Natural Birth Control - Natural Family Planning
Recently I've had quite a few questions come up about how to avoid pregnancy without using hormonal birth control, so I thought I'd just go ahead and create a post about how we used Natural Family Planning with 100% effectiveness for 7 years, during some of my most fertile years (from age 20-27).
When my husband and I were first married, we took a class at a Catholic hospital on natural family planning. We had one on one coaching which made it seem so natural and gave me so much confidence in what we were doing. They taught me how to watch for signs of fertility and then I would track my cycle, and they would review my chart to be sure we were doing everything right.
In general, as soon as I saw any signs of fertility we stopped making love, and abstained for a week (or he pulled out, but they don't recommend pulling out because pregnancy can still occur from pre-ejaculate fluids). I saw 5 days of fertile mucus, and then we abstained for 2 days after ovulation (2 days after going dry) because the egg only lives for a maximum of 24 hours. For me (in my 20's) the first sign of my fertile window was when I saw the clump of mucus - later as I got older, I didn't see the clump, but noticed thinner, fertile mucus as my first sign. Whatever the first sign was, it was when I went from being dry, to having some kind of a change in my mucus.
The nice thing with this method is that my husband (who was the one who didn't want a child at the time) could tell when I was fertile - it was much easier for him to glide without added lubrication. So he would often say "are you fertile right now?" And I would say "yes" (hoping he wouldn't ask...). He also counted days, and my periods were like clockwork, so he always had a sense of when I was going into my fertile window.
We used The Billings Method, which, when used correctly, can be just as effective as the birth control pill.
Scientific studies indicate that with proper instruction and motivation, the Billings Ovulation Method in actual practice is 99.64% effective.
(Dr. Catherine Bernard, Ob. Gyn., Family Life Centre, India)
My husband and I used this method of fertility awareness for 7 years and it was 100% effective... and the nice thing about this method is that when you are ready for a baby, it will usually happen very quickly. All you have to do is reverse what you've been doing in order to get pregnant. This is the biggest reason I conceived the very first month we tried - I knew my cycles VERY well.
It wasn't hard - it wasn't anything I ever even thought about. But when I wiped or when I saw that clump of mucus on my underwear, it was my body's way of telling me "you're going into your fertile window" and then I'd get wetter and wetter and then all of a sudden I'd just go dry. All I did was make a small notation on my calendar each day during my fertile window. It was that simple.
I studied it well the first month, and I took the class. I did all the charting during the first couple of months just to be sure I was doing everything right. But once I knew what I was doing, it was really, really simple to read those fertility signs.
We used the Billings Ovulation Method and the website even offers a toll free number for those in Australia (there are classes for those in other countries as well).
I think the class was $25 - but that was 26 years ago. It was the best $25 investment I ever made in my health. Losing my mom to breast cancer at the age of 16 was devastating to me. I later learned that the breast cancer she had was hormone driven, and I know that adding hormones to the body (i.e. birth control) sets women up for having a higher chance of getting breast cancer. That was something I was highly motivated to avoid.
If you have any questions feel free to ask - or if you just want to talk we're hear to listen.