200 chapter 9: Family planning
Natural family planning
Natural family planning costs nothing and has no side effects. But it can be difficult
to use. Women do not always know when they are fertile, and if they have one
irregular cycle, they can easily get pregnant. These methods work best when your
cycles are very regular. This means the time from the first day of your monthly
bleeding to the first day of your next monthly bleeding is the same every month,
and is at least 26 days and no more than 32 days.
A woman can get pregnant only during her fertile time when an egg comes from
her ovary into her tubes and womb—about once a month (see page 75). To use
natural family planning, you must watch your body’s signs to understand when
you are fertile. During the fertile time you and your partner must not have sexual
intercourse without using some other form of family planning. At these times, you
can try other types of sex, such as oral sex or sexual touching. Or you can prevent
pregnancy by using condoms or a diaphragm during the fertile time.
Natural family planning does not work well for
women who do not have control over when they
have sex. During your fertile times, your partner
must be willing to use condoms or a diaphragm,
or not have sexual intercourse. This method
usually works best when couples receive training
before using it.
I’m tired of
If you recently gave birth or had an abortion,
do not use these methods until your cycles are regular for several months.
There are many ways to use natural family planning. In this book we talk about
the mucus method and the counting days method. These methods work best when
they are both used together. But one method alone is better than nothing.
Natural family planning does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other STIs.
The mucus method
With the mucus method, you have to check
the mucus from your vagina every day to see
if you are fertile. On your fertile days, the
mucus is stretchy and slimy, like raw egg.
To check the mucus, wipe your vagina
with a clean finger, paper, or cloth. Then
look or feel for mucus.
You may prefer a different method if:
• you have limited hand movement.
• you cannot reach your vagina.
• you cannot open your legs very wide.
• you get muscle spasms in your upper legs.
• you have limited feeling in your fingers.
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007