One of the best parts of being a woman in our modern age is having the ability to make choices for our health and bodies. Whether that is birth control, IUD's, barrier methods or Natural Family Planning, the perfect fit is out there for every woman. Most of my friends would probably be surprised to hear that my husband and I use Natural Family Planning methods.
Since Natural Family Planning often gets a bad rap, I thought I would share our past experiences using the method to achieve and/or postpone pregnancy. I know it is often seen as a little voodoo, unreliable, and un-sexy, at least those were some of my thoughts initially, but the more we have used this method--the more we have loved it. I'm also sprinkling in some pictures of baby Brody because #babyfever, right!?
As a woman, I enjoy understanding how my body works. I love watching as cycles change and identifying when things are off kilter. My cycle has never arrived like clockwork, but through Natural Family Planning Methods I’ve always been able to find some predictability and consistency to it.
Our love affair with Natural Family Planning took some courting. Before we were married, our church required us to take a series on Natural Family Planning (The Creighton Model). I'll admit it; my husband and I both hated it. They armed us with this little chart book with stickers, a visual guide to cervical mucus and a sharpie. They had us chart our sex life, what was going on with my body, the viscosity of my cervical mucus. It was quite a bit of work. I remember on our way to our last session, my husband and I just scribbled in some markings and stuck random stickers to the chart. We quickly threw the supplies away and gave up on the system deeming it too complicated and time consuming when we returned home.
A couple of years passed and thanks to technology the process has become a whole lot more manageable, so we gave it a try again. I think part of our success this time around has been my true interest in the reproduction process. I’m a birth junkie and I love understanding the science behind it.
So, What is Natural Family Planning?
Natural Family Planning encompasses different methodologies woman can use to track their fertility and/or postpone pregnancy. By observing and measuring cues from our body, women are able to predict ovulation. After a few months, a woman will be able to understand when her body is ovulating and when she is most fertile.
How Does Natural Family Planning Work?
As a very basic overview, there are two main observable factors in woman that are used to determine ovulation: cervical mucus and basal body temperature. Along with documenting our periods, these two factors can be solid indicators of ovulation.
During a woman’s cycle, our cervical mucus changes in thickness, color, and viscosity. As we approach ovulation, the cervical mucus looks similar to egg whites. During unfertile periods, it is cloudy. Understanding and tracking your cervical mucus daily is the first step in determining fertile times.
For basal body temperature, you can observe body temperature changes. When you are ovulating, your body temperature is typically very slightly elevated from normal. So our most fertile period would be the few days prior to the basal body temperature increasing. This temperature is taken when you are at rest, typically first thing in the morning before you roll out of bed.
Isn’t the female body amazing?
There's an app for that.
If your head is spinning, I can relate. There is a lot to understand about Natural Family Planning in order for it to be a fully effective method. Thankfully, technology has made Natural Family Planning a breeze. There’s no need for cheesy charts and sticker books anymore. Apps like Glow and Kindara are a lifesaver. Month over month, they collect your cycle information and each day you can record your cervical mucus details and basal body temperature readings. The apps will then help you predict your chance of pregnancy based on this information.
If you are trying to conceive, you will be able to identify the days with your best chances for baby making. If the day of your expected period has passed and aunt flow hasn’t arrived, it’s time to take an at home pregnancy test! e.p.t® Pregnancy Tests are 99% accurate when taken the right after your missed period.
As a mom or momma-to-be, you will never forget that #momentoftruth after taking an at-home pregnancy test. I can still remember every detail on the afternoon I found out I was expecting Brody. The initial shock, the onset of excitement, and then the thought of how I would share the news with my husband. It was a whirlwind of excitement waiting him to come home from work. Spoiler alert: I burst into happy tears when he walked in the door. e.p.t® created the original home pregnancy test in 1977 and almost 40 years later, millions of women have still rely on them for their own #momentoftruth.
Whether you are trying to grow your family, looking for an alternative to other birth control methods, or hoping to understand your body more deeply, Natural Family Planning can be a fascinating topic.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.