Questions about FAM/NFP

What's available, do's and don'ts.
proverbs_31_30

Postby proverbs_31_30 » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:41 pm

Thanks, princess_bear. I realized that there were differences between NFP and FAM, but I didn't realize that there were views on them saying that one was right and the other was wrong...

I'm probably going to have to read through your posts a few times before it makes sense to me... :] I'm still not totally in sync with all the 'lingo' so not everything makes sense, lol. I appreciate your answers, though, and I'm sure everything will come together once I do some more reading/studying.

Yes, I am on a hormonal birth control, btw.

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Postby Princess_Bear » Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:55 pm

proverbs_31_30 wrote:Thanks, princess_bear. I realized that there were differences between NFP and FAM, but I didn't realize that there were views on them saying that one was right and the other was wrong...


I'm hoping not to get flamed when I say this, but what you were reading this afternoon was probably coming from a Catholic point of view. NFP is, as I understand it, the only birth control method supported by the Catholic church, so naturally, they would see FAM, and the use of a barrier method as wrong.

I'm probably going to have to read through your posts a few times before it makes sense to me... :] I'm still not totally in sync with all the 'lingo' so not everything makes sense, lol. I appreciate your answers, though, and I'm sure everything will come together once I do some more reading/studying.


If you're interested in joining my engaged/newlywed Network, let me know. Our newlywed cut-off is married three months, but I'm the founder, and I've been known to bend the rules. :D I can PM you the link.

Yes, I am on a hormonal birth control, btw.


Thanks for the clarification. I can't remember if this is mentioned in the book or not, but I generally encourage women who are coming off hormonal birth control to use protection for at least three complete cycles before going unprotected after confirmed ovulation. That's just to allow their bodies time to adjust, as well as help them to get an idea of what they're doing when it comes to charting.

Fleur

Postby Fleur » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:35 pm

proverbs_31_30,

Princess_Bear is a great resource on this! Glad she explained things, as I'm rusty on the rules, having spent the last 6 months pregnant. (planned pregnancy, by the way.) Keep reading TCOYF, and it's especially helpful for your dh to read it too. Mine was better at remembering all the rules than I was. :oops: For someone just starting out, I would highly recommend tracking both temp and cervical fluid religiously, especially as you get a handle on your cycle.

NFP is the only birth control advocated by the Roman Catholic Church, and it is different from FAM in that barrier methods are forbidden for theological reasons. It's a topic that has undergone extensive discussion and debate on these boards in time past; if you're interested, I'm sure those threads are still around.

Dh and I practiced something close to NFP (except that we did have oral sex during fertile times) not for theological reasons but because we were not comfortable with barriers the first year we were married. Having done that for year, it's my opinion that it's unhealthy for a married couple to routinely abstain from intercourse during fertile times. It did not help our marriage or sex life, and I wish we had started using condoms right away. There are testimonials from NPF couples saying that it's positive for their marriage; personally, this was not the case for us.

Good luck!



:wave

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Postby Princess_Bear » Sun Nov 16, 2008 5:56 pm

proverbs_31_30,

One more question from me...

Did you get a CD with your book? If so, USE IT! The software is an invaluable resource.

Fleur,

Thank you for the compliment and congratulations!

PrettyRedHead

Postby PrettyRedHead » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:35 am

There is no reliable form of NFP that relies only upon checking temperature--the more symptoms you check, the more accurate it is--and cervical mucous is KEY because it is one of the key markers of fertility (clear, lubricative, stretchy mucous facilitates conception whereas cloudy, thick or non-existent mucous inhibits conception--therefore closer to ovulation the first kind of mucous is present). I wouldn't just check my temperature and count solely on that if you are trying to avoid pregnancy because temperature has a lot more variables to it that mucous does (maybe your body is fighting off a virus that you're not even aware of and it raises your temperature by a few degrees etc.) Mucous observation (not just looking at it but noting how it feels when you wipe when you use the toilette) is probably the most trusted symptom in NFP--I have never heard of anyone doing NFP without at least checking mucous observations.

PrettyRedHead

Postby PrettyRedHead » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:43 am

NFP is the only birth control advocated by the Roman Catholic Church, and it is different from FAM in that barrier methods are forbidden for theological reasons. It's a topic that has undergone extensive discussion and debate on these boards in time past; if you're interested, I'm sure those threads are still around.


This is true but also in some women, condom use affects mucous observation as the materials in most condoms can be in some way irritating to the lining of the vagina (I am like this--condoms make me terribly itchy and uncomfortable--even the non-latex kind)--also most condoms are used with a synthetic lubricant which can also irritate the lining of the vagina and can affect mucous readings. I am not Roman Catholic but the tenants of strict NFP (not FAM) do say that if you are using a condom and saying "I'm trying to avoid pregnancy" your actions are not totally matching up with your words as condom use is an "achieving-related action." (This is straight form NFP literature). Condom use with NFP is about 70% effective in preventing pregnancy. So, if you're open to an unplanned (by you) pregnancy then it's not such a big issue--in my case, at this time in my life on a scale of 1-5 (and they do use a rating scale and they do ask you this question) I am about a 1 or 2 in my comfort level of having an unplanned pregnancy. So, I just wanted to point out that there are other reasons for avoiding barrier methods with NFP rather than just theological concerns--they can affect the accuracy of your readings and if it is dire that you not get pregnant (as it is with me), it's important to take that into consideration. Other barrier methods (diaphragm for example) use spermicides which can also affect the quality of the mucous observations. The more "natural" you can keep it (as, in keeping foreign objects of of "there") the simpler making accurate readings becomes (usually). This is especially key with women who are prone to different things--like hormone imbalance, are breastfeeding or things like that where they have to be especially vigilant in their readings.

PrettyRedHead

Postby PrettyRedHead » Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:48 am

I'm hoping not to get flamed when I say this, but what you were reading this afternoon was probably coming from a Catholic point of view. NFP is, as I understand it, the only birth control method supported by the Catholic church, so naturally, they would see FAM, and the use of a barrier method as wrong.


No flaming needed but if you're referring to my remarks, no I am not anywhere near being Catholic. :D In fact the way we practice NFP really doesn't have anything to do with a religious conviction (other than one of the reasons we avoid the pill is there is a small chance of abortion associated with it--but even that is not our primary reason for me not being on the pill). I just know what the literature says and it makes sense to me so I want to share that. 8)

Fleur

Postby Fleur » Mon Nov 17, 2008 5:06 am

We didn't use barriers the first year of marriage for the same reason as you, prettyredhead -- I was not at all comfortable with the risk involved. However, I do believe that the success rate for condoms is much higher than 70% when used correctly and sized correctly. NPF as taught by the Catholic Church not only forbids barrier use, but also forbids any non-procreative sexual activity, e.g. oral sex. That's why I don't consider us to have used NPF that year -- rather I think of it as FAM without barriers. It's probably mostly just semantics, though -- I see your point.

proverbs_31_30

Postby proverbs_31_30 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:01 pm

I'm sorry if my comment upset anyone... I was just so shocked, I guess, to hear that those were the reasons that barriers were 'not to be used' by Catholics... I guess I didn't understand. My apologies if anyone was offended.

A 'friend' of mine [we aren't exactly on the greatest terms] asked today what I was going to be doing for birth control, because she knew I was weighing out choices in the past. I told her that I was planning on doing FAM, and she totally jumped on me! "You know how many people get pregnant on that?!" I told her that I knew it probably wasn't going to have 100% success rate necessarily, but that if it's done correctly, it should have a pretty high success rate. "I just looked on the FDA website-- it's only 75% effective! You're going to end up pregnant!" *eye roll* I told her that although we would rather avoid having a child RIGHT now, it would NOT be a terrible thing at all if I got pregnant. "Well, you better know what you're getting yourself into! It's your choice, [why, thanks; I'm glad for your permission...] but just know what I told you... I don't want to have to say 'I told you so...' "

:roll:

Is the 'success rate' really that low, or is that just because people aren't doing it correctly?

I think I just get discouraged too easily. One person questions what I'm going to do, and *I* start questioning! This is something DH and I have prayed about, I feel totally at peace with... I need to stop listening to negative comments from people...

I just ordered a BD basal thermometer off of Amazon. Is there anything else I should purchase to get ready for this? How do most people do the charting? Is buying the TCOYF software really worth it?

I'm also looking at buying condoms online... I'm allergic to latex, so I'm really limited to really only two options that I know of... Trojan Supra and Avanti Durex. Any suggestions? Would a diaphragm be easier/more cost effective?

PRH, were you practicing FAM and that's how you found out that condoms irritated you? Or have you steered clear of barriers altogether? You said that anything un-natural can change/affect mucous readings. Is this something you have noticed?

Fleur, no, I didn't get the cd with the book. I got it at the library. I would like to purchase it for myself [or ask for it for Christmas, hehe]... is it [the book/cd] something that is good to have on hand for when future questions come up [so I don't always have to harass you guys!], or is it something that isn't too much of a need to own?

Princess_Bear, I'd love to get the link for that network if you think it would be beneficial :D

Sorry for all the questions... I'm not finding too much information on the web pages I am looking at! :] I appreciate all of you...

Fleur

Postby Fleur » Tue Nov 18, 2008 2:34 pm

At one time I was very well-informed about the failure rate and statistics, but alas, I haven't looked at all that in a few years, so I'll wait for Princess_Bear to show up. :mrgreen: I can tell you that we would not have decided to use FAM if we had thought our success rate would only be 70%!

On a purely non-scientific, anecdotal note, I know quite a few couples in real life who have used FAM, and there have been several accidental pregnancies. In every case, it was because the couples broke the rules. Either the woman had deluded herself into thinking that she was infertile due to irregular cycles or the couple decided to be risky. FAM relies heavily on user self-control; if this is difficult for you and hubby, you'll have a hard time making FAM work.

As for the cd question -- I don't think that was me. I've never used the cd before.

It's so hard when friends attack your personal choices. Don't let it get to you, though; most people have no idea how FAM works -- they equate it with the old rythmn method, attacking it without having all the facts.

proverbs_31_30

Postby proverbs_31_30 » Tue Nov 18, 2008 3:13 pm

Ahh I love that you guys are so prompt and available :P Haha.

Oops; that was Princess_Bear who asked about the cd. P_B, my question goes to you, then, about the cd/book! :D

I think [I KNOW] that I will be okay doing FAM. Once I get it ALL figured out, that is :] That's why it was so confusing for me to have my friend question my decision.

Apparently, "We can't talk about babies, family planning or birth control ever again for the rest of our lives. Goodbye."

*sigh*

But thank you for putting my mind a little bit at ease, Fleur :]

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Postby Princess_Bear » Wed Nov 19, 2008 12:39 pm

Proverbs,

My mother and my SIL both told me to go on the pill for the first year of our marriage. I didn't, and we used FAM, with me checking both cervical fluid and my temperature. My aforementioned SIL and brother were using a cervical fluid only method, and they are now pregnant with #2 in 2 years. Bottom line is, the more signs and symptoms you chart, the more accurate your ability to figure out when you ovulated will be.

If you have the money, I would definitely recommend purchasing the book from Amazon.com. I still refer to it from time to time.

The TCOYF software is amazing. I think I would go crazy without it. Most of the women on the TCOYF boards use it, or fertilityfriend.com. If you have PC (as opposed to a Mac), I would recommend getting the TCOYF software (you can download it from the website), as it is much more pregnancy-avoidance friendly than fertilityfriend. You can chart by hand, but I've heard that gets messy quickly. If you tend to be less-detail oriented, definitely go for the software, and let it do the thinking for you. I do have to caution you though, that you need to remember that YOU are smarter than whatever software you are using. If you do decide to get the TCOYF software, I can help you set it up for the trying to avoid (TTA) settings.

Naturalamb condoms are another option. They are not made of latex. I think they tend to be a little on the pricey side, though.

I'll PM you the link to the Engaged/Newlywed Network's Trying to Avoid group!

*ETA* PM sent!

swedishmaiden

Postby swedishmaiden » Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:18 pm

I've been missing out on this conversation, but one thing I wanted to say, proverbs_31_30, is that checking cervical fluid gets easier over time. When I started out charting, I did it mostly based on my temps. It meant using the barrier more, but I started using it a couple days after my period and quit using it two (or three?) days after I ovulated. Over time, I got more familiar with my cervical fluid and it got easier to tell how close I was to ovulation and what was cervical fluid and what was left over from LMing the night before. :wink:

Personally, I don't use the TCOYF software. I do tend to be a more tech-y computer person, but it's so much easier for me to keep my chart in my nightstand and just mark my temp each morning. I photocopy the chart in the back of my book and just use that. It's fun to mark down my CF fluid and watch my cycle progressing, and mark down whenever we have sex. We always look back at my chart and say, "Hmm...we were pretty stressed that month, not much sex" or "Wow, we were active, huh?" :lol:

I was just re-reading through the posts and finally looked at this link. It says that it has to be inserted 15 minutes prior to sexual arousal... is that difficult to do? How expensive are they? I don't have insurance [other than major medical] so it would be an out of pocket expense. I read that they are re-usable; but have not been able to find out for 'how long they last.'

No, it isn't that difficult. :) It's much easier than I expected - I can tell pretty quickly when it's covering my cervix. It took a little practice, but not much.
As for cost, technically, you have to get a prescription from your doctor. But a friend sent me a link for purchasing it online w/o a prescription and I believe I paid maybe $75? And it lasts for one year, according to the directions that came with it. So it's really not that expensive.
I'm only on my third cycle of using the FemCap, so accuracy is one thing I suppose I can't speak for, from personal experience. :P

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Postby Princess_Bear » Wed Nov 19, 2008 9:27 pm

swedishmaiden wrote:We always look back at my chart and say, "Hmm...we were pretty stressed that month, not much sex" or "Wow, we were active, huh?"


We do that too! The TCOYF software uses little hearts to mark intercourse on the chart, and DH always says "You need more hearts on your chart!". ::lol

proverbs_31_30

Postby proverbs_31_30 » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:42 pm

I just downloaded the 15-day trial version of the TCOYF software. I'm gonna try it out and see how it works for me :] It specifically said that this was not for avoiding pregnancy... but aiding in conception. Princess_Bear: how can we set it up for TTA? I'd love your help on that!

I also bought the BD basal thermometer. Got that in the mail yesterday. Whoo. I finally feel like I am 'getting' this thing. Maaaybe :]

Swedishmaiden: I'd like to look into the FemCap a little more... you don't happen to have the link still, do you? I don't have insurance [except for major medical] so everything is super expensive for me... not sure if that is supposed to be 'passed along,' but if it can be, please send it my way :]

So I'm gonna give this software a trial run for the 15 days... [maybe I should have downloaded it in the morning so today would not have gotten counted... shoot...]-- we'll see how it goes! I also need to figure out what we are going to use as a barrier. We planning on starting FAM officially on December 14th because that's when I get my next period... and I believe I read it's easier to start on that day [?].

Thanks again for all your help... time to go bury myself in the book and learn the software... :D

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Postby Princess_Bear » Tue Nov 25, 2008 2:54 pm

Proverbs,

Yay!! Good to hear from you again! :D Here's the settings I recommend...

"Click on Edit, Preferences, Calculations, and make sure that you have your signs to use set to Temperature ONLY, with Fertility Signs set as your primary sign. (Note: to edit, you will need to unlock the padlock.)

Now change to the Temperature & Time tab and uncheck the box next to "Permit disturbed temperatures in the thermal shift."

Change to the Cervical Fluid tab and make sure "Use Dry Day" and "Override fertile calculations" and not checked. Make "Length used in day counting" "Shortest." And finally, make sure you dry up days count is set to 4. Click Apply."


Once you've gotten a few cycles under your belt, then change the first setting to "Temperature and Cervical Fluid". Your cervical fluid might be a bit wacky coming off the pill, so it's best to exclude it in the calculations at first.

Hope to see you in the Engaged/Newlywed Network soon! :wink:

*ETA* Have you been recording your temperature yet? If so, you can put that in already as far back as you have record of. Just click on the Calendar tab on the left side.

proverbs_31_30

Postby proverbs_31_30 » Sat Nov 29, 2008 4:22 am

Princess_Bear;

This is my 4th day charting... 4th day taking a temperature.

I haven't signed up for the network yet! I will try to do that today.

I'm not sure I understand the "rule of thumb." I have a thumb covering a temperature on my chart and I don't remember exactly what the book said... I didn't totally understand the book anyways [ gonna find that part again and re-read it, but if anyone wants to try and explain it to me, go for it... :) ]

Also, the first two days, the "time" I took the temperature showed up on the chart, but these last two days, no time has showed up... any reason why that might be?

I like that the computer program does everything for me, but what stinks about that is that it does things I don't understand, and then I have to go searching for what it means! :P

I don't think I ever heard from anyone the effectiveness rate of using condoms as barriers during fertile periods. Does anyone know the statistics? I think we will probably use those... I remember reading that using any barrier with a spermicide will probably alter the cervical fluid and I think mine is already going to be crazy enough with coming off the pill.

I'm going to be working maybe one overnight shift a week... first one is on Sunday... what do I do with that, and when should I take my temperature? That whole section on the time change and traveling made my head swim.

Gotta go to work... :wave

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Postby Princess_Bear » Sat Nov 29, 2008 8:21 am

Proverbs,

Looking forward to seeing you in the Network!

1) The time is showing up on your chart because it is different than the time that you've given (or maybe haven't changed) the s/w as your temping time. When you open up the screen/box thingy where you put in your temperature, there's a box that says "Time:". What time is in that box?

2) The Rule of Thumb can be disabled. Do it like this: Edit-->Preferences-->Temperature and Time-->and then uncheck the box that says "Use Rule of Thumb to eliminate false highs". That should take it away.

3) Once you've registered for the TCOYF boards, click the "Upload" button on the chart view. When you've joined the Network, I'll be able to view your chart and help you out a bit better.

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Postby BelovedsLover08 » Fri Dec 05, 2008 4:27 pm

Wow Proverbs, I just read this entire thread from where I'd left off when it was still just one page. Good questions! I'm going to have to be sure and refer back to this if/when we actively start the TCOYF stuff ourselves. It's like a totally new language, isn't it?

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Re: Questions about FAM/NPF

Postby TheHippieWife » Sat Aug 13, 2016 1:19 am

Maybe this is a silly question, but I've read things about FAM and NFP and thought it was very complicated but I'm interested. I have trouble deciding what my cervical fluid is like, although there are times I notice a lot and it's wetter, and times I notice that I'm pretty dry. Don't think that that is specific enough to avoid pregnancy lol I thought I remembered seeing something about a device that could check what my fluid was made of (like what the hormone levels were) and tell me if I was fertile or not. I am getting married in a couple months and I'd like to never go on the pill, but we really don't want children for a few years. If there is a device like that I could get, I'd really like to have it because I feel like it would help me in all of my natural avoidance of pregnancy


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