Natural Family Planning Safe and Effective? Underappreciated tool in Global Environmental Concerns?
Birth Control Quiz Q: How many methods of birth control/family planning are 100% effective? (effective in avoiding pregnancy?) A: (Three) • TOTAL abstinence • Castration • Total hysterectomy (removes ovaries)
Birth Control Quiz Q: What are reasons a sexually active couple would NOT use artificial birth control? A: Some include: • Religious (RC, Islam) • Allergic to latex! • Health risks assoc. with hormonal methods • $$$! • Availability! • Desire children!! • Others?
Biology Basics I • Length of female’s hormonal cycle = 28 days(“Textbook” only) • “Day 1” = First day of menses • Life of sperm (3 -5 days) • Life of ovum (36 hours) • Day of ovulation = “Day 14” • HA!! • Safe day for intercourse? (All couples; all cycles)
Natural Method I: Calendar Rhythm Q: What do you call people who practice calendar rhythm? A: Parents! Strategy: • Assume woman always ovulates on Day 14 • Abstain from intercourse a couple of days before & after
Biology Basics II Certain hormonal changes occur in EVERY WOMAN, EVERY CYCLE * • Exponential growth of estrogen • PEAK level of estrogen Triggers LH surge triggers ovulation!!!!! • Progesterone released (from “empty egg house”) AFTER ovulation • * (Assuming ovulation occurs!)
Biology Basics II Fertility Signs: • Rising level of estrogen • Increases female’s receptiveness to sperm • Fluid cervical mucus • High Levels of progesterone (an anabolic steroid) Increase in basal body temperature
Natural Method II:Sympto-Thermal Strategy: Monitor woman’s fertility signs • Major: cervical mucus, cervical position, basal temperature • Minor: ovulation pain, other cyclic indicators Use information to avoid or achieve pregnancy
Natural Method II:Sympto-Thermal Effectiveness? WHO study on 20,000 Indian couples • All couples lived in poverty • All were uneducated • All received GOOD NFP instruction Pregnancy Rate: Approached Zero! (< .2%!!!!)“NFP is cheap, effective, and without side effects…” BMJ, 1993
Perspectives • Health:No health risks to male or female user • Feminist perspective • Does not suppress woman’s cycle; works with her natural cycle • Only method (other than condoms) in which male is involved • Ecological Perspective • Does not pollute • Always available, to even poorest couples, if proper training has occurred • Effectiveness: Extremely effective, if couple is properly trained & desires effectiveness; is also effective to achieve pregnancy
References & Resources • 1993 WHO study: http://www.fertilityuk.org/nfps831.html#item1 • Fun fertility self quiz: http://www.fertilityuk.org/nfps01.html#htmlquiz • Couple-to-Couple League, based in Cincinnati, Ohio Books: Merryl Winstein, Your Fertility Signs, Using them to avoid or achieve Pregnancy Naturally http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0961940107/ref=sib_dp_pt/102-7191199-1800131#reader-link Kippling, John & Sheila, The Art of Natural Family Planning