The truth is that many people will prefer having unprotected sex as opposed to using condoms. Unfortunately, unprotected sex carries a significant risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases as well as unplanned pregnancy.
If you only want to avoid pregnancy, you can use the safe day concept to ensure that you have unprotected sex only on the days that you cannot conceive.
What Is Natural Family Planning
This a method of controlling your rate of conception using natural methods. In most cases, the partners will take calculated risks during lovemaking, and they will hardly use protection in all their sex sessions.
To ensure that you accurately predict your safe days, you will need to understand the menstrual cycle. The knowledge will ensure that you easily determine when ovulation takes place so that you can avoid unprotected sex.
What is the Menstrual Cycle?
The menstrual cycle involves several phases that ranges from the time the ovary releases the ova to the time of menstruation, though on average, it takes about 28 days. To help you understand the concept of safe days, we’ll elaborate on the phases of the menstrual cycle. They include:
- Follicular Phase. This is when the follicles in the ovary mature in preparation for the release of the ovum.
- Ovulation Phase. This involves the discharge of the ovum from the ovaries. During this phase, the chances of a woman becoming pregnant are significantly raised!
- Secretory Phase. This is the last phase of the menstrual cycle. The ovum gets to the uterus where it either attaches to the wall of the uterus or is discharged as menses.
Now that you know the phases, here’s how you’ll calculate your safe days:
The safe days are dependent on several factors, including the lifespan of the eggs and the sperm. Most women will ovulate on the 14th day of the menstrual cycle.
Some women have a menstrual cycle of up to 35 days! In that case, the woman will likely ovulate on the 21st day of the period. Ordinarily, women will ovulate 14 days away from menstruation.
The sperm has a life span of 3-5 days meaning that if an egg becomes available 5 days after having sex, there is a significant chance that the woman will become pregnant.
On the other hand, the lifespan of an ovum is approximately 24 hours.
When is It Safe to Have Sex?
Now that you have knowledge on the menstrual cycle, you’ll easily understand this concept.
Day 1 to Day 8 of the cycle is relatively safe. Remember that ovulation takes place on day 14?
If that’s the case, then it should be safe until the 13th day, right?
No! A sperm has a lifespan of up to 5 days. This means that if you have unprotected sex on day 9, the sperm will still be alive in day 14 when ovulation occurs. In that case, the sperm will fertilize the egg, and you’ll become pregnant.
These results are purely made based on the assumption that the woman has a 28-day cycle. Even then, having sex will always put you at risk of becoming pregnant.
Is the Safe Days Technique Reliable
Safe days’ technique is not 100% reliable. In fact, there exists a significant chance of failure. If you want a completely safe method, it’s recommended that you use condoms whenever you engage in any sexual activity.
Other Methods of Natural Family Planning Techniques
There are several fertility awareness techniques which do not require the use of chemicals, drugs or other devices. We’ve already described the calendar method (involves counting of safe days). There are other two natural methods that you can use for family planning. They include:
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
You’ve probably heard about the phrase “on heat” when describing animals that are looking for mates, right? Well, this phenomenon is also applicable to females. Their body temperature is likely to rise (by 0.3 to 0.5 degrees Celsius) during ovulation.
The rise of the BBT is usually sustained for approximately 3 consecutive days. During this time, the egg is ready for fertilization, and you should avoid sex, especially if you’re not prepared to get pregnant. While this method is effective, it has a significant chance of failure. It’s particularly difficult to employ the technique if you experience an irregular menstrual cycle.
Cervical Mucus Method (CMM)
This technique depends solely on changes in cervical mucus and sensations around the vagina. This occurs due to changes in the hormonal levels of women during ovulation.
During this season, the level of estrogen will rise leading to the production of viscous and sticky mucus by the cervical gland. This makes the vagina wet in readiness of penetration. When you observe these changes, you should abstain from sex, lest you get pregnant.
Is Fertility Awareness Better than Conventional Family Planning Methods?
Natural family planning techniques are safer than conventional methods since it does not use any drug or external devices. While success is not always guaranteed, the fertility awareness approach is always recommended. However, you may need to consider conventional methods if you’ve failed entirely to avoid pregnancy using the natural methods.
When you decide to use the conventional techniques, you should always visit your doctor to advice you on the best approach. Some of the techniques, including intra-uterine coils, implants, and vasectomy have long term effects.