Natural Contraception – Part 3

chart


The Four Rules

  1.  First Five Days Rule

You are safe during the first five days of the menstrual cycle if you have had an obvious temperature shift about 12 to 16 days prior.

This applies to the first five days of the cycle. Any bleeding after should be considered fertile whether you bleed or not. Bleeding in that 5 day period is true menstruation, not spotting or abnormal bleeding.

This rule can only work if you have been charting your cervical fluid and temperature for awhile. You cannot rely on this rule if you are approaching menopausal age and if any of the signs of menopause are present[i].  This is due to the hormonal fluctuations that occur in Premenopause.

If your last 12 cycles were 25 days or shorter, you should then assume only 3 days are safe.  This precaution is due to the fact that you could ovulate earlier.  You would not be able to detect cervical fluid change due to bleeding.

  1. Dry day Rule

    Before ovulation you are safe any evening of every dry day[ii].

    Dryness[iii] is determined by periodic checks of cervical fluid throughout the day. There should be no wet or any kind of fluid.

It must not be “sticky” either.  Although sticky fluids may not be conducive to fertility, err on the safe side. Many women cannot distinguish between the sticky fluid and the wet fertile cervical fluids.  But if you have a couple “sticky” days and then return to dry, you are then considered safe on the dry days.

on the day after intercourse you chart that day with a question mark if semen or spermicide is present, these tend to mask cervical fluid. Because the fluids are masked that evening is considered fertile, since you cannot determine “wet” or “dry” cervical fluid.  But if by the end of the day after intercourse you are dry and have been all day, you are safe.

Remember: sperm cannot survive with a dry cervix.  The longest that the sperm stays alive is just a few hours. The sticky fluid of the cervix is just about as inhospitable as a dry cervix, so the risk is low.

  1. Temperature Shift Rule

    You are safe the evening of the 3rd consecutive day your temperature is above the cover-line.

You are infertile starting at 6 p.m. the third consecutive night that your temperature is above the cover-line.   If the temperature falls on or below the cover-line during that three day time frame, you must start your counting over until  it is above the line again.

If you develop a fever due to illness, you cannot consider yourself safe until you have had and recorded three days consecutively of normal temperatures above the cover-line.  If you have had no obvious thermal shift use a more conservative rule.  This would mean you would consider yourself safe only until the evening of the third day you are above the line.

  1. Peak Day Rule
    You are safe the evening of the 4th consecutive day after your peak day

Your peak day is the last day of “wetness”.  On the chart mark “PK” in the peak day column.  Subsequent days should be marked as “1”, “2”, “3”, etc., in that same row.  You should record them only in the evening after having observed your cervical fluid.

You are considered safe on the 4th consecutive day following a “peak day”after 6 p.m. Draw a vertical line on the 3rd and 4th day to indicate your being safe from day four.


Putting it all together

  • The peak day of cervical fluids typically occurs a couple of days before the temperature rises.
  • Before ovulation, the cervical fluid is the critical fertility sign to observe
  • But after ovulation , it is the temperature that is a critical sign.
  • The rules that apply to ovulation will often work in harmony with each other, so the the 3rd evening of high temperatures will coincide with the 4th evening after the peak day.
  • However:
    • If there is a discrepancy between the two post-ovulatory rules, always wait until both signs indicate infertility.
    • If it is critical that you avoid pregnancy, do not take the chance of unprotected sex!

 

[i] Hot flashes, vaginal dryness, etc.

[ii] After 6 p.m.

[iii] No fluids present, the slight moisture at the vaginal opening is not “wet” per se.

Natural Contraception – Part 2

The Fertility Awareness Method [FAM] works as a contraceptive only if you choose to either postpone intercourse or use a barrier method when you are fertile. You should be aware the method is most effective when you abstain.

chart

Here are the reasons why:

  1. If the barrier method is going to fail, it will fail when you are in the fertile phase. ALL contraceptives have a failure rate.
  2. Using barriers with spermicides during the fertile phase can mask your cervical fluid.


Drawing the “Cover Line” For Charting

The purpose for charting your temperature is determine when ovulation occurs.  Your temperature rises on the days after.  But to accurately do this, you need to draw a cover line.

The instructions are as follows:

  • After your menstruation ends and when charting your temperatures, always notice the highest temperature of the previous 6 days.
  • Identify the first day your temperature rises at least 2/10ths of a degree above the highest temperature
  • Now, go back and highlight the last 6 temperatures before the rise
  • Draw the coverline 1/10th of a degree above the highest of that cluster of 6 highlighted days


Charting Cervical Fluids

 Day 1 of the cycle is the first day menstrual bleeding. Brown or light spotting prior is considered a part of the last cycle.

  • The graph below shows how the various types of cervical fluids are recorded in your chart.
    Note: Menses are marked with
    * while spotting is marked (*)


Menses:  Red Blood Flow

Eggwhite          
Creamy          
Sticky          
Dry, Spotting or Menses *        


Spotting: Brown, pink, discolored

Eggwhite          
Creamy          
Sticky          
Dry, Spotting or Menses *  (*)      

Nothing:

Eggwhite          
Creamy          
Sticky          
Dry, Spotting or Menses *  (*)  —    

Sticky:

It is opaque, white, or yellow, and occasionally clear.  Can be thick.  The main quality is stickiness or lacking true moisture.  It can be crumbly or flaky like a paste, of gummy and rubbery (similar to rubber cement). When separating fingers it forms peaks.

Eggwhite          
Creamy          
Sticky        fill in box
 
Dry, Spotting or Menses  *  (*)  —    


Creamy:

Milky, cloudy, white or yellow in color.  Is “creamy” like lotion.  Can be wet, watery or thin in nature.  Does not form peaks when separating fingers.

Eggwhite          
Creamy      
 fill in
Sticky        fill in
 fill in
Dry, Spotting or Menses *  (*)  —    

Eggwhite:

Usually it is clear, but can have opaque streaks in it.  Very slippery and wet like an eggwhite. Feels like extreme lubrication in the vaginal opening.

Eggwhite        
Creamy      
 fill in
Sticky        fill in
 fill in
Dry, Spotting or Menses *  (*)  —    

NOTE: There would be an additional column on the right side, but due to constraints in page size, is omitted. The last column not shown has “eggwhite, “creamy”, and “sticky” boxes filled in.

 

Natural Contraception – Part 1

chart

Many women have said to me “Oh, charting is just too much bother”.  Well, is it too much bother to pencil in your eyebrows and put on lipstick before you leave the front door? This is YOUR body, it is your health we are talking about.  Once you get the blank charts, it probably will take you five minutes. Easy peezy… like tying your shoe laces!

Waking Temperature

Why do it?

  • you can see when you are ovulating
  • tell when you can have safe sex without unwanted pregnancy
  • see when you are no longer fertile (Great for when you want a “green light” for safe sex” or when you are trying to get pregnant, it is not gonna happen…
  • indicates when you will get your menses
  • potential issues with period

How to do it
glass thermometer
When you first wake up, before you drink water or anything else.  Everyday, including during your menses. If possible, take your temperature at the same time each day. Note the time on your chart. The later in the day, the higher the temperature…so if you forget to do the temperature upon waking, you need to note the time.

If your thermometer is digital, make sure to wait until it beeps.  The reading would then be more accurate. A glass thermometer, should be left in the mouth a full five minutes.  Shake it down the night before or at least remember to do so before you take the temperature for that day.

Take your temperature ORALLY.

Also note on your chart if you have had unusual events in your life, such as: stress, illness, are traveling, or you are moving. These events can affect your temperature.