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Anyone use Natural Family Planning?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I wasn't sure if this would be a hot topic, so I put in IMO just in case. Does anyone use the Sympto-Thermal, or Billings Method of natural family planning? I've been unhappy with the side effects of the pill (I've been on it for ten years now) and now that I'm married I worry about getting preggars. Both of these methods look pretty darned accurate, as much or more so than the birth control pill I've been taking forever, if used accurately. Now I'm not talking about the Calender or Rythem methods- which I know don't work very well. I specifically mean Sympto-Thermal and Billings. We don't want to use condoms all the time, for obvious reasons. I know of quite a few people who have used NFP to space pregnancies with a lot of success (ie wanted to have three kids over the course of six years), but I've never known anyone who used it and absolutely did not want to have kids. I'm no longer acquainted with anyone who uses NFP, so I figured I'd ask here. I'd like to figure out which method is better- they seem pretty similar as far as success rates go (99% with perfect use). One involves monitering mucous, the other involves that as well as basal body temp.
post #2 of 21
I think I'd be constantly terrified if I used such methods! What are the success rates?
post #3 of 21
If used correctly, in conjunction with a family planning clinic, these methods can be very accurate..But as people vary, so do the results.
With the method that involves monitoring secretions as well as basal body temp., the success rates can be as high as the OCP.
However, this requires diligence. You can't just forget one day. You have to be dedicated to monitoring and charting on a daily basis.

I would attend to a clinic BEFORE beginning either method..

Also, as an added precautionary measure, how about spermicidal foam surrounding times on both sides of ovulation (some people are known to use it each time they have intercourse no matter what the date is as well)??? Unlike the pill, its non invasive, unless you are allergic.

It also depends on how regular your menses are.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Loveysmummy, I sent an email to a teaching couple in my town- I guess they do a four part educational series- one per month. It costs $75, which includes the book, a basal body thermometer, and charts. My period is pretty regular now, oddly enough, since I have endometriosis. I went off the pill for a few months this summer to test it out and see if I'd be ok. I'm not morally opposed to birth control in any way- but I'm not eligible for the IUD, I can't handle depo (plus I just don't like the idea of possibily concieving on either of those methods), and I'm just tired off all of my side effects from the pill. We figured we would use condoms with contraceptive foam or spermicide at any point where we were close to my fertile times and use contraceptive foam or one of those contraceptive films at other times- as a back up. The Couple to Couple League claims a 99% effectiveness for sympto-thermal, and the Billings people claim about the same. I've been researching NFP for quite some time and have read quite a bit of research on it- I just figured I'd see if anyone here has any experience with it.

I wish I could just get my tubes tied! Although, even that has a pretty high failure rate as time goes on- up to 11% for men after several years I think. When we get older we'd both like to have our tubes tied- but right now NFP seems pretty healthy and natural and honestly it does make me feel better thinking about how natural it is.

These are the claims of these groups-

http://ccli.org/nfp/basics/effectiveness-p01.php

http://www.woomb.org/bom/trials/index.html
post #5 of 21
I don't think i would want to take a risk using the natural method
post #6 of 21
I wouldnt want to risk it either but would be interested to learn more.
post #7 of 21
If you didn't like the pill and don't want to get pregnant, the ortho-evra patch is a godsend from heaven.

It just as effective as the pill, but I have not had a single one of the 3213287123712 side effects I suffered through on the pill, nor have I heard of anyone having any sort of side effct with it (well, the first month, my boobs got a little sore) and you only have to change it once a week, versus remembering to take a pill every day.

And trust me, by some miraculous magical force, the thing DOES NOT fall off. I swim club swim and bike 10-15 miles in an average day (sweating like a little piggie in the summer) and I've never had a patch fall off. Did I also mention that I have a claw-foot tub that I spend quite a bit of time in? The patch is also quite inconspicous...you wear it on your buttocks or pelvis.

Personally, I wouldn't trust natural family planning. Every woman's body is quite different and does completely different things at different times of the month. I volunteer at a university women's center and we would certainly never reccommend it to anyone here, but we largely deal with unmarried twentysomethings and we tend to want to be EXTRA careful with this matter.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
I've heard good things about the patch, so I might give that a try. I know you get get it at Planned Parenthood for 14$ a month if you buy several months worth at a time. It's getting to be that time of year for a visit there anyways. I saw a commercial that said the patch was 99% effective, which is more effective than the OTC-Lo that I've been taking forever. According to a bunch of studies NFP is 99% effective if done perfectly- but I can't imagine a young, single woman wanting to take the time and effort to chart her temp, cervix, and mucus everyday. I sure as heck do not want to get pregnant- not ever- but especially not until my husband finishes paramedic school. I realize that having sex means baby-making potential- but I'd like a minimum risk of that at least until I finish seminary and Nate finishes medic school.
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by esrgirl
I've heard good things about the patch, so I might give that a try. I know you get get it at Planned Parenthood for 14$ a month if you buy several months worth at a time. It's getting to be that time of year for a visit there anyways. I saw a commercial that said the patch was 99% effective, which is more effective than the OTC-Lo that I've been taking forever. According to a bunch of studies NFP is 99% effective if done perfectly- but I can't imagine a young, single woman wanting to take the time and effort to chart her temp, cervix, and mucus everyday. I sure as heck do not want to get pregnant- not ever- but especially not until my husband finishes paramedic school. I realize that having sex means baby-making potential- but I'd like a minimum risk of that at least until I finish seminary and Nate finishes medic school.
I have had literally no problems with the patch...I was on OTC-Lo for 2 years and it was a struggle... I know what you mean.

Anyway, good luck with PP! You just reminded me that I am also due for a visit I am totally jealous of the $14 a month thing...it's $28 by my parents and $35 at the PP closest to my apt.
post #10 of 21
Gawd no, <g> But I am not keen about the pill but it is so much safer than it used to be PLUS it has added benefits. I used to worry when I weas younger but these newer formulations are soooo much safer. And there are other methods that work well.
post #11 of 21
I don't think I would be confortable with that method. There is just to many STD's out there.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant
Personally, I wouldn't trust natural family planning. Every woman's body is quite different and does completely different things at different times of the month. I volunteer at a university women's center and we would certainly never reccommend it to anyone here, but we largely deal with unmarried twentysomethings and we tend to want to be EXTRA careful with this matter.
Actually, your own body doesn't do completely different things every month...
If you have a regular and consistent cycle, you can pinpoint the "window" of ovulation down to the exact 3 or 4 days that you are fertile (also leaving 2 days on either side to be absolutely safe which brings it up to a week of "fertile time".... Some women on this method, believe it or not, can also feel the "twinge" in their ovaries when the egg is released (I can't though

You become increasingly tuned with your body. Remember, this isn't a method to be taken lightly. You need to chart and record your temp for at least 1 year (I would recommend) before using this method entirely on its own so that you fully understand your body's cycles..
And you can also use a backup method around fertile times (like foam).

If one needs to use a non-invasive method and has been with the same partner for a lengthy amount of time, it can be as effective as the pill..

No, I would not recommend this to anyone who is in their teens (as it takes some years for your body to develop a consistent ovulation pattern), or who has multiple partners (due to STI's/HIV/AIDS) obviously..
post #13 of 21
Here's a low dose hormone alternative. It is very easy to use, no "complicated" positioning like the diaphram, just slip it in...."just set it and forget it! for three weeks. It's also being used for women in menopause for hot flashes. All my patients love it!

www.nuvaring.com
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Actually, your own body doesn't do completely different things every month...
If you have a regular and consistent cycle, you can pinpoint the "window" of ovulation down to the exact 3 or 4 days that you are fertile (also leaving 2 days on either side to be absolutely safe which brings it up to a week of "fertile time".... Some women on this method, believe it or not, can also feel the "twinge" in their ovaries when the egg is released (I can't though

You become increasingly tuned with your body. Remember, this isn't a method to be taken lightly. You need to chart and record your temp for at least 1 year (I would recommend) before using this method entirely on its own so that you fully understand your body's cycles..
And you can also use a backup method around fertile times (like foam).

If one needs to use a non-invasive method and has been with the same partner for a lengthy amount of time, it can be as effective as the pill..

No, I would not recommend this to anyone who is in their teens (as it takes some years for your body to develop a consistent ovulation pattern), or who has multiple partners (due to STI's/HIV/AIDS) obviously..
Oh, I think you misunderstood me! I meant it in kind of an 'each woman is different' kind of way!

Not that it really matters, but I didn't want you to think I was some kind of a dummy!!
post #15 of 21
no, its ok..I don't think you are a dummy

What I attempted to point out was that yes, everyone is different but that doesn't matter in this case. You aren't charting everyone, only yourself..

That is why I asked her if her cycles were predictable.

Also, I never hear anything about the "femdom" (female condom) anymore.
Did it fall out of existence due to its comedic factor? or what?
Just curious. I know it wasn't popular when I worked at a women's clinic but it had only recently begun to be marketed then.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
Also, I never hear anything about the "femdom" (female condom) anymore.
Did it fall out of existence due to its comedic factor? or what?
Just curious. I know it wasn't popular when I worked at a women's clinic but it had only recently begun to be marketed then.
They're still out there...I think with the rise in popularity and also the rise in the safety and effectivness of hormonal birth control they're looked at as being kind of inconvenient...I've tried them...I'll stick with the patch
post #17 of 21
I tried them too..Had to if I was going to promote them.

I like the concept of the woman being in control of such a reliable bc method (as opposed to only guy condoms) but they need some re-tuning...
Intimacy is an issue when you are doubled over in laughter while using a certain method...
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loveysmummy
I like the concept of the woman being in control of such a reliable bc method (as opposed to only guy condoms) but they need some re-tuning...
Intimacy is an issue when you are doubled over in laughter while using a certain method...
All of this is certainly true!!

And yes, some of the hormonal methods are still sketchy, just look at all of the complaints about Ortho-Tri! But their effectiveness and safety sure beats anything from 20 years ago...just look at me! The zygote that would later become Allie outsmarted a biochem major on the pill!
post #19 of 21
I used to use the monitoring of mucous method for excellent results, after becoming pg. using the diaphragm. There are so many changes that our bodies go through, and I found many pluses about becoming so familiar with the female processes, including becoming aware enough to know when I need to use feminine protection before any "embarrassing leaks or messes" occur. I used the Sponge during the fertile times. Due to male influences (dr. & hubby) a year later, I tried the Pill, but 10 mos. later I got pg only to have a miscarriage at almost 6mos. Then I switched back to the natural method, and had to wait till my grandson was born to have another baby in the immediate family. I will say that I was raised around livestock, so I wasn't squeamish about learning about my body. Also, my doctor at the time was a very progressive female from the Bay area who enthusiastically helped educate me, in addition to recommending some reading; she even used a mirror so that I could see first hand what she was talking about. Later, when I moved, a male gyno talked me into the Pill - he really got me scared about how risky the natural method was (this was before I'd heard of the Internet). I am amazed (in a bad way) at how accepting our society is about exposing the exterior of women's bodies, even rating our worth on the perceived attractiveness of our figures, yet how it tries to make the interior functions a taboo subject, shrouded in mystery & disgust This is a good topic but of a sensitive nature - you showed excellent discretion,Esrgirl, in posting in IMO.
post #20 of 21
I've always heard (but not used it so I'm not sure.) that men didn't like the female condom due to the uhm.. Well they always said it was like making love to a sandwich baggie. so theres that.

I have always gotten migraines during my period, however, I have found that they are worse now with the patch. I have had some issues withthe patch slipping and falling off, but being that I am from a more greasy people that could be why. *shrugs*

I am intersted in the nuvaring, as I hear it has even fewer side effects thant he patch, but agree that some people shouldn't be on hormone based medications- those people are generally also the people that I feel shouldn't have kids in the near future, so it's a bit scary!
post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 
My internet keeps pooping out! I think I'm back on for good now! Anyought, we decided to try NFP and signed up for a class that starts on the 27th.

I did try the Nuvaring, for four months actually, but it drove me nuts. I know the package insert said that you have to push it up really far and you won't feel it, but I swear, I was pushing it up as far as it could go without coming out of my throat and I could still feel it! I know I'm exagerating, but it really drove me nuts. Otherwise the Nuvaring was wonderful- I had no side effects from it.

I like the idea of trying something more natural that doesn't involve hormones. I was going to go on the patch, but Planned Parenthood doesn't have an open appointment until Oct. 13th- a good week after I would run out of my last pack of bc pills. I figured that since there was a family planning class coming up in a couple of weeks we might as well give it a shot. It's only $75, that's one night of waiting tables, so no big deal. I have endo, but I don't think the pill is doing that much for it at this point- we'll see. We figured we'd use condoms and spermicides at least until we get the hang of it- and probably spermicides all the time regardless.
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