Tuesday, 27 May 2014


Family planning is available to help individuals and couples to choose if and when they will have a child,  or to choose the number of children that they will have. The  choices depend on a complicated mixture of social, cultural and psychological influences and lately men and women  have reliable methods to enable them to make that choice freely and easily.

This principle of choice is important, as it includes not only the choice of using family planning, but the choice of the birth control method most suited to the particular circumstances of the couple. But neither the man nor the woman can make an informed choice until each has a basic knowledge of the different methods, their efficiency in protection against pregnancy and their advantages and disadvantages.
Our emphasis in this post is on  the natural methods of family planning.
1. Periodic abstinence{the safe period}- In a woman with a normal menstrual cycle, ovulation will occur approximately 14 days before the anticipated menstrual period and the ovum can  only survive for two days unless it is fertilized. After intercourse, the  ejaculated sperm survive and are able to fertilize the ovum for four days at the most. From these facts we can deduce that if intercourse is avoided from four days before to four days after  ovulation, pregnancy should not occur. Intercourse should therefore be restricted to the  days of menstruation, to the four to six postmenstrual days and the ten premenstrual days.  A couple choosing to use periodic abstinence have to determine the days on which the woman may be fertile.
2. The calendar method;- If a woman is prepared to use a calendar and over a period of six menstrual cycles to record the duration of each cycle, she can determine her own safe period by calculating the date  of ovulation in each cycle, and then subtracting three days from that day in the shortest cycle and adding three days in the longest cycle. Intercourse should be  avoided during  the danger period.
3. The temperature method;- This is an accurate method  of pinpointing ovulation. It is based  on the physiological observation that when ovulation has occurred the body temperature rises slightly. To detect this temperature rise, a woman has to be sufficiently motivated to take her rectal or vaginal temperature each morning on waking and before she  gets out of bed or has any food or drink. From  the daily reading, she makes a chart and can have intercourse safely three  days after the temperature rise has occurred.
4. The mucus method;- The woman learns to examine her vagina for the  presence  of mucus. Immediately after a menstrual period,  the  vagina feels dry, but as ovulation time approaches, mucus can be detected. Initially, it is cloudy and sticky but as the level of oestrogen rises, the cells of the neck of the womb are stimulated to secrete more mucus and its character changes.it  becomes clearer, stretchy and slippery. The peak of the clear mucus is reached on the day of ovulation after which the mucus becomes cloudy again. Intercourse is safe when there  is no mucus .  If the couple avoid sex whenever there is mucus, pregnancy is avoided.

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