Natural Family Planning
Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a technique that utilizes natural indicators of fertility to identify ovulation. This approach is highly effective as it utilizes the Symptothermal (Sympto-Thermal) method, parts of which are sometimes referred to as the Billings Ovulation method. Personal information is recorded on a daily basis and charted. Natural indicators of ovulation such as basal body temperature, cervical mucus characteristics, and/or cervix position are used to gauge fertility. This information is typically combined into an ovulation chart to facilitate interpreting your fertility. Charts can be constructed manually from your personal records or automatically using charting tools like the Hormonal Forecaster.
While sometimes confused with the calendar or rhythm method, this approach can be taken well beyond simply counting calendar days to estimate ovulation. Women chart daily symptoms such as their temperature, mucus observations, and cervical state to sense when their body is naturally preparing for a possible new pregnancy. By monitoring their body's natural indicators, women can identify their approaching or passing ovulation and time intercourse accordingly.
More information regarding the differences between the symptothermal and calendar methods of fertility prediction can be found on the fertility page. The Hormonal Forecaster supports both techniques.
Trying To Conceive
If you are aspiring to conceive, the same general principals apply. Again it is ideal to track as many symptoms as possible to paint the best overall picture of your fertility. One of the more useful symptoms for women trying to conceive are cervical mucus observations. These indicators are valuable because they identify the onset of ovulation. Basal body temperatures pinpoint ovulation after the fact. If you are trying to conceive, you want to time intercourse when your fertility is highest in the days up to and including ovulation.
Awareness of your fertility levels can drastically improve your chances towards conception. Although it obviously cannot overcome all forms of infertility, charting can be extremely valuable for individuals trying to conceive who may be experiencing difficulties as studies have shown.
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