control you would find its synonyms such as calendar method or the Knaus-Ogino method. On the whole it means avoiding sexual intercourse on particular days of the woman’s menstrual cycle. An important thing to mention is that you have to know the length of your period and the day you are ovulating. As you understand you will be obliged to count the days of your menstrual cycle to avoid pregnancy.

To find out the day you are ovulating is easy if your cycle is regular. Just count back 14 days from the first day of your course plus measure your temperature daily because it rises during ovulation. Also have in mind that the sperm can survive inside a woman from 5 to 7 days while woman’s egg can just be fecundated within 24 hours from being separated from the ovaries. So approximately this period woman has to restrain having sex or use one of contraceptive methods like condoms .

Disadvantages of rhythm birth control method

The bad thing about such birth control method is that it has no protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as HIV and AIDS. Also the statistics tells that there is still quite big possibility to get pregnant. The percentage varies from 9% till 25%. After all it is not strongly reliable. Its failure reasons lies in the presumption that future cycles are the same as cycles in past. In most cases such presumption can stand up but you have to have in mind that many lifestyle changes can also affect your cycle. So the main disadvantages of rhythm birth control method that it is absolutely not suitable for woman with irregular menstrual cycle is, a pair can not have sex for couple of weeks also it includes attentive planning and counting. Also it can not be practiced the same day you thought of this. It requires at least half year of your cycle charts.

Advantages of rhythm birth control method

Good things to mention would be first of all you will not have high expenses. Method is natural and what is very important it has to be the decision of both man and woman in other way it is jus impossible. In the future when you plan to have a baby it will be easier for you because you will know the exact time you would need to pick up.

Before you decide to use this method it is better to consult the physician. You will get an advice how to you method right as there are several ways to get to know the days you are most fertile. As mentioned before you can keep track of your cycle, measure temperature, or combine both of them as well as use ovulation predictor kits which can be found out at any drug store.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Lactational  Amenorrhea Method (LAM) is a certain birth control method that relies on natural infertility after labour when a fully breastfeeding mother is amenorrheic. This contraceptive method is based on physiological condition when breastfeeding suppresses ovulation and hence, reduces fertility. A woman can stay infertile for as much as six months postpartum when she is fully breastfeeding and has had no menses since childbirth.

LAM has a lot of advantages compared to other methods of birth control . First of all, studies have shown that this contraceptive method has high efficiency in birth control being from 98 to 99% effective. This is a safe, easy to use mean of contraception that starts straight after delivery of the child. Even more, no chemicals or barrier devices need to be used helping both partners to relax during sexual intercourse.

In addition to family planning properties, LAM also provides healthy nutrition of the baby, increases its immunity and prevents diseases. Nursing helps to build a healthy and stable relationship between a mother and an infant, making the family stronger and healthier. Finally, this birth control method has no side effects and possible risks.

Requirements for Lactational Amenorrhea Method

Despite all advantages of this contraceptive method , not all mothers can use LAM for family planning, since there are certain requirements they need to fulfill. Breastfeeding must be the only source of nutrition for a newborn baby. This means that a woman must be fully breastfeeding. No supplements should be added to infant’s nutrition. Even more, a mother may not use pumping since this reduces the efficiency of this birth control method.

Another requirement that must be fulfilled for LAM to be effective is that a mother must be amenorrheic, meaning that she has not had menstruation since labour. Other sources claim that a breastfeeding mother must not have had menses after 56 days after childbirth. As there could be other types of vaginal bleeding due to labour, this can be disregarded if it happens earlier than 56 days after childbirth.

LAM efficiency

LAM is effective for 6 months post-partum. Therefore, an infant should be younger than six months of age in order for this family planning method to be efficient. Even if a woman continues breastfeeding and stays amenorrheic longer than six months after childbirth, she should use additional means of contraception in order to avoid possible pregnancy.

When breastfeeding is concerned there are several more things a mother should know to use LAM efficiently. A mother should start nursing the baby as soon as possible after labour. There cannot be any schedule. The woman should breastfeed often, depending on the baby’s request. For this method of birth control to be effective, there cannot be long breaks between nursing, and a mother should do it both day and night. Some sources advise the intervals not to be longer than four hours in the daytime and six hours at night. No bottles, pumps or supplements should be used, since this reduces the efficiency of LAM. And finally, which is sometimes hard to do and your doctor’s consultation may be needed, breastfeeding must not be interrupted due to the illness of a mother of the baby.

Disadvantages of lactational amenorrhea method

Unfortunately there are some disadvantages and limitations of this method of birth control. It works only for a certain limited amount of time, six months post-partum. LAM cannot be used by mothers who cannot or do not want to breastfeed. Some women, especially those who work, may find it hard to manage regular full breastfeeding. And finally, LAM does not protect against sexually transmitted disease , including HIV, therefore, women, who have multiple partners, must use condoms .

Every woman has a right to choose the most optimal method for family planning. Doctors and health care specialists can help them with information and detailed instructions how to use lactational amenorrhea method effectively to provide temporary child spacing. Also, health care specialists can help a woman to find another optimal method of birth control before the effect of LAM expires. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor about all possible family planning methods after childbirth.