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Natural Family Planning

The idea behind natural family planning is very simple. A woman is fertile for only about 100 to 120 hours during a month. Let's call this time period the "window of fertility." By avoiding sexual intimacy during the window of fertility, pregnancy can be avoided. This method can also help achieve pregnancy by understanding the fertility cycle better and learning when the probability of concieving is highest. The question that various natural family planning methods are trying to answer is "How do I determine exactly when the window of fertility starts and ends?" If the window could be determined with 100% accuracy, then natural family planning would be a nearly perfect birth control method. However, the window can only be estimated (estimated though with high probability). To determine the window of fertility, these methods use such things as temperature, mucus, and cervical changes.

The following links take you to pages that offer you several different approaches to natural family planning. Also be sure to check the books page for good books on the subject.

  • The Couple To Couple League
      On this home page you will find information on the Sympto-Thermal Method of natural family planning. They also have a bi-monthly publication you can subscribe to called Family Foundations which discusses the Sympto-Thermal method as well as other issues such as ecological breastfeeding.
  • The Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning
      Are you planning to achieve or avoid/postpone pregnancy? Either way the Billings Method, developed by Drs. John and Evelyn Billings of Australia, will help you during all the stages of your reproductive life.
  • Family of the Americas
      This website offers an overview of the Ovulation method (as they call it). It also has pages on achieving pregnancy, avoiding pregnancy, and on the anatomy and physiology of the reproduction system. They also have a great page (click here) on all the studies done on the method and how successful it was at preventing pregnancy.
  • Primer on Natural Family Planning
      This primer is an introduction, compares NFP to artificial methods, and lists resources for further information.
  • Natural Family Planning
      The pages linked to this index introduce the important biological and physiological processes underlying natural family planning as exemplified by the Billings Ovulation Method.
  • Examples of Misconceptions: Periodic Abstinence
      This page discusses the problems with the Rhythm Method, an early form of abstinence-based birth control not to be confused with Natural Family Planning.
  • Ovu-Tec Fertility Detector
      This web site offers information that is never mentioned in NFP classes or books. A crystallization-fertility link was made by researchers over 40 years ago. This company sells a small microscope which you can view your saliva (Yes, I know it does sound weird...) and from the pattern determine if you are fertile or not. This works because the varying levels of estrogen in your saliva will cause certain patterns. I don't know anyone who has done this or if it works so if you have, please let me know!

Great Books!

The Art of Natural Family Planning by John F. Kippley, Sheila K. Kippley

    This is a great book if you want to learn about the sympto-thermal method of natural family planning. It goes into a lot of detail and was the only book I needed to learn about the method. This book also has a chapter discussing the religous/moral aspects of natural family planning as well as one on ecological breastfeeding.

Fertility Cycles and Nutrition by Marilyn Shannon

    How nutrition can affect your fertility. By eating or avoiding certain foods, some fertility problems can be corrected. Also if you are practicing natural family planning, this will help regulate your cycle so the method is more effective. If you are having any fertility problems you should read this book because the simple self-help could really help and may let you forgo expensive medical treatment. The author cites many examples of reproductive problems that were cured simply with nutrition.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility : The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control and Pregnancy Achievement by Toni Weschler

    Huge book. Goes into detail on the chemistry of your body which can help you achieve or avoid pregnancy. Good book and also good to keep around as a future reference.

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