24 July, 2009

What Is It & How Does It Work?

I really can't believe that I haven't actually gotten to this yet. Seriously... I jumped into different software programs, gave a few links (and reviewed one of them) and mentioned a bit about stats on it (in a rant on some misinformation given by a certain BC site)... but I guess I've just assumed I'd already gone there. I really should know better lol.

Apologies if I'm repeating anything that I've touched on (even if lightly) in another post. For all I know I missed putting a tag on something.

What exactly is NFP?

NFP stands for Natural Family Planning.

Those of us that practice NFP (as well as those who practice FAM) chart our cycles so that we can figure out when we are fertile. This information can be used either to prevent or achieve pregnancy.

Very often (way too often) is is mistaken for the infamous "Rhythm Method" - So I will go ahead and say this now... It's not! Every NFP book, website, brochure, etc. will tell you that, not only is the Rhythm Method unreliable, but is not a recognized form of NFP.

I want to say I remember the statistic for how effective RM is being 85% (giving you a 25% chance of getting pregnant) but I would rather have info to back that up.. unfortunately... LOL all the places w/ stats are combining RM with other methods. One has it as a form of NFP... another calls it FAM (which also discourages its use lol). Aggravating much?

Getting past that...

There are several methods that fall under NFP. Billings, Sympto-Thermal, Standard-Days, Creighton, Two Day Method, Lactational Amenorriah Method, Basil Body Temp (on its own)... There may be more, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I will be completely honest and say that I do not know the ins and outs of every method.

I know Billings and Creighton are very similar. (I started out with the Billings method and had a hard time with it. I know others that love it though.) Both of them (correct me if I'm wrong please) use cervical fluid alone to determine fertility. They are said to be between 97 and 99.5 % effective when used correctly. (Cough cough, same stats as most birth control)

Standard-Days and the Two Day Method bother me... Mostly because I don't understand them well and/or they don't seem as reliable. They have a higher failure rate than other methods at preventing pregnancy... with good reason. Standard-Days is a little too close to the RM. Its more effective because it recognizes that not every woman will ovulate on day 14, but it still assumes that you will continue to ovulate around the same date every month which is not always true... even if you're regular as clockwork. It does claim to be 95% effective when used correctly though. The Two Day Method.. just doesn't make sense to me lol. If anyone reading this uses it, please comment and let me know how it works and stuff...

BBT alone... I'm going to say flat out don't do this if you are TTA (trying to avoid pregnancy). Once again, if you do already great... No offense meant. But still. Basically your basal body temp (waking temp) will rise a certain amount or so (can vary) after you ovulate. After... Some women will have a dip around ovulation as well, but that's not a given. To prevent pregnancy you need to know ovulation is coming lol. Another thing to keep in mind, if you are TTC (trying to conceive) waiting for the rise can also cost you fertile days... I'll step off my soap-box now lol. I really do like BBT just not alone.

Sympto-Thermal as you may guess is what I prefer. You record CF and BBT, sometimes other symptoms are recorded as well. Some women actually check their cervix, some use various ovulation tests (either the disposable ones or the saliva ferning ones or both), and other symptoms like ovulatory cramping, headaches, etc. Depending on who you listen too, this method has a failure rate (for preventing pg) between 2% and less than 1%. In other words same exact failure rate as most types of
hormonal birth control. Backing up, the site (which will be linked below) where I'm looking up some of the more obscure stats lists them as 97 to 99% effective.. which is about what I said before, a little more cautious I suppose.

I'm listing LAM last because its a whole different can of worms. This is only for women who have just given birth. Basically if you breastfeed on demand (no schedules allowed!) at least every 2 to 3 hours, no bottles, no pacifiers, no solids (I laugh here but you'll understand why at the end of this), no sleeping through the night, around the clock, until the baby is 6 months old... then LAM will be 98% effective for ya! Any of those factors change and your chances of getting pregnant go up... It doesn't necessarily stop at 6 months (on average a nursing woman has her first ovulation around 14 months after childbirth if I remember correctly) but like I said, the stats change. Obviously this method is not used to TTC lol. And as you can prob imagine is best to go ahead and chart with whichever method you prefer while taking advantage of.

Before I go on, I'm going to use the link I used for most of my stats. Unless I said otherwise, it came off of here...

Sound like a lot of work?

No... Its really not. It takes a few seconds out of your day to check and write down (or input on the computer if you're like me). Granted learning it does take a little time.. but I think its worth it.


I'll try and keep this section short and lecture free. Basically there are a ton and a half of advantages.

Medically - There are no side effects, no long term risks. Yes you can get pregnant, but that is possible on every time of birth control that exists as well. There are, however, huge advantages to learning your body as well as you will while charting. You can get early clues that something might be wrong and should be checked. You can learn when to schedule procedures at the correct time if/when they need to be done. You can avoid unnecessary procedures, esp when pregnancy occurs... Dr's for some odd reason tend to assume you ovulate on day 14 when that's a load of.. well you get the picture. Baby's have been induced before they need to be because of this. (Side note - if it wasn't for an early hospital trip this could have happened to us! I was originally given a due date over 2 weeks before I should have been) I probably could go on, but you get the picture...

Morally - There is no chance of accidental having an early abortion. Granted this is only as opposed to hormonal methods, IUD's and the like. Barrier Methods & Withdrawl don't have the same moral issue, but there are others involved as well. Harder to explain so not going there right now.

Religiously - Sorry, I'm Catholic.. Have to go there at least for a few seconds lol. Really the above mentioned bit falls here too. Beyond that it can draw you and your spouse both closer to each other and to God. I won't get into the religious aspects any further.. but I will link a few places that do just for those interested.

Biblical Views
Biblical Perspectives
Marriage Building
Catholic's View


That is NFP in a nutshell.. A post I should have written a long time ago lol...

Before I go though, I'm going to link back to my old post on birth control, how it works and all that...


Lelo and Stitch said...

:-) It is frustrated when certain things get a bad rap because of a link that shouldn't even be there

Mama Kalila said...

No kidding...