What is Natural Family Planning (NFP)? The woman’s body has been designed in such a way that there are tangible and measurable signs that ovulation is about to happen and that it has already happened. Without taking any pills, injectables, or using barriers (i.e. condoms, etc.), couples can plan their families! NFP is based on three key signs of fertility: cervical mucus, the body’s waking temperature, and the condition of the cervix.
First, let’s look at cervical mucus. As explained in the website of Couple-To-Couple League International (CCL) and by Toni Weschler in her book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, cervical mucus is the secretion that comes out of a woman’s body a few days after her period. The quality of the mucus changes from sticky to stretchy to very clear and egg white-looking.
CCL reiterates, “Cervical mucus is necessary for the proper functioning of a woman’s reproductive system. Mucus also is an aid to fertility because it serves as a swimming medium for sperm, provides them with nutrients, and enables them to survive for days in a woman’s cervix area where [they] temporarily ‘take up residence’ while waiting for ovulation. When there is no mucus, sperm life is very short, measured in hours, because the normal vaginal environment is very acidic and hostile to sperm. Women can easily learn to become aware of their cervical mucus through what they feel and sense, and what they see.”
When a woman realizes what her cervical mucus tells her about her fertility every month, she can already tell when she and her husband have to abstain so as not to conceive. In a nutshell, when the sticky mucus appears (around day 7 or 8, although it varies for every woman!), the couple has to abstain from having sex until a few days after the egg-white mucus comes out. Literally, the woman has to feel dry “down there”! If there is no mucus, sperm cannot survive.
Natural Family Planning, Part 2