Natural Methods of Family Planning 219
The mucus method and the
counting days method
To use either of these methods, you must understand when
you are fertile during your monthly cycle. This is sometimes called
‘fertility awareness’. Then, to avoid pregnancy, you and your partner
must not have sex, or must use a barrier method of family planning,
during your fertile days.
Because there are no costs or side effects, these methods can be
used by women who cannot or do not want to use other methods,
or when other methods are not available.
To practice fertility awareness more effectively, both you and
your partner should visit a specially trained health worker to learn
about your bodies and about fertility. It usually takes about 3 to
6 months of practice to learn how to use these methods.
The mucus and counting days methods do not work as well if:
• you have little control over when
you will have sex. During your
fertile times, your partner must be
willing to wait and not have sex
or to use condoms or some other
I’m tired of
• your fertility signs change from month
to month. You will not be able to
know when you are fertile.
• you have just had a baby or
miscarriage. It is hard to know when
you are fertile at these times.
What you should know about a woman’s cycle of fertility:
• A woman releases one egg each month.
• The egg is released from the ovary about 14 days before the
next monthly bleeding.
• The egg lives for about 24 hours (1 day and 1 night) after it has
been released from the ovary.
• The man’s sperm (seed) can live up to 2 days inside the
➤ All these methods
require the man’s
cooperation or they
will not be effective.
To make all natural family planning methods more effective:
• Have sex only on the days between the end of the fertile time and your next
• Use both the mucus method and the counting days method at the same time.
• Use condoms whenever you are not sure if you are fertile, or do not have sex.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012