According to the NEW OUR BODIES OUR SELVES (Boston Women's Health Collective, 1984), this method can be "extremely effective when taught carefully, understood thoroughly, and used correctly." The collective estimates that the theoretical failure rate of the method is between .5 to 13.1 percent, with the actual failure rate ranging from 4.5 to 34.4 percent. The higher failure rates are due to either not using the method or using it incorrectly. This method of birth control is of course 100 percent natural with no side effects and minimal costs.
Some women find it difficult to detect their mucous changes or to be disciplined enough to chart their temperature daily. It is important to know yourself well and to have the co-operation of your partner before you rely solely on this method of birth control. In addition, in order to learn this method well, it is usually necessary to have a good teacher or group of women to learn from.
One In Seven Couples Have Trouble Getting Pregnant
Under ideal conditions, with a normal fertile couple, only 42 percent of a woman's cycles will result in pregnancy. This means 58 percent of her cycles won't result in pregnancy.
Infertility or difficulty conceiving after one year of sex without the use of birth control now occurs in one in seven couples. In the past, infertility investigations were not even begun until a couple had been infertile for five years.
Ninety percent of the time the cause is a physical one. Thirty five percent of the time the cause is found in the man, 35 percent in the woman and 20 percent of the time the cause involves both partners. In the remaining ten percent the cause is unknown.
Among the 35 percent of infertility due to the female component, 20 percent are due to irregular ovulations, which are often accompanied by limited or poor quality cervical mucous. Charting mucous and temperature, as well as attention to nutrition and vitamin supplementation may be very helpful for this group of women. Other natural treatments such as acupuncture or homeopathy may also increase fertility in some women. Ovulation prediction tests that pinpoint ovulation can be used as additional aids.
If a woman is not ovulating at all, she may have to undergo treatment with certain drugs or hormones to induce ovulation.
The other 80 percent of female causes of infertility are due to damage to the tubes or ovaries caused by infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia or conditions like endometriosis. The use of IUDs has substantially increased the risk of serious pelvic infections with resultant scarring and infertility. For women under 25 who have more than one sexual partner, chlamydia is the number one cause of scarring of the tubes and infertility.
Infertility resulting from damage to the tubes may necessitate some form of corrective surgery. Infertility due to male causes is more difficult to treat, but can occasionally be helped by leading a more healthful lifestyle, by vitamin supplementation and by improving the diet. Surgery may also be helpful for some men.
Age Makes Pregnancy More Challenging To Achieve
Women over 35 who are having difficulty getting pregnant may find charting their cycles particularly useful. After 35, depending on general health, diet, and lifestyle, a woman's fertility may begin to decrease by up to 30 to 45 percent. Women with decreased fertility may have less mucous or more irregular ovulations.
Men over 35 may have a reduced sperm count or poor motility of sperm. For older couples, a good understanding of how their fertility works is very helpful for proper timing of sex, as well as reassuring, because they know more of what is going on and feel more in control of the situation.
Timing Is Everything When You Are Trying To Get Pregnant
If a man doesn't have enough sperm or the sperm he has are slowly moving ones, and/or a woman has little or poor quality mucous, then it may be helpful to know the precise time of ovulation.
Ovulation prediction home test kits that detect the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge are a helpful addition to BBT and mucous observations.
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