Okay, I'm 34, a mother of 4, and a fertile myrtle. We've used NFP for to avoid and to time conception for 10 years or so. I'm pretty comfortable with my cycle and I'm pretty textbook. 5 days of flow, about 2-3 days building up to 1-2 days ECM at day 14, then start my period at day 28-30. So, now that we are Done Done and don't have that "it would be okay if we slipped up" safety net, how much risk is risky. We are okay with condoms for unsafe days, learning about withdrawl but not confident there. But really really don't want an oops right now. Phase 1ends about day 6 or 7 right? for a fertile myrtle I don't want to push that earlier phase. So if anything, withdrawl then or condoms. Then phase 2: day 7 through 4 days after peak day? Condoms. Then 4 days after peak with cross-check at cervix (and the fact that I always O at day 14?) we should be good from day 18 or so until the end of the cycle, right? Part of me says I am so regular and so textbook that this should work out great. The other part of me sees how much I can't handle a mistake and wants to take drastic measures. Does this sound risky to you? In such a basic chart, where do you put the line between risky and not so risky?
I'm like you in that I've used FAM for 10 years both TTC and TTA (only 2 LOs, so lots of TTA time) and have had great success. I've also had a couple of randomly short cycles, delayed O's from traveling, etc., just enough to know that textbook cycles can AND DO surprise you even after lots of experience. And if a suprise would be most unwelcome in your house, be conservative.
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The best way to minimize risk would be to have abstainance during phase 2. The condoms are where the risk comes in (with breakage, misuse, etc.). They are just another method that can fail, and if you did have an oops, it would be a condom-failure, and not a method failure. If you have intercourse during the fertile time with condoms, then your method is condoms, not FAM. The only thing the FAM would be doing is having you use condoms only some of the time, instead of all the time.
I think NFP is very, very sure as long as you do it right, and don't cheat. It's really just a matter of biology. The fertile period is at most 7 days before O to 2 days after (and that is really the longest possible time...generally it is more like 3-5 days before O to 1 day after). So, if you don't have intercourse during that time, you CAN'T get pregnant. It's not biologically possible. Now, the tricky thing of course is figuring out when that fertile period is.
I use OPT in addition to mucous signs and temps. (I get them cheap off the internet, for like 55-80 cents each). I know that once I get a + OPT that O will occur within 2 days and that by 2 days after that, I'm no longer fertile. They provide another (surer) confirmation of ovulation. And, I know that once ovulation occurs, then fertility ends 2-3 days later.