For the fertile couple, conception is possible at any time during the fertile phase. Fertility awareness, helps women understand the changes in their bodies and become aware of the optimal time to achieve a pregnancy.
An increasing number of women choose a natural method of managing their fertility for health reasons. Couples wishing to use a natural method to plan pregnancy need to learn to accurately identify the phases of fertility and infertility by observing and recording the indicators of fertility. This process needs to be assisted by a trained Fertility and Wellbeing practitioner. ACCORD fertility and wellbeing practitioners use modern methods of Natural Family Planning which do not rely on ‘Rhythm’ or ‘Calendar Calculations,’ but are based on a scientific and accurate understanding of fertility.
Natural Family Planning
It is important to be aware of factors, which may affect the cycle or disturb the recordings.
- Alcohol Holidays Stress
- Late Night Travel Illness
- Disturbed Night Time Zones Gynaecological Disorders
- Oversleeping Shift work Medication
Advantages of Natural Family Planning
What are the advantages of natural methods of family planning ?
- The method is totally natural and does not involve chemicals
- It can be used to assist or prevent pregnancy
- Encourages shared responsibility by the woman and her spouse, which can enhance the relationship
- Enables a couple to be independent and in control of their fertility
- Does not rely on regular cycles
- Can be used at all stages of reproductive life
- Is up to 98% effective against pregnancy, when used by motivated couples and taught by experienced teachers. (FPA 1995)
- It is inexpensive, convenient and is free of side effects
Are There Any Disadvantages to Natural Family Planning?
What are the Disadvantages of Natural Methods of Family Planning?
- It may take up to six cycles to learn effectively
- There are periods when sex is avoided and this may coincide with the time the woman has her strongest desire
- Daily records need to be documented
- Indicators of fertility may be changed by events such as illness, stress, shift work, medication etc
- Both the woman and her partner need to co-operate with the process
- There is no protection against sexually transmitted diseases
Effectiveness of Natural Family Planning
- A couple’s motivation has a crucial influence on the effectiveness of a number of methods of family planning. The first year’s use always carries the highest risk of unplanned pregnancy due to the time taken for a couple to learn to use the method efficiently.
- A high degree of motivation is essential if a couple are to use natural methods of family planning successfully. They should both be in agreement about their goals of family spacing or limiting. It is interesting to note that the family-spacers, those who plan more children but at a later date, are less effective in preventing pregnancy. They are prepared to take risks; whereas family limiters, those who have completed their family, are more conscientious and determined, and more successful in preventing pregnancy. This is illustrated by a 1976 Canadian sympto-thermal study, which showed an effectiveness rate of 85 per cent for the family spacers, but around 99 per cent for those limiting their families. (Parrenteau-Carreau, Lanctot and Rice)
- The effectiveness of any form of family planning depends on the method being well taught, well understood and well applied, but this is of particular importance for natural family planning. With experience, the sympto-thermal method is a highly effective method.