Many couples desire to control the timing of pregnancy through purely natural means. These couples have chosen not to use pharmaceutical or barrier methods of birth control. To control whether or not a pregnancy is likely to occur, these couples will pay close attention to the woman’s cycle of ovulation and time sexual activity accordingly.
Successful natural family planning requires an understanding of ovulation and a woman’s monthly cycle. In most women, an ovary releases one egg per month. By paying attention to certain signs, you can determine when ovulation is taking place and achieve or avoid conception.
By charting her basal body temperature each day, a woman can note when her temperature rises slightly. This rise of around one degree usually indicates ovulation.
Changes in a woman’s cervical mucus are another indicator of ovulation. When this mucus takes on a clear appearance and has an elastic consistency, this indicates that ovulation is taking place.
Couples who desire to have a child every two years can often achieve this goal by breastfeeding each child. When a woman is breastfeeding, she may not ovulate for over a year, although these time frames can vary greatly.
The rhythm method involves chronicling a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle, and planning or avoiding sexual activity for roughly two weeks before the next period is expected to start.
The temperature and mucus method of predicting ovulation can be anywhere from 90 percent to 98 percent effective. Since the rhythm method does not take fluctuations in cycles into account, it can be a less effective method of family planning.