Choosing a family planning method
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. This method usually works best
when couples receive training before using it. Natural family
planning does not protect against HIV or other STIs.
Natural family planning does not work well for women
who do not have control over when they have sex. During a
woman’s fertile times, her partner must be willing to use
condoms or a diaphragm — or not have sexual intercourse.
Women whose cycles are very different lengths each month
should not use this method either. Women who recently gave
birth or had an abortion should not use this method until
their cycles are regular for several months.
There are many ways to use fertility awareness. 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.
The mucus method
With the mucus method, a woman checks the mucus from her vagina every day to
see if she is fertile. On her fertile days, the mucus is stretchy and slimy, like raw egg.
To check the mucus, a woman should wipe the vagina with a clean finger, paper,
or cloth. Then she should look for mucus.
Clear, wet, slippery
mucus comes during
the fertile time.
White, dry, sticky mucus
(or no mucus) comes during
other times of the month.
It is probably OK to have
sexual intercourse 2 days
after the first dry day.
After 2 or 3 months of practice, a woman can easily recognize these changes in her mucus.
How to use the mucus method
• Check the mucus at the same time every day. Check before
• Do not have sexual intercourse on any day you feel slippery
mucus. Or use a condom or diaphragm on those days.
• Do not have sexual intercourse until 2 days after the last day
that you have clear, slippery mucus.
• Do not douche or wash out the vagina at any time. This will
wash the mucus away.
Use another method of family planning if you have a vaginal infection
or if you are not sure whether it is a fertile time.
A Book for Midwives (2010)