It seems that natural is all the rage these days. All forms of media, from television programs to bestselling books tell us how to make your own natural everything – baby wipes, cleaning products, all forms of food, even clothing. “Organic” has become the new keyword for our culture. Perhaps trying to revive what past generations have done but has been forgotten by many.

Recently there have been more headlines in the media on the negative effects of unnatural chemicals in our bodies. We now look for additive free foods and cleaning products and try to watch what we put into and onto our bodies. I know many people who have given up their spray’n’wipe and washing powders in favour of making their own chemical free homemade products. The same applies to all forms of foods and beauty products. Its something I’ve tried to do myself. Heard the phrase “You are what you eat?”

Yet one, perhaps controversial, element people don’t think about when it comes to “all natural” is contraception. Contraception as a topic often comes with a taken for granted, “what is the alternative?” kind of conclusion. Artificial contraception, like the pill, isn’t natural and contains chemical hormones that studies have shown to have many side effects including blood clots, breast cancer, weight gain, mood swings and depression.

A recent revolution has happened in people avoiding using plastic bottles and cookware that contain Bisphenol A (BPA), due to the chemical being similar to the female sex hormone oestrogen. The consumption of BPA has been linked to increased breast and prostate cancer occurrences, altered menstrual cycles and diabetes. We have become more aware of hormones in our foods and so buy free range chickens and the like to avoid them.  If we go so far as to avoid plastic for similar side effects to the pill, why are people still keen to directly put chemical hormones into their body in the form of contraceptives?

The estrogen and steroid hormones from contraception have even gone to the extent of affecting the environment – the hormones are excreted in urine, go through the sewage system and out into the seas and waterways. This has altered the reproduction of fish (turning more female). With these hormones in drinking water, who knows what the effect is.

Natural family planning (NFP), which I’ve seen in media also referred to as Fertility Awareness Management, is becoming a real and more popular alternative to chemical contraception. I’ve heard of many mothers who have had bad experiences and side effects with typically prescribed contraceptives who are actively seeking a natural alternative. Since this has benefits of; working with the woman’s natural cycle, having the same or better success rates as artificial contraception (98% when used correctly) and encourages communication in relationships, it seems to make sense to those who explore it to be the best method to go in family planning.

It involves a woman learning about the natural signs of fertility in her body. It can be used by all women, no matter what their cycle length or stage of life (it can be used while breastfeeding, before menopause etc).  Although men are fertile all the time, women aren’t. God into us built in a natural cycle that we can use, with education, to advantage without having to chemically alter our fertility and bodies. The way it works is during fertile times to avoid pregnancy the couple would abstain. This is only maybe around about a week a month, different in everyone. And it makes the couple not take sex for granted and perhaps have better relationships and sex lives.

NFP also has the advantage of the couple knowing when they are fertile so when is the best time to conceive if they want to achieve a pregnancy. It also means that a woman gets to know her body well (knowing well when PMS or hormonal times come!) and can know when and if a problem or health concern happens so it can be treated quickly.

There are a number of different methods of Natural Family Planning. We have learnt 3 different methods ourselves to find a method that works accurately for us!

I hope that amongst the “natural revolution” in our society this area doesn’t get overlooked or forgotton. It is something to think about anyway. Because natural seems to make sense.

Where you can learn about Natural Family Planning:
Billings Method: http://www.woomb.org/centres/oceania.html
Symptothermal Method: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natural-Fertility-New-Zealand/123492907686831?sk=wall
Creighton Method: Contact me (method that we currently use and have found works best for us)

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