I know just enough about NFP to be dangerous. Heh.
I have no desire to chart my temperatures. I know that I would not be able to be consistent enough with it to get reliable results anyway. I prefer to monitor the mucus and go on timing. I can't tell a thing about my 'cervical position'. Heh. We are currently trying to avoid, not to conceive.
What we've been doing... I have a 24-25 day cycle. Damn short. It's been steady like that ever since my cycle returned after DD was born (who is 4.5yo now). (before that it was 28-30)
I think I understand that a normal luteal phase is about 10-12 days, right? In other words, I'm mostly likely ovulating about 10-12 days before my period starts, or day 12-14. This seems consistent with what little I know about mucus, because around that time it does get copious and gooey... 'friendly' to spermy fellows, if you would. ;)
I generally bleed for about 4 days, so day 5 is only a week away from estimated ovulation. I don't trust the spermy guys to die that quickly, so we either abstain or withdraw (DH has a lingering side effect from a previous medication that made it really, really difficult to get him to 'finish'... even though he's been off the meds for years, it still takes a lot more, uh, work to get him to finish, so he actually has amazing stamina -- we can have lots of fun and still be 'safe'!)
To be super super safe (because I haven't actually charted so O date is an educated guess), we wait until day 17 as the "safe zone". That gives us only a week before my period starts again, stupid short cycle...
Anyway, this has worked for us for close to 4 years now (before DD was born I was just starting to learn about this stuff and she was conceived on the 2nd try, based on what I knew!!) But I'd love to tighten up the schedule a bit and reduce the buffer zones if they're unnecessary. What are the odds that we'd be 'safe' on, say, day 15 instead of 17? How soon after O is it safe? Is my luteal phase information correct? How soon BEFORE O is safe, might we have a day or two right after my period that would be 'safe enough'?
One time, about 6 months ago I think, I had a full 28 day cycle (which while normal to most women, was an "UHOH" for me!!) When this happens, does it usually mean the luteal phase was longer, or that O was later?
Are there other folks with really short cycles like mine? What do your charts look like? When are your safe days?
Thanks for any feedback!
You might research "Billings Method" since it doesn't use BBT (basal body temperature). It's less reliable than proper FAM/NFP but obviously it's better than playing darts :)
I too have a short cycle (23-25 days) and it is frustrating for the reasons you mentioned. I use a sloppy method like you described (just noticing CM and horny signs). Apparently I have the absolute most enviable fertility since I've never gotten accidentally pregnant in 10 years of marriage, and also conceived the very first time we actually tried. (Sorry, everyone). For me, what you described has worked fine. It won't for everyone. It might not work for me forever (but we're ok with that).
I don't wait for a specific day (like CD 17) but just wait a few days after my fertility signals turn off. I assume you mentioned a chart day just because it TENDS to be around that day - but please watch your fertility signals and not the calendar. I too have had a couple 28 day cycles, and that would be problematic. I believe I O around day 12 or 13 on average, but I don't consider my averages at all when deciding - just fertility signs.
Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.
What I mean is that I think my fertility signals turn off around day 12-13, so to be extra careful, we wait until day 17. I built in the bigger buffer because of my uncertainty about the precision of my fertility signals... Like, if I'm reading the cues wrong or misunderstood something. If I just went by what I think my signals are, I'd tend to think I was safe around day 14-15 most months, so just to keep myself from taking unnecessary chances, I called day 17 as a "never before then no matter what I think my signals are" day. If that makes sense. It's a good 2 days later than what I think might be my safe zone, just in case.
So yes, I have been using the calendar instead of just my signals, but it's because I'm unsure about the precision of my fertility signals. What I'd like to do is clarify my fertility signals a bit better so that I *can* go more reliably from those rather than from an average, calculated date like day 17. Then if I'm earlier, we can have more fun earlier, or if I'm later, then we'll still be safe.
I will look into the Billings method, thank you!
Creighton is another CM only method that claims to have higher effectiveness than Billings, though to get that effectiveness, you would need to go through one of their courses with an instructor. Either way, I think it might be helpful for you to start writing some of your observations down. You can chart quite effectively without taking your temperature. The basic idea is that you make observations every time you use the restroom and make note of the most fertile mucus you experience. Abstain on any day that you experience bleeding, CM, or seminal residue. When you have a patch of mucus, note the last day that you experience "more-fertile" type mucus. This is "Peak Day." You are safe on the evening of the 4th day after Peak day.
In the presence of fertile mucus, sperm can live most of a week. Without any mucus at all, they are likely to die within a few hours, certainly within a day, but any mucus at all can extend their lives. Luteal phases can be 10-16 days in most cases. A shorter luteal phase may not give the embryo enough time to implant, but some women do have shorter luteal phases. If you count the days after peak day before your period starts, you can tell how long your luteal phase is. This will not vary much from month to month. Most of a woman's cycle variation comes before ovulation.
With short cycles, it is not likely that you would have "safe" days after your period. Based on cycle lengths, if you are sure that your shortest cycle in the past year was 23 days, you should not go past CD5. If you have ever had a 22 day cycle, don't go past CD4. If you have ever had a 21 day cycle or shorter, you should not go past CD 3. A safer method is to take your shortest cycle in the past year minus 20 and count that as your last safe day. Once you finish your period and can clearly see that you are dry, you can assume you are infertile in the evening every other day that you are sure you are dry, but it is unlikely that you have very many of these dry days, and if you try this, you are much more likely to end up unexpectedly pregnant. If you have a 23 day cycle with a normal 14 day luteal phase, that means you ovulated on CD 9. If you have a 5 day period and DTD on CD 6, those sperm only have to be able to make it 3 short days to be ready for an egg. If I were you, trying to avoid, I would only assume that you are infertile on Peak day +4 or in the first few days of your period. This should increase the effectiveness over what you are doing and give you a few extra days.