At A Glance: Facts About Natural Family Planning
- If natural family planning is followed consistently and correctly, it can be up to 99% effective .
- It is less effective if the instructions are not carefully followed.
- There are no physical side effects, and you can use it to plan when you get pregnant.
- You have to keep a daily record of your fertility signals, such as your temperature and the fluids coming from your cervix it takes 3 to 6 menstrual cycles to learn the method.
- Your fertility signals can be affected by illness, stress and travel.
- If you want to have sex during the time when you might get pregnant, you’ll need to use contraception, such as a condom, diaphragm or cap.
How Else Can I Prepare For Pregnancy
In addition to tracking your ovulation to determine your fertile window, its important to schedule preconception counseling with your doctor. There are a variety of screenings and lifestyle modifications that can help increase your chances of a successful planned pregnancy.
If youre under 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than a year, or if youre over 35 and have been trying for six months, it may be time to talk to your doctor about why you cant get pregnant.
Difficulty Pinpointing Your Fertile Days
Timing your ovulation can become tricky since it may not happen on the same day or same time every month. The length of your cycle may change from month to month as well.
To start with, you will need to do some careful record keeping over a period of at least 3 to 6 months to have a more accurate idea of when you ovulate.
Even if you have charted your cycles for a few months and are fairly confident in the job of being your ovulation predictor, your ovulation may come earlier or later than predicted. This is because ovulation can be thrown off if you:
- Are sick.
- Have an imbalance in your hormones or irregular cycles.
- Are taking certain medications .
- Are having a disruption in your normal routines.
- Are drinking alcohol or smoking.
- Are have experienced a 10-15% increase or decrease from a normal level of body fat.
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When Is The Prime Time For Conception
An egg is viable for up to 24 hours once released, so the window for conception is pretty small. The prime time to have sex is on the day of, or the day after, ovulation. However, the presence of wet or slippery cervical fluid is a strong indication of fertility, and sex on the days prior to ovulation can result in pregnancy. Engaging in intercourse prior to ovulation ensures the sperm will be there waiting to fertilize the egg upon its release.
Is The Fertile Method Effective
If you have very consistent cycles, knowing your fertile window can help prevent pregnancy. But keep in mind, your cycle days can still change each month. Factors like stress, diet, or heavy exercise can affect the number of days in your cycle. The day of ovulation can also change every month.
Tracking your ovulation is a more effective way to help you get pregnant. If youre trying to avoid pregnancy, talk to your doctor about the best birth control for you.
- using ovulation predictor kits
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How Many Days After A Period Is Safe To Avoid Pregnancy
Is your menstrual cycle regular? One can have either a regular or an irregular period cycle. A woman’s menstrual cycle can last from 21 days to 35 days, in general. However, an ideal menstrual cycle is 28 days.
Unprotected sex at any time during the menstrual cycle does not nullify the risk of getting pregnant, whether it is during the period, just after the periods, or any time.
Many of us might be wondering, “Is it safe to have sex after periods?”
Ideally, there is no terminology as ‘safe time’ to have sex without using contraception in the month. There are phases during the entire menstrual cycle when you are most likely to conceive and most unlikely to conceive.
If you are trying to avoid getting pregnant, you have a minimal chance of getting pregnant if you have sex within the initial seven days after periods, when the eggs are not released from the ovaries.
Nevertheless, if you have a shorter cycle, you may ovulate around this time, thus using appropriate contraception is necessary.
Track Your Basal Body Temperature
Your basal body temperature, or BBT, that is. Taken with a special, basal body thermometer, basal body temperature is the baseline reading you get first thing in the morning, after at least three to five hours of sleep and before you get out of bed, talk or even sit up. Your BBT changes throughout your cycle as fluctuations in hormone levels occur. During the first half of your cycle before ovulation, estrogen dominates.
During the second half after ovulation, there’s a surge in progesterone, which increases your body temperature as it gets your uterus ready for a fertilized, implantable egg. That means your temperature will be lower in the first half of the month than it is in the second half.
Confused? Here’s the bottom line: Your basal body temperature will reach its lowest point at ovulation and then rise immediately about a half a degree as soon as ovulation occurs. Keep in mind that charting your BBT for just one month will not enable you to predict the day you ovulate but rather give you evidence of ovulation after it’s happened. Tracking it over a few months, however, will help you see a pattern in your cycles, enabling you to predict when your fertile days are and when to hop into bed accordingly.
Many women do find this approach a bit frustrating and it is important to know that studies have shown that the timing of ovulation does vary among women after the dip in temperature. Ovulation predictor kits are more precise.
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When You Are Most Fertile
The 5 days before ovulation, together with the day you ovulate, are the days when you are most likely to conceive. Sperm can live up to 5 days inside your body, so if you have sex up to 5 days before your egg is released, you can get pregnant. After ovulation, though, your egg can only live for 12 to 24 hours. After this time is up, your time for getting pregnant has gone for now till the following month.
Your chances of getting pregnant are at their highest in the 3 days leading up to and including ovulation.
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What Is An Ovulation Calendar And How Do You Use One
After working out the ovulation date using the calculator, many couples turn to an ovulation calendar to figure out the days of the month where theyre most likely to conceive if they have sex.
It works as sperm can live in the body for up to five days after sex, so conception can occur even if youve had sex four or five days before ovulation begins. The fertility window is normally around six days, as that is the amount of days that the egg and sperm can survive. To figure out this fertile period, plot on your menstrual cycle on a calendar then count back 14 days from the expected last day of your next cycle. This will be your most fertile day.
Alternatively, there are a number of apps that will do this for you such as Clue.
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When To See A Doctor
Women who track their fertile window with the aim of getting pregnant should see their doctor for preconception planning.
As well as identifying barriers to conceiving, a doctor can advise on the use of folic acid or prenatal supplements to encourage a healthy pregnancy.
Most couples who engage in frequent, unprotected sex will conceive within 12 months.
Women under 35 years of age should see their doctor if they do not conceive after a year of trying. Those over 35 years of age should seek medical advice after 6 months of trying to conceive.
Anyone who has irregular cycles or does not appear to ovulate should also speak to their doctor. There may be an underlying medical cause that is preventing ovulation and conception.
Ovulation predictor kits and fertility monitors are available for purchase online.
How To Spot The Signs Of Ovulation
Ovulation usually happens about 10 to 16 days before the start of your next period, so it helps to know your cycle length before you start trying to conceive.
You may never have considered when you might ovulate within your cycle, and if you have been using a hormone contraceptive such as the Pill, you wont have had a natural menstrual cycle for a while.
As a first step, mark on your ovulation calendar the dates that you bleed during a period. You can then count how many days from the first day of your period to your next period to work out the length of your cycle.
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Can You Ovulate More Than Once In A Given Cycle
Yes. Some people may ovulate more than once in a cycle.
One study from 2003 suggested that some may even have the potential to ovulate two or three times in a given menstrual cycle. Not only that, but in an interview with NewScientist, the lead researcher said that 10 percent of the study participants actually produced two eggs in one month.
Other people may release multiple eggs during one ovulation either naturally or as part of reproductive assistance. If both eggs are fertilized, this situation may result in fraternal multiples, like twins.
Signs Of Ovulation To Look Out For
Here are the seven main ovulation symptoms lookout for:
- Your basal body temperature falls slightly, then rises again.
- Your cervical mucus becomes clearer and thinner with a more slippery consistency similar to that of egg whites.
- Your cervix softens and opens up.
- You may feel a slight twinge of pain or mild cramps in your lower abdomen.
- Your sex drive may increase.
- You may notice some light spotting.
- Your vulva or vagina may appear swollen.
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The Importance Of Ovulation Predictors
The whole idea of determining when your most fertile days rests on the notion that you can accurately predict your ovulation. So the very first step in understanding your fertility is knowing when you ovulate.
Becoming a good ovulation predictor means relying on your own fertility awareness and the ovulation signs your body shows you each month. Fertility iPhone apps are actually really good at helping you to chart your fertility to determine when your most fertile days may be occur.
Changes In Your Periods
Your periods can change for example, they may last longer or get lighter. This does not necessarily mean there’s a problem, but it does need to be investigated.
You can see your GP, or visit your nearest women’s clinic or contraceptive clinic.
It might be caused by an infection, abnormalities in the neck of the womb or, in rare cases, it could be cancer.
You could be pregnant if you miss a period and you’ve had sex. See your GP if you’ve taken a pregnancy test and the result is negative and you’ve missed 3 consecutive periods.
They will investigate the cause and recommend any necessary treatment.
Read more about stopped or missed periods.
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Can You Get Pregnant A Week After Your Period
Yes, you can get pregnant a week after your period. There lies a possibility to conceive a week after your period if you have sex without contraception. It is more likely for women with a shorter menstrual cycle since their fertile window gets activated earlier.
Take home message: Always use effective contraceptive methods while having intercourse unless you are planning pregnancy, as none of the days of the month in menstrual cycles can be claimed as 100% safe days.
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Sometimes Getting Pregnant Is Difficult
No matter how healthy you are, or what age you are, sometimes it is difficult to get pregnant.
If you have tried for 12 months or more , its time to talk to your doctor about your options. The best place to start is to see your general practitioner . You might like to complete the Healthy conception tool, and take your results, and your partners results , with you to discuss with your doctor.
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Who Can Use Natural Family Planning
Most women can use natural family planning. However, certain situations can affect fertility signs and you might want to consider a different method if:
- there could be a health risk to the baby if you got pregnant
- you’re having irregular periods
- you have a short or long-term condition affecting your fertility signs, such as a sexually transmitted infection or pelvic inflammatory disease
- you’re taking a medication that disrupts production of cervical mucus
- you’ve recently stopped taking hormonal contraception
- you’ve recently had a miscarriage or abortion
- you’ve recently given birth and are breastfeeding
- you regularly travel through different time zones
- you have a vaginal infection such as thrush or an STI, or you’re at increased risk of getting an STI
- you’re not able to take your temperature in the recommended way
- you’re a heavy drinker
When Does Ovulation Take Place
Its a common misconception that ovulation always occurs on the 14th day of your cycle. This myth is based on the assumption that it lands smack dab in the middle of an average 28-day cycle.
In reality, the average menstrual cycle ranges anywhere from 21 to 35 days in length, and ovulation is much trickier to predict. It generally happens between days 11 and 21 in a cycle.
Its a common misconception that ovulation always occurs on the 14th day of your cycle. In reality, the average menstrual cycle ranges anywhere from 21 to 35 days in length, and ovulation is much trickier to predict.
Remember, ovulation could technically occur at any point, including during your period. Therefore, the best way to definitively determine when ovulation occurs is by tracking your basal body temperature.
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Your Ovulation Timing Depends On The Length Of Your Cycle
Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.
You only ovulate once per cycle. You may release more than one egg at a time . But youll never ovulate, then ovulate again without having a period in between.
Ovulation occurs near the middle of your cycleafter your follicular phase, and before your luteal phase. The events play out like this:
Your cycle starts with your period.
Day 1 is considered the first day of steady bleeding . Periods last 5 days on average, but anywhere between 2 and 7 days is normal.
Your follicular phase varies in length.
It starts when your period starts , and ends with ovulation. The length of your follicular phase depends on how quickly youre able to make enough of the hormones that activate your folliclessacs in the ovaries that each contain an egg. Once activated, one dominant sac will rupture and release its egg.
Ovulation takes about 1 day.
The release of an egg triggers the production of hormones that prepare the body for a potential pregnancy.
Those pregnancy hormones rise and fall during your luteal phase.
They rise during the first half of the luteal phase, and you may feel a natural high and more energy as a result. Then they fall during the second half, and you may experience PMS symptoms.
If no egg was fertilized that cycle, pregnancy hormones are no longer needed. Their levels will continue to fall, which will trigger a period, and the cycle starts over again.