Natural family planning charts are helpful tools to both the woman seeking a form of contraception and the one hoping to get pregnant. They all help women find their most fertile days in each menstrual cycle.
There are hundreds of products on the market sold as natural family planning charts. Some are available only through family planning classes, however.
While some charts record only one way to measure fertility – such as basal body temperature – others record multiple types of readings and can be quite complex. For the woman who wants to avoid pregnancy, understanding all aspects of the chart before using it is essential. Examples of some of the more popular charts and instructions for using them can be found at the Georgetown University Institute for Reproductive Health site.
According to WebMD, all the methods of natural family planning captured on charts are based on finding the time of ovulation. For optimal planning effectiveness, women should use all the methods in combination for several months before attempting to use them as natural birth control.
The charts by themselves are relatively inexpensive. However, the cost of natural family planning classes varies greatly. Women can use charts to track the following methods of planning:
A woman needs to guess her next ovulation event after recording several months of menstrual cycles, which is fairly easy to learn. Based on the chart, she deduces on which days of the month she’s most likely to ovulate. Fertile days begin five days prior to ovulation.
The main disadvantage is that this type of chart only works if she has regular 28-day menstrual cycles. Even women with regular cycles occasionally experience irregular ones. Women don’t always ovulate exactly in mid-cycle. Some experts advise that it’s more likely to happy between 9 and 17 days prior to her next period. This makes this type of tracking imprecise when used alone.
Standard Days Method (SDM)
This type of charting utilizes a string of colored beads known as CycleBeads to track a woman’s cycle. It works best for those with cycles between 26 and 32 days long.
To use this type of tracking, the red bead counts as day 1 of a woman’s period. Each successive day is one bead. A dark brown bead corresponds to day 26. The last brown bead before the red bead represents day 32.
Unfortunately, women who have more than one …