Natural Fertility Methods
Natural Fertility methods are a system for observing bodily symptoms like cervical mucus to determine a woman's sexual fertility at any given time. It is quite a simple and easy method to use that only requires the curiosity to learn and the persistence to observe your body over time.
It is important to know that the human female body is only fertile for a limited time during the menstrual cycle, and ideally this hormonal fertility co-incides with the natal lunar phase fertile time.
How does natural fertility work?
The system works by observing the female body as it moves through the menstrual cycle. If you are unfamiliar with the biology of the menstrual cycle click here. There are various indicators of fertility, the main ones are:
Basal temperature refers to the temperature of the body taken at rest, usually this means as soon as you wake up in the morning before you get up and do anything. Generally the basal temp will be steady throughout the first half of the cycle, rising markedly (by 0.5 degrees Celsius) just after ovualtion, and staying high until menstruation occurs, or just staying high if you are pregnant.
Usually women chart their temperature when they are learning to use natural fertility methods, as it is the fluctuations in temperature that indicate ovulation has occurred. This becomes useful information for interpreting mucus changes which are the most important bodily change during the menstrual cycle as far as fertility is concerned.
Cervical mucus will change throughout the menstrual cycle from being dry, thick or pasty (infertile) to being wet and slippery (fertile).
It is the job of the cervical mucus to either restrict or allow sperm penetration through the cervix. When observing mucus, ask yourself the question "Could a sperm swin through this type of mucus?" It helps you decide if you are fertile or not. It is easy to imagine that mucus that is dry and thick is not as easy to swim through than mucus that is wet and slippery.
Getting to know your body and recognising its type of fertile cervical mucus is a very important step in using natural fertility methods.
Different women have different symptoms or charateristics of mucus, differences in the wetness, colour, smell, pastiness, so only you can know what your own personal pattern is. Personal observation is vital.
Observing mucus is simple.
We are only interested in the mucus that is readily observable at the mouth of the vagina. You need only touch the mouth of the vagina or alternatively wipe vaginal mouth with a tissue and feel mucus from that.
Dry or none = infertile
wet, profuse and slippery = fertile The changes from dry to wet indicate that fertile phase is coming (start abstinance) and changes from wet to dry indicate fertility is lessening. Factors like illness, intercourse (sperm left in vagina) and infection can all affect mucus observation, which is why proper instruction in these methods is vital.
Physically charting your observations on a calendar, diary or software speeds up the learning time considerably. The section Keeping Track goes into this in more detail.
From a contraception point of view....
Knowing when you are fertile makes it much easier to use less invasive forms of contraception eg diaphram or condoms that do not interfere with your bodies natural hormonal function (for example, the pill) or biology (IUD). What would normally be a hassle to use all cycle long becomes much more manageable when used just at your fertile times (and the safety time margins either side). Or if you don't want to use contraception at all, you may abstain from intercourse all together at your fertile time. It may be best however to be prepared as libido is often high at fertile times, and if you do not wish to conceive you are taking risks.
From a conception point of view....
Chances to successfully conceive are increased by timing intercourse at your fertile time.
Knowing your own personal menstrual rhythm is important and useful in ways that are not connected to conception. Observing your fertile times and incorporating this knowledge with the moon phases and womanly archetypes means you are truly in tune with your menstrual cycle and can therefore use it creatively and healthily to maintain balance in your life. It simply demystifies and befriends the whole process. Your body is no longer the enemy.
The other important factor to consider in using natural fertility methods is your Natal Lunar Phase Angle.
In a nutshell; Each month when the moon returns to the same position as it was at your birth, it can trigger your body to spontaneously ovulate no matter what day of your cycle you are on. For more information on this go to two fertile times or lunar phases explained.
So if you plan to use natural fertility indicators you need to know when your natal lunar phase fertile time occurs each month.