By Jacki May, Contributing Writer
Last month I talked about charting to get pregnant, which helped us to conceive our first three babies. Now, we are going to talk about how to chart to avoid getting pregnant, which is how I am charting currently.
The three things we look at for knowing your body is fertile, are the same signs you will be looking out for when charting to avoid pregnancy. For those just joining us, those are: temperature, cervix, and cervical position. Avoiding intercourse during the time that your body shows signs of fertility is the most reliable way to avoid getting pregnant using this method. Therefore, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with how each of these signs indicates your body’s relative fertility, or infertility throughout the month.
Using NFP to Avoid Pregnancy
This one may not be as reliable for wanting to avoid pregnancy because if you have intercourse up to 3 days before your temperature spike (or egg release), you could become pregnant. When you see the spike in your temperature, do not have intercourse. You can’t use temperature only to avoid pregnancy.
When wanting to avoid pregnancy, you want your cervix low, firm and closed. Firm feels like the tip of your nose, and soft feels like your tongue. Checking on the toilet, before going to the bathroom, is a good time to check since you are already in a good position (and it is private).
As you near ovulation, your cervix will soften, so keep this in mind if you choose to have intercourse.
Cervical Fluid and Menstruation
I added menstruation to this category because for the first few days, most women are considered infertile. This can vary if you have an earlier ovulation day, so chart a few cycles first.
On days that you are dry, with no cervical fluid at all, this are considered infertile days. Even slightly sticky fluid isn’t the right habitat for sperm. When your fluid is very slick, egg white, and stretchy, do not have intercourse. You need to pay attention to your cervical fluid–your fluid will go from dry, to sticky, to creamy, to slick and egg white. Each of these points closer to potential ovulation and having intercourse up to 3 days before ovulation can result in pregnancy (An old wives tale has it, you will conceive a girl.)
After you egg white day, you should have about 4 days of sticky or dry days before you can consider yourself not fertile.
When charting, there is a spot for you to check if you have intercourse, this will help with keeping track if you do get pregnant.
One thing that I found interesting (but don’t base your conscious birth control on it), that during ovulation your pheromones are running high, along with other hormones; basically, your body is wanting to mate to fertilize that egg, so you many find yourself (or your partner) a little more “ready for action” at that time. Keep notes of this in your chart and see if a pattern develops!