Saturday, February 26, 2011

Natural Family Planning, the only method???

This panel was led by Monica Lambton, a Canadian volunteer who discussed the Billings Ovulation Method. In many countries alternate forms of birth control are unavailable or costly to most women. She stated that this method could be learned in two sessions and if followed correctly can be as effective as the birth control pill. As a consequence, women gain greater knowledge and control of their own bodies through this particular fertility management strategy. According to Ms. Lambton, natural family planning has no side effects and no cost, is immediately reversible, and can be used by nursing mothers. I find this method impractical because it would require women to keep strict schedules and they would still need to have another method of protection on the days when pregnancy is possible.
Often promoted by religious institutions in the Western countries, the Billings Ovulation method has been promulgated in developing nations such as China, India and the Philippines.

While it’s better to promote some kind of birth control than none, I would argue that these sorts of natural birth control do less to promote women and children’s health than they do specific religious and anti-abortion agendas.


  1. I definitely agree with you Fauzia. A semi-effective form of birth control is better than having no control whatsoever over one's reproduction, and might be practical where it is the only option. However, it can be highly impractical, especially in a context where women do not have the power to negotiate sexual relationships to not have sex when they are fertile. I also strongly disagree with Ms. Lambton's contention that it can be as effective as the hormonal contraceptive pill - maybe if you are comparing perfectly done "rhythm" method to imperfect, real-world Pill usage. But if you compare usage by real people, who make mistakes with the rhythm method and with taking their pills on time, the contraceptive pill is much more effective:

    thanks for this very interesting post!

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  3. I would disagree with Mariam. I use the Billings Method and find it effective but must follow the rules! which are 4 simple rules for Billings Method. Also, must take a certified class, have instructor guidance, and husband's support to increase the success rate. The Billings Method is not the Rhythm Method. To say they are the same is like saying the pill works the same as a condom. They are different forms of NFP and each have different rules. As one of the first NFP methods to give NFP a bad reputation, the Rhythm Method is not as reliable as other modern NFP methods since a woman's cycle can change due to stress and other factors. Yes, for NFP you do have to abstain on days you are fertile but that is why the word "natural" is in NFP: using your body patterns, for Billings Method it's cervical mucous, to determine when to have sex in order to conceive or not. The modern NFP has shown to have a success rate close to 99% with correct use. I find that this helps a man respect a woman's body more and also taught me so much about mine. I use it monitor my reproductive health (fixed my hormonal imbalance). Furthermore, teaches couples to show and connect in different ways other than through sex on days they can't do it. Surprisingly, couples who use reliable NFP methods have a divorce rate of 4% compared to the national average of 50%. Definitely not recommended for those who can't control their sexual emotions. But as a challenge, learning how to control strong desires is ironically liberating. If sex is so important and considering all these contraceptives are available to allow sex freely to "improve" relationships, there should be more happy, divorce free relationships. To me, this shows there are other aspects more important than just sex.