How did Natural Family Planning work for you? - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-07-2013, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Anyone out there successfully using Natural Family Planning (aka NFP)? I get asked about it often but I honestly have no experience with it myself.

 

For those of you who use it and find it works well, please post to say so and if you find it easy enough to continue using or if it's more difficult than you expected. And for those who found it didn't work, did it simply fail to work for you or was there an oops somewhere? innocent.gif

 

Thanks in advance for sharing! smile.gif


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Old 02-07-2013, 08:56 PM
 
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We did FAM (Fertility Awareness Method) in which the primary difference is you use a barrier method when fertile instead of abstaining when fertile as per NFP.  That said, we used it successfully to avoid and achieve pregnancy for two children. We avoided for the time period we didn't want more children, and achieved the first time once we were ready to go ahead again. Our kids are spaced 2-2.5 yrs apart and my cycles returned around 7 mo pp while exclusively nursing. I read both books years ago (NFP and Taking Charge of your Fertility (for the FAM method)) and prefer the FAM book. I found it fascinating and very helpful on a variety of angles of fertility.


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Old 02-07-2013, 10:04 PM
 
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We used NFP for over 20 years, including some "ecological breastfeeding" { NOT "exclusive" // see 'seven standards/Kippley' which is also natural child spacing}  We charted temperatures, mucus and sometimes cervix  {sometimes called symptothermal}. Single-sign/mucus like "Billings" or "Creighton" was too confusing for me, hard to learn with more abstinence. We never had a "surprise" but we did also abstain in the fertile days versus condoms or withdrawal as above ^ post^ mentions = "fertility awareness". Not abstaining can make the mucus difficult to perceive and interpret, too, plus, add to uneasiness about possible pregnancy. It also does not seem 'natural' to some to use condoms or withdrawal.

We used paper charts which can be printed free at nfpandmore.org - my husband was a huge help with the data especially while learning and his support also added to the effectiveness. We used the Kippleys' materials - their book, in a question-answer format, is NFP:The Complete Approach and it is coil-bound or online.  They are the only ones to cover the 'eco-breastfeeding'  and they have a nice chapter on the moral issues about contraception as well.  Charting more data adds to effectiveness, too: would you rather ride a uni-cycle, a bicycle, or a tricycle?  "More" can be better; some women check urine as well {"Marquette"} especially when nursing but it correlates well with mucus and temperatures so many abandon it when charting other signs is clearer. It is "Natural" because we look at when the couple comes together, nothing is used; no doctor needed, either - quite liberating for us

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Old 02-09-2013, 09:26 AM
 
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My husband and I avoided pregnancy for the first 12 months that we were sexually active, then conceived on the first month that we weren't careful with FAM (it was semi-planned...I knew I was close to ovulation and we took the risk). I didn't chart at all after Ds1 was born, although I did do the ecological breastfeeding/cosleeping. I was pregnant again at 7 months pp. After Ds2 was born, I started charting again and I am now nearly 12 months pp with no pregnancies. It works well for us, we use W/D and condoms during my fertile times. 


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Old 02-12-2013, 09:35 PM
 
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We use FAM as well along with a diaphragm when I'm fertile and absolutely love it. We've been using it for 18 months with no problems :)


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Old 02-14-2013, 06:03 PM
 
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We have used NFP for 16 years.  It was a little tricky to get used to in the beginning, but now it is second nature for us.  Don't let our family size (7 children from 15yrs down to 1 year) fool you.  We planned for all these kids :)  I also loved Sheila Kippley's book on Natural Child Spacing and Ecological Breastfeeding.  I truly believe there is nothing more beautiful than a woman's fertility and her ability to bring life into the world, so I have always chosen to not mess with it in any artificial way, but rather to listen to the signals my body gives me naturally.  I highly recommend NFP, but you need to give it a firm commitment for it to be successful.

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Old 02-15-2013, 01:27 AM - Thread Starter
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So for resources, would this be a good list? I added in the Taking Sharge of Your Fertility book because it has four great reviews by community members so I thought it might be helpful to include.

 

Anything else? What about fertility monitors and thermometers and such. Did you use anything like that? 

 

 

Books:

NFP (title?)

Taking Charge of your Fertility

Natural Child Spacing and Ecological Breastfeeding

Taking Charge of Your Fertility, The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

 

Helpful Tools:

NFP Paper Charts at nfpandmore.org


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Old 02-16-2013, 05:06 PM
 
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My partner and I used FAM for about two years, and I loved the wealth of information that charting gave me about my body. We were very strict about how we defined the fertile period and very diligent in condom and spermicide use if there was a non-negligible chance of conception, and there were no oopses. There was a bit of a learning curve, but having the charting to avoid thread on this board was extremely helpful in the first few months when I had lots of questions.

 

I really wish I were still using FAM, but my after a unilateral oophorectomy to treat a borderline malignancy in one ovary, my gynecologic oncologist insisted I get back on hormonal contraceptives for their protective effect against tumors in my remaining ovary. I don't love what hormonal contraception does to my emotional state or my sex drive, but it's probably better than a total hysterectomy at 26.

 

TCOYF was my favorite resource when I was new to FAM since it has enough information to be thorough while being concise enough not to be overwhelming. The Kippleys' downloadable book from NFP International was helpful as a secondary resource once I was a bit more comfortable with the basics of charting. It has far more methods for determining the safe period, which could be handy, but was quite overwhelming when I was first getting started. It is also written from a very conservative Catholic viewpoint, which may not suit everyone.

 

I tried an Up&Up (Target) brand basal thermometer and got wildly inconsistent temps. I had a Walgreens brand basal thermometer that worked fine before it accidentally got run over by a truck, but a BD digital basal thermometer was by far my favorite. It seemed very consistent,and I liked that it beeped during temping to let you know it was working and lit up to enable reading of the temperature in a dark room. I had to order it from Amazon, it wasn't really any more expensive than the basal thermometers available locally.

 

 

Many members of the Charting to Avoid thread use Fertility Friend or TCOYF.com free online charting software to track their data and share with others, but it's important not to rely solely on the software's interpretations to determine the fertile and "safe" periods, especially at Fertility Friend, which is geared toward women who are trying to conceive.

 

Have you seen the Charting to Avoid wiki? It has lots of good resources. http://www.mothering.com/community/a/resources-for-learning-about-fertility-cycles

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Old 02-17-2013, 02:50 PM
 
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We have been using FAM for 7 years and have had two oopsie babies smile.gif Our first was because during fertile days we used the pull-out method (we were newly weds and care free!) and our third baby was concieved when I ovulated a full 2 weeks earlier than usual and I didn't have any signs of ovulation. (BF keeps me "dry").
We still use FAM (minus temping) but choose to avoid intercourse the best we can on fertile days wink1.gif
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:52 PM
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We have been married for a little over 5 1/2 years and have used NFP (including Ecological Breastfeeding) the entire time. We have two beautiful children who were each conceived the first cycle we switched from CTA to TTC. The Kippley's resources give the most complete information to pick from a number of rules sets to give a couple options for increasing effectiveness or decreasing abstinence. The only area in which I feel that it is lacking is when it comes to CM. The Creighton Model has created a system of taking CM information and categorizing it objectively in order to understand fertility based on CM alone. However, it requires a course one-on-one with an instructor in order to get the stated effectiveness. It is an excellent option for those who cannot or would prefer not to temp.

 

The postpartum period can be the most difficult when charting. Ecological breastfeeding is excellent for spacing children to the point that a surprise pregnancy even at the return of fertility may be fine depending on the family's situation. However, it is not possible for some families, and there are some women who experience a return of fertility before they feel like they should have another child. CM is usually plentiful before the return of fertility postpartum, so following the rules for abstinence in the presence of fertile CM (and following) can usually quite easily help a couple avoid pregnancy in the postpartum period. However, it can also create a lot of abstinence as fertile CM can return a couple months or more before the return of fertility. For couples seeking some extra assurance, the Marquette Method is excellent, using a fertility monitor to objectively determine fertility, and the extra hormonal hump that it takes to ovulate the first time postpartum allows the fertility monitor to detect impending ovulation with enough warning to postpone pregnancy.

 

Check out the wiki listed above, plus all the wikis that are linked at the bottom of that link for types and resources, etc that can tailor NFP to most any couple's situation.

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Old 02-23-2013, 05:14 PM
 
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We've been using NFP for more than three years, since our daughter was born, and it's been working great!  We are just starting to try for another baby now.  I started using the sympto-thermal method, but between breastfeeding and nightwakings, I never started taking my temp. I rely on mucus only, and haven't had any problems, even with wacky cycles from extended breastfeeding. I was super scared of getting pregnant, after having a really hard pregnancy, but we didn't have any surprises. 
 

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Old 02-28-2013, 09:50 AM
 
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Hubby and I have been relying on NFP for 11+ years, our 3 pregnancies have been planned and we have not had any scares or oopses. I am a very regular cycler. We use condoms only during fertile days shown by cervical mucus and by timing.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:54 AM
 
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Oh I wanted to add that I exclusively breastfed my babies until 6months (on the breast, never pumped so no bottles, no soothers) and extended breastfed until 17months with my first and 2 months shy of 3yrs with my second (am currently pregnant with my third) Even so, my cycles returned both times within 5 months after baby was born (before solids were introduced) and periods are like clockwork even while I'm nursing so I have not been able to rely on breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy.
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:56 AM
 
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Ecological breastfeeding spaced my kids just under 29 months apart.

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and his rainbow1284.gif baby brother (7/2011)
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:34 PM
 
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FAM works well if both partners are seriously committed to the same goal.  It has worked well for me for 6 years.  Also, if you do get an oops when charting it is nice to know immediately.  


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Old 02-04-2014, 03:55 PM
 
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I would say......play and pray.......

It may or may not work for us. It seems that if the spouse seems "not ready" then keep self busy yet entertain him in the mean time.

It is good to build up good nutrition between births and such.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:30 AM
 
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Worked for me until I got a yeast infection that delayed ovulation and obscured fertility signs. We successfully avoided conception from return of AF after baby #1 until 14 months later when we were ready for another (conceived the first try once we were ready). Avoided for about 2 years after AF returned again before the yeast infection thing mixed us up and we got baby #3. Worked pretty well but I don't trust it anymore (still have LAM too right now but I don't trust that alone either), since I feel we're definitely done now.

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Old 04-07-2014, 01:18 AM
 
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Its really good to see so many positve stories here! I'm just starting out on this journey, and have a few questions :) I am 10 months PP, EBF, and just got my period back. Before I had my period we were using only spermicide, but now that I know I'm ovulating I want to use something much more reliable.

 

I've come across various fertility monitors while researching NFP, and I think a monitor would help me because I'm very worried about messing up my charts and not being consistent with it. So a fertility monitor where everything is in one place would probably really help me.

 

The two that I'm debating between are the LadyComp and Cyclotest. There seems to be much more info about LadyComp but it is crazy expensive, and I'm not sure I can shell out that money. Cyclotest seems to be a very good alternative, and is so much more reasonable. Does anyone have info on these two monitors? 

 

I'm also wondering how long it took you to sort of get into the swing of things when you were just starting out, before you felt like you really knew your body and could rely on NFP? I'm a bit worried about this in between time when I know I'm ovulating but might not be so accurate with the NFP system yet.

 

Thanks a lot!

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Old 04-08-2014, 04:12 PM
 
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We used natural family planning for 8 years, starting after the birth of our first child.  I always got my period back at 5 months, despite nursing fully and round the clock.  I used free charting software online and did temperatures and cervical fluid.  After awhile, I learned the feeling of ovulation and charted that, too.  We would have sex during fertile phase; dh would just "pull out" at those times.  It worked really well for us until the one time (New Years' Eve, of course) when dh asked me if we were in a "pull out" phase while my mind was... elsewhere... and he took my lack of an answer as license to go for it, and we had our fourth child 9 months later.  That was not the fault of NFP, though - dh's decision-making algorithm was poor.  Now we have a saying - "When in doubt, pull out!"  :lol


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Old 04-08-2014, 08:25 PM
 
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I charted to conceive both children but I don't find charting to avoid to be all that useful. My cycles are short and I have a delayed temperature rise following ovulation; those two factors add up to hardly any day being "safe", so for us charting to avoid basically is almost the same method of birth control as using condoms all the time. 

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Old 04-10-2014, 02:45 PM
 
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I use the FAM methods described in Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  I really enjoyed it and it worked very well.  I started to get really good at and sort of stopped keeping track and now we are having baby #2.  I would do it again after this baby because it was so effective and I loved being in tune with my body.

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Old 06-21-2014, 01:00 PM
 
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@carrymybaby I use Cyclotest! I also was originally debating between it and LadyComp, but decided on the more economical option and I'm happy I did. I've been using it for almost two years now and it works great. I think the main difference between it and the LadyComp is the design. The lady comp has a more modern interface and looks a bit "hearty-er." Practicality though, I'd never spend that much more on a fertility monitor just for design. The main thing you need is a good accurate thermometer, the built in alarm clock, and reliable charting. Cyclotest has all that, plus I also add in when I am noticing cervical mucus so as it learns my cycle it becomes even more accurate.
Hope that helps!
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynthia mosher View Post
<p>So for resources, would this be a good list? I added in the Taking Sharge of Your Fertility book because it has four great reviews by community members so I thought it might be helpful to include.</p>
<p> </p>
<p>Anything else? What about fertility monitors and thermometers and such. Did you use anything like that? </p>
<p> </p>
<p> </p>
<p>Books:</p>
<p><span style="background-color:rgb(249,249,249);font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.488636016845703px;font-size:13px;">NFP (title?)</span></p>
<p><span style="font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.488636016845703px;background-color:rgb(249,249,249);">Taking Charge of your Fertility</span></p>
<p><span style="background-color:rgb(249,249,249);font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.488636016845703px;font-size:13px;">Natural Child Spacing and Ecological Breastfeeding</span></p>
<p><a class="prodName" href="http://www.mothering.com/community/products/taking-charge-of-your-fertility-the-definitive-guide-to-natural-birth-control-pregnancy-achievement-and-reproductive-health" id="user_prodName_28474" style="font-size:13px;line-height:1.231;color:rgb(68,114,131);font-weight:bold;font-family:arial, sans-serif;background-color:rgb(249,249,249);">Taking Charge of Your Fertility, The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health</a></p>
<p> </p>
<p>Helpful Tools:</p>
<p><span style="font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;"><span style="line-height:19.488636016845703px;">NFP Paper Charts at</span></span><span style="background-color:rgb(249,249,249);font-family:arial, helvetica, sans-serif;line-height:19.488636016845703px;font-size:13px;"> nfpandmore.org</span></p>
Hi: sorry for the delay. We moved and then got very busy! The online or purchase book that we used is "Natural Family Planning, the Complete Approach". It teaches symptothermal { 3 signs of fertility } plus the Ecological Breastfeeding. And a separate ecological breastfeeding book is "The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding". What did you hope to do with this list, by the way? Best wishes!
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Old 06-22-2014, 06:29 AM
 
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We never used a monitor/app because the charting worked well for us. In reality, there are about 50 NFP-apps but none of them have been actually researched and no one can be sure who designed it and/or just what they know.....It is best to learn the method and then chart your data on an app but always have you and spouse double-check it and see if you agree. We want "user-effectiveness" and not just "method-effectiveness". There are some , myself included, who have seen app interpretations and it was clearly wrong...also, how can an app really know you and your circumstances? It simply cannot! Best wishes in your search. A good online course is at nfpandmore.org...it is very complete and we don't know of a better one
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Old 06-22-2014, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Excellent! Thanks @9ana

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