Natural Family Planning

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Experiments in Natural Family Living

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have reported on weeklong trials to make their lives a little greener. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


If you’re looking to avoid chemical and/or potentially abortificant methods of birth control, you find yourself with very few options.  Morally, I’m suspicious of any birth control method that relies on making my womb ‘inhospitable’ to a fertilized egg [I don’t know where I stand on that whole “sperm + egg = baby” equation, so I’m trying to pretty much avoid it all together.] and physically,  I’d rather just not have sex at all than use chemical forms of birth control.  So our options felt pretty limited.

In the end, we decided to try Natural Family Planning.  The idea is, I would chart my temperature every morning, keep an eye on my cervical mucous, and plug this all in to the almighty internet who would then tell me whether or not I was fertile.  Then, we could plan our actions accordingly, and either abstain or use the dreaded condoms when I was showing signs of being soil ready for seed.

Taking my temperature every morning proved to be a more easily acquired habit than I expected.  And taking note of any cervical mucous wasn’t so difficult either.  Data.  I has it. let me plug everything in and I would wait till the end of the month to see if I could tell when I had ovulated.  I figured after a few months, I’d hopefully be able to see a pattern, and I’d be able to tell when I was fertile and we could just use condoms or abstain from intercourse and put off baby #2 for a little while.

But I was still nursing all night.  Which made my temperatures more uneven than they should be, and I never did see a spike in temperature that would indicate ovulation.  What I did see was that my mucous was way more informational than I ever gave it credit for.

I had 3 cycles after my daughter was born before my husband and I left on a trip.  We were going to be staying very busy and sleeping either in a hotel room with our daughter or in a house full of my in-laws with our daughter – i.e. no alone time.  I didn’t even bother to pack condoms, because I was sure we wouldn’t need them.  Well, one night my daughter was asleep before we were and my hubby and I found ourselves in a hotel room with free time!  At that point, I wasn’t going to break the spell by going to the drug store.  In the back of my mind I remembered that I had seen some potentially fertile mucous that day, but I was skeptical of the reliability of damp drawers.  Turns out, the mucous did indeed indicate fertility.

This time around, even though my fertility returned several months later than it did after my first child, I was able to accurately predict my first period by noticing my mucous changing.  Two weeks later: period.  I haven’t started charting my temperature yet because my little one is still nursing all night, but I know that’s the next step in our little fertility journey.  Natural Family Planning is certainly not a foolproof method, because there are lots of ways to impact body temperatures or misread mucous or charts, but it’s not introducing anything into my body or kicking anything out prematurely, so we’re going with it.  Well, as soon as I find my basal body thermometer.



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17 responses to “Natural Family Planning

  1. We too use NFP! I use The Billings Method though which does not require recording temperature. It takes a few cycles to get the hang of it especially after pregnancy as your rhythm returns but it is very easy to follow and plan your family – so long as you follow the rules!! And if you don’t follow the rules at least you know just exactly what day you fell pregnant which is very good for maintaining confidence on a baby’s due date! I think it is brilliant. I hardly need to chart now and just know when my fertile days are. It is so much more empowering than needing to rely on other forms of contraception, always guessing if you could or could not be pregnant!!

    • Empowering! Yes! I’m not sitting around wondering if a baby lies just around the corner, I’m actually in charge of my life and taking control of things. That’s the perfect word for it.

  2. Crunchy Con Mommy

    Funny, I’m basically the opposite-I have awesome clear temp patterns but my mucus is worthless-it’s like day 23 & I haven’t noticed any mucus at all this month. I have heard from other moms though that a lot of them don’t even bother with temps anymore-they know how to go off of their mucus now! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do that personally, but I love that it is such a flexible method!

    • I’m completely amazed that our bodies are telling us so much and we’ve lost the art of listening. So many women told me that they wish they’d read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” sooner, and that they’d be giving it to their daughters but I figured it was just excitement speaking, not real knowledge. Oh how wrong I was!

  3. We did NFP in order to get pregnant with #2, and I’ll be using it to avoid getting pregnant once I get my cycles back. Good luck in your own journey!

  4. I’ve been wondering about this, and think that when (if?) I get into another relationship, this will be the way to go. I’m not keen on getting back on birth control.. like ever. Thank you for the information! I think I’m going to start charting and see what it teaches me : )

  5. Paige @ Baby Dust Diaries

    My husband and I are infertile but we used these methods to TRY to get pregant for years. Fertility Friend was my bff. It is nice because I’m much more in tune with my body than I was before. I don’t chart temps any more because it is abundantly obvious that sex does not make babies for us! But it is so obvious to me know when I’m ovulating and when I’m about to start my period. I really think girls should be taught more about their bodies and how to observe the changes. Great post, thanks!

  6. Ive been so interested in this for a while, thanks for giving me a glimpse into how it works. Im going to look at it further, especially as my fertility should return soon as my son nurses less and less.

  7. Awesome experiment! I used NFP when I wanted to get pregnant and found it worked very well! I also loved that it helped me understand my body so much better. Good luck with your continued experiment! 🙂

  8. Yay! I am totally an NFP cheerleader; I love reading about other people’s successes! There are SO MANY good reasons to go natural. Way to spread the word!

  9. I’m also a big fan of NFP for a variety of reasons. I love how it helped me learn so much about my body. Good luck for the future.

  10. We used NFP to help us conceive our first, and I wished I had known about it earlier, so that I could also have used it to *prevent* pregnancy (instead of the pill). Didn’t use it for our second, because I was nursing and my sleep was so irregular. I must say, though, the whole cervical mucous thing was kinda mysterious to me. I mostly went by temperature.

  11. Learning about NFP is like the whole universe opening up. Well, that might be an exaggeration, but I seriously think this sort of thing should be taught to girls when they start cycling. It just makes so much sense! Thanks for the personal story share. We (my husband and I) used NFP to have our first child and I found it extremely helpful. Just trying to get back in the groove of things now after baby #2. Really, I find charting kind of fun (when I remember to do it).

  12. This is interesting! I haven’t looked much into natural family planning. I knew I didn’t want to go on birth control after my daughter was born so my husband and I just used condoms every time we had sex – which actually works better for us (I know some people hate using condoms). Then when we decided it was time for baby #2 it only took one time LMAO!!! We are considering getting ‘snipped’ after this one is born but otherwise I’m def. interested in looking more into this!! Thanks!

    Mrs. Stone

  13. It’s a real advantage to be able to chart and find out if you’re fertile at all. Sometimes when you’re still nursing, you’re not … so all the worry could be for nothing!

    I only charted for three months to learn the method, and then left it all to chance … which has timed our kids just right so far anyway. But even in those three months, I was able to discover what was normal for me and what wasn’t, so that when something changes, I know to look into it. Very handy information.

    Of course, I’m that rare kid who borrowed her mom’s NFP books and learned all about my cycle when I was 13. I think I’m going to teach my daughters (if I ever have any) all about it so they know what’s going on inside their bodies!

  14. We use Creighton instead of Billings but still absolutely love it. No gross chemicals for me, my husband takes part in learning OUR fertility, and knowledge of how and why my body works the way it does.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

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