Benefits of natural family planning. Why is it good for your relationship?Arturo Malave
We’ve talked about whether or not natural family planning is beneficial for your relationship before. Here we’d like to look into the numbers behind the benefits of natural family planning and let you in on the data behind our confidence in the hiMama symptomothermal method for natural family planning.
Relationships and natural family planning
In the past we have talked about what natural family planning is and what it can mean for your relationship.
The foundations of natural family planning as an effective contraceptive method are largely based on two things:
First, a strong commitment to periodic abstinence and second a really cool boyfriend/girlfriend or life partner that is willing to cooperate!
And both if you are avoiding or trying to get pregnant, fertility awareness is key.
Recently, in the world of contraception, Natural Family Planning has built a pretty good case for itself through medical and statistical research. Many recent researchers have measured satisfaction with NFP!
Matthias Unseld and team, authors of the study “Use of natural Family Planning (nFP) and its effect on couple relationships and sexual satisfaction: a Multi-country survey of nFP Users from Us and europe”, have it clear on how beneficial natural family planning can be.
Here’s what they say is the best of what Natural Family Planning has to offer:
“Natural family planning offers couples the opportunity to approach fertility as a normal biological process and, by synchronizing their sexual behavior with the normal periodicity of fertility, can plan their families while respecting possible cultural and/or religious beliefs they may have.
The sympto-thermal method (STM) of NFP combines cervical mucus observation with basal body temperature (BBT) record-ings to provide a “cross checking” system that has been shown in high quality clinical studies to have unintended pregnancy rates of <1% with perfect use and 2–8% with typical use”
Plus, use of natural family planning as a contraceptive method has seen an increase in the US.
And most couples speak really, really well of the whole experience.
According to Leona VandeV and her team, authors of the study “Couples’ views of the effects of natural family planning on marital dynamics”, over 70% of the comments on Natural Family Planning obtained through their surveys were positive. And even when there were negative comments, men and women participants reported 97% and 98% satisfaction with the natural family planning process, respectively. Additionally, 83% of the women and 53% of the men reported no difficulty with abstinence.
According to Barroilhet and team, natural family planning users have a higher probability of maintaining mentally and emotionally healthy relationships than couples that prefer to use artificial methods of contraception.
Fact is, natural family planning benefits your relationship – if you already have a good working relationship it actually makes your relationship better.
Maybe you believe us, maybe you don’t…. Here are the numbers and more on how the pro’s and cons in natural family planning transcend cultural differences!
Numbers that favor the use of natural family planning when you are aiming for pregnancy
If you are trying to get pregnant, natural family planning is a great place to start. It’s easy to use, natural and should work wonders for your relationship. Plus, it is pretty darn effective.
Over 50% of women who have used natural family planning have reported achieving pregnancy in 6 months or less.
As low as 9% of women who have used natural family planning in order to get pregnant indicated they had to try for over a year, according to this study.
Basically, this means that you have really high chances of getting pregnant within the first year of using natural family planning.
Pros and cons of natural family planning from the couple’s point of view
What you can look forward to in your relationship if you use natural family planning
- An enhanced relationship where both partners feel more love and greater understanding for one another, which also contributes to greater respect, mutual decision making and open communication.
- A raised appreciation for intimacy associated with your improved knowledge on the female and male body as well as different lovemaking techniques.
- A deeper connection to God or a deepened sense of spirituality as well as a welcoming emotional context for receiving a new child (planned or unplanned).
- A plan to space pregnancies, learn self-control and remain healthy.
- Marriage insurance (read up on what the research has to say about the relationship between divorce and natural family planning further along in this same post).
Conflicts in your relationship: is it because of natural family planning?
There are pros and cons to natural family planning’s impact on a couples’ relationship. Some couples have had bad experiences with this birth control method. Nonetheless, study’s say if your relationship is on the rocks, natural family planning is not to blame.
Warning signs that natural family planning can be leading to a break up
Use these couples’ reports from recent research to be prepared and look out for signs you might be going down the wrong path with your natural family planning.
Areas where couples have had the most difficulty in the past:
- Timing and frequency of sexual relations
- Communicating emotions and responsibilities related to contraceptive use
- Reacting to the possibility or reality of method failure
We´ll look into each of these areas in the following section so you can know what to look out for and what to avoid in your relationship in order to get the most out of natural family planning.
Timing and frequency of sexual relations
Look out for strain in your love life due to difficulties in keeping your commitment to abstinence. But don’t feel guilty if you want to engage in various other sexual activities with your partner! Intercourse is not the only option.
Also couples say planning intercourse can be a real buzz kill. That’s right, couples have reported decreases in frequency and spontaneity of their sexual relations due to the need to plan intercourse. Don’t worry, take a look at this article on how to schedule sex and still enjoy it!
Unbalanced sexual drives between partners means someone wants sex a whole lot more than the other at a given moment. And women tend to be the ones who want it more! Why you ask? Turns out women’s hormone levels and libido are highest during their fertile window… making it so much more difficult to abstain from sex.
Communicating emotions and responsibilities related to contraceptive use
We all have a pretty dark side to our emotions. If you have to face abstinence things can get ugly, especially if you are dealing with unmet sexual needs. The resulting anger, frustration and misunderstandings can tear into any relationship. Keep in mind that abstinence during specific periods of time doesn’t mean you can’t find sexual satisfaction in other ways.
Added to these negative emotions, some couples report that guys tend to leave women the sole responsibility of method use. Which can turn into a blame game and strain your relationship.
Remember, communication is key for your relationship whatever contraceptive method you both decide on.
According to Tina Coffelt and team if you are aiming to build an intimate relationship based on a healthy sex life, communication is an essential factor. And it comes to no surprise that quality marriages have demonstrated high interconnection between communication, sexual satisfaction and marital satisfaction.
Reacting to the possibility or reality of method failure
If you are totally against having more children, you can let fear have the better of you to the point where a state of constant fear can make your sex life nonexistent or create unbearable tension within your relationship.
Take things slowly and with calm.
First off, you can trust highly rated contraceptive methods. All contraceptive methods are evaluated according to their unintended pregnancy rates with perfect use and with typical use.
Did you know that natural family planning is as effective as the contraceptive pill?
Plus, it can be really easy to do natural family planning when you use the hiMama monitor and app!
Added benefits of practicing natural family planning
If you still think those benefits aren’t enough, we have two really great ones to add to the list:
It’s easier to talk to your children about sex
If you practice natural family planning, the long awaited talk on “the birds and the bees” should be a piece of cake.
Couples with children who practice natural family planning have told researchers that the knowledged gained during the practice helped them to explain sexuality to their children… in the study, 85% of women and 82% of men expressed this positive sentiment.
You’re less likely to get a divorce
Fact or myth: couples who practice NFP have fewer divorces compared to couples who use alternative forms of contraception.
It is a fact!
So says a study based on a large data set of 5,530 reproductive age women used to determine the influence that contraception, sterilization, abortion, and NFP has on divorce rates.
“Among the women participants who ever used NFP only 9.6 percent were currently divorced compared with the 14.4 percent who used methods of contraception, sterilization or abortion as a family planning method. Frequency of church attendance also reduced the likelihood of divorce”.
hiMama’s symptothermal natural family planning is as effective as the contraceptive pill
Natural family planning does benefit your relationship and the symptothermal method is absolutely the best way to go about it.
You can track your ovulation using mobile apps and the symptothermal method has been proven to be the most effective in defining fertility windows. It has also been proven to have the same rate of unintended pregnancy as the contraceptive pill.
If tracking your body’s natural signs of fertility seems complicated or you worry about missing a day, we are here to help.
Let hiMama keep track of things for you.
The hiMama app (you can download it for free) is a great way to keep all of your information organized: including changes in your basal body temperature, changes in your cervical mucus as well as the exact date when your period begins and ends. Be it with our monitor, our calendar or by note taking, you will have all of your bases covered.
Read more on the effectiveness of natural family planning for avoiding pregnancy, here.
Got questions on how the hiMama symptothermal method works? Let us know!