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What Is Natural Family Planning And How Can It Benefit Me?
No drugs, no chemicals, no devices. NFP is not only an all-natural form of birth control, it tells you when the best time to get pregnant is.
Natural Family Planning (NFP), also known as the “rhythm method” or “safe period”, is the oldest method of birth control. It involves abstaining from intercourse during a woman’s fertile period each month, usually beginning around the third day after menstruation ends and lasting for about 12 consecutive days.
Understanding the woman’s ovulation cycle is useful and crucial in NFP and there are several ways to determine whether a woman is ovulating – calculating her cycle, body temperature, and vaginal secretions. Using these elements as a guide, a couple can prevent pregnancy. Similarly, when the couple decides it’s time to have another child, it provides them with the information about when the best time to get pregnant is.
The average menstrual cycle is between 28 to 32 days. The first day of your menstrual flow is the beginning of your cycle. From days 11 to 21, your egg is ready to be released from the ovary, and this is commonly known as ovulation. The egg travels through the fallopian tube towards the uterus and is only available to be fertilised for 12 to 24 hours during this window. If a sperm enters the egg, the fertilized egg will attach to the lining of the uterus and begin to grow. By the 28th day, if the egg is not fertilised, the lining of the uterus will shed, and this is what we commonly know as menstruation.
If you decide to use the family planning method of birth control, you can seek training by a qualified counsellor or a medical professional. The Natural Family Planning Service Singapore promotes and encourages Natural Family Planning as a way of life. You can visit their website (www.naturalfamilyplanning.sg)to get a list of NFP centres and the slots that are available for meetings with trained instructors.
Secondly, it is useful to note that periodic abstinence can only work when it is followed diligently. As NFP is about fertility awareness, it requires the couple to possess the knowledge of the body’s signs of fertility and infertility. In order to become more confident about recognizing the signs of impending ovulation, the couple has to be consistent in monitoring the patterns of the body and the practice of NFP.
NFP is 100% natural. There are no drugs, chemicals or devices involved, which is attractive for couples that do not want to interfere with reproduction in an artificial way. It is common to hear of couples who’ve used NFP speak of an increased awe and respect for the female sexuality and fertility, and a greater sense of empowerment through self-knowledge.
Corey Ang, 43 and his wife, Juliana Lee, 42, shares, “The practice of NFP appealed to us as it was totally natural. No drugs, no procedures, no cost, and no side effects. It respects the body’s natural rhythms and helps us to work alongside nature. Of course, that means that if we are not planning for a child, we would have to practise abstinence during the fertile periods. However, contrary to what some may feel, it draws us closer and makes for more fulfilling experiences during the times when we can be intimate.”
Despite itsadvantages, some couples may shy away from NFP as it requires abstinence, which means a couple cannot have intercourse during a certain period every month. Some couples may find that this lessens the spontaneity of sex. NFP is also generally not as effective as other birth control methods.
Nonetheless, NFP is easy to practice without compromising on your physical and sexualhealth. Corey and Juliana explains, “The method is easy to use and once you get the hang of it, it becomes quite second nature. And if you are diligent in the practice of NFP, you will realise that it does not require you to abstain for long periods of time. Many couples who do not practise NFP feel that it would mean giving up intimacy when the woman in most ‘in the mood’ and therefore, would adversely affect the couple’s sexual relationship. However, studies have shown time and again that couples who practise NFP enjoy a better sex life and have more sex than couples who do not.”