TIMING IS EVERYTHING.
HOW WELL DO YOU KNOW YOUR CYCLE?
Natural planning – sometimes referred to as fertility awareness – is a technique of tracking exactly which stage of the menstrual cycle you are in, and only having sex on non-fertile days. There are a number of ways of doing this, and a number of fertility signs that you need to be aware of, including fluctuations in your body's temperature and changes in the cervical mucus. Due to the amount of planning required with this method, it isn't the best for those who are disorganized, forgetful, or spontaneous.
While there are many tools available to help you keep track, from physical calendars to digital apps, natural planning requires an intimate and detailed knowledge of your menstrual cycle. To have a better chance of avoiding pregnancy on the days when you are ovulating, it is advised that you use a barrier method such as male condoms, female condoms, or a diaphragm, to improve your chances of not conceiving. Natural planning is a popular choice for those who don't wish to use chemical or hormonal contraceptives, and if you do decide to get pregnant in the future, all that fertility tracking can be a great help.
HOW IT MEASURES UP
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The number of days a woman is likely to be more fertile during her cycle and should use a different contraceptive to avoid pregnancy.
The percentage of women worldwide who use natural planning as their main contraceptive.
The number of eggs typically released during ovulation.
- It’s hormone-free and can be an option for women who experience unwanted effects from hormones.
- It is a way to track fertile days for women wanting to get pregnant.
- It can be used when breastfeeding.
- It can take practice, and requires careful tracking of the menstrual cycle and fertile days.
- Even with careful tracking it does not allow for natural variations in the menstrual cycle.
- It may not allow for spontaneity.
- It doesn’t protect against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
NEED ADVICE? SPEAK TO YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL.
Seek out an appointment with your doctor or nurse for further support that meets your needs.
Is It Okay?
This approach is entirely self-directed, and requires a lot of planning and tracking. Those who wish to avoid unplanned pregnancy should use a hormone-free barrier method when ovulating, or if menstrual cycles are irregular. For protection from STIs, condoms must be used.