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One thing needs to be established right off the bat, though. Natural Family Planning is not “the rhythm method”.
Too long, didn’t read? Although you’ll miss out on a lot of great stuff, you can get a one page “cheat sheet” to Natural Family Planning that’s free for my email subscribers.
Basal Body Temperature
This is a woman’s body temperature in the morning before she engages in any activity. (Yes, before going to pee!) Ideally, it is taken at the same time every morning after a full night’s sleep. In practice, it can be taken after a minimum of three hour’s sleep.
It’s that simple.
The temperature difference is very tiny, though, from 0.4-1 degree Fahrenheit and special thermometers have been designed to read these small variations.
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Cervical Position and Texture
It’s That Simple
Interpreting The Pattern
- the temperature is lower
- no mucus until a few days before ovulation, and then it becomes slippery and stretchier as ovulation approaches
- the cervix is low and hard, softening and rising as ovulation approaches
- basal temperature rises 0.4-1 degree Fahrenheit
- cervical mucus dries up
- cervix lowers, firms up and closes
It’s important to know that the temperature rise occurs only after ovulation, so this must be used in conjunction with the calendar, cervical and mucus signs.
The calendar provides an estimation of when fertility is likely possible.
Cervical position and mucus indicate the beginning of the fertile phase.
Temperature rise shows that ovulation has happened. Twenty-four hours after ovulation, pregnancy is no longer possible.
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Doctors have flat out told me in the past that “Women don’t really know when they ovulate, but they all know when they had their last period.” Even with a chart showing the date of ovulation, some doctors will refuse to accept the information.
Those Pesky Exceptions
Women who work shifts may have difficulty with it.
Women with multiple little ones may not get even three undisturbed hours of sleep and should be extra careful. And some women find that their signs are a complete mess and unreadable for quite a while after childbirth.
This does not, obviously, protect against diseases.
In order to be effective (to prevent or achieve pregnancy), it requires daily, consistent commitment.