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  1. Father's Day Special: Getting Your Husband To Agree To NFP (from the archives)

    21.06.2015 17:06


     

    If you're interested in natural family planning, or have been dreaming about going off hormones   but the thought having that conversation with your partner send you into a mild panic attack This is the blog post for you. 

    Because you are not alone. In fact, fear of your partners reaction this is one of the top reasons women claim they can never go off hormones.


    Unfortunately, we can’t say that there is a quick fix solution or offer you magic fairy dust to sprinkle on your husband to make him open to the possibility. Actually though, the first step towards a NFP boils to a simple factor: joint knowledge and communication. We all know communication is the foundation of every lasting relationship and communicating effectively about sex is extra important. And extra difficult. But because communication is the foundation of NFP, just look at this conversation as the first step in your journey towards a deeper connection as a couple. The show starts right now.

    From middle school sex ed, all the way through marriage, most men view contraception as primarily a women’s problem. She ovulates and gets her period, she takes the pill, she represses her fertility, and she takes care of business to insure “worry free” sex.

    But where is the honesty and communication in that equation? The relationship, the ‘WE’ of the intense bond of a sexual relationship, is mitigated by eliminating the need to discuss the aspect of fertility and sex. 

    Sex is a powerful and intimate experience, one that is constantly changing and evolving, and should be a central discussion in any committed relationship. But in all honesty, it’s just not that easy to communicate lovingly and sensitively about the topic of sex. And the longer we can go without mentioning it, the more we tend to fall into repetitive, perhaps negative, habits.



    Many women think that their husband or partner will push aside the idea of NFP as a contraceptive method, but in fact, once men gain the knowledge and are explained the logic of an alternative method, they can see the appeal and agree that it might be time for a shift.

    Your partner wants the best for you. He wants you to be healthy, happy, and secure. He wants to be involved and invested, willing to look at fertility as a ‘OUR issue’ instead of ‘YOUR issue. Remember — you are in a loving, mutually respectful relationship. No husband wants his wife to be exposed to harmful chemicals that have short term side effects and potential long term health hazards.


     And above all, both you and your partner want to develop the art and language of positive communication. A discussion about NFP and birth control is only the first step in a wondrous journey of communicating effectively. Because after all, if you can make communicating lovingly about sex a habit in your marriage, you’ll be able to communicate lovingly about just about anything else. 

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-krYhvuGMDXc/Ug0WIDRu8TI/AAAAAAAAAI4/l3FV0007iZ4/s1600/logo_lifefertilitycare_100_pink.png 
    With Special Thanks To Ira Winter RN MSc BSc CFCP at Life FertlityCare
    To learn more about the benefits of NFP visit http://lifefertilitycare.co.uk/ .

  2. Diaphragms 101

    27.01.2015 09:01


    As awareness grows about the dangers of  hormonal birth control, more women are looking to barrier contraceptives as an alternative contraception method. Although diaphragms were once almost pushed into oblivion, a growing trend is moving back towards this often overlooked hormone free birth control solution. 

    Milex OmniFelx Diaphragm
     The traditional diaphragm is shaped like a dome with a spring molded into the rim and is made of silicone or soft latex. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vaginal canal to block sperm from entering the cervix. A spermicide or alternative contraceptive gel placed around the perimeter of the diaphragm to helps insure a tight suction and to seal any openings that sperm could get through. 

    According to contraceptive technology, the method failure rate of the 'traditional' diaphragm used with spermicide is 6% per year. Thats a whopping 94% effectivness! 

     However, annual pregnancy rates of 10% to 39% of diaphragm users have also been reported.The large variation in statistics is a result of the high risk for user error with a diaphragm.
     

    Diaphragms are not hard to use, but they must be used correctly to be effective. This is not a set it and forget it birth control. Sizing is critical, and you must be measured by a doctor or qualified health practitioner. Sizing of the vaginal canal does change, so if you gain or loose a significant amount of weight, or if you give birth, it's important to be refitted. 

    Another factor in correct use is placement. Have your doctor show you the proper placement so you can get used inserting it correctly. If you take these steps, there is no reason why you should not enjoy high efficiency with a a diaphragm. 

    Diaphragms, unlike cervical caps,  are equally effective for women who have given birth as they are for women who have not. So if you are breastfeeding and want to avoid hormones, a diaphragm is the way to go. 

    Caya Diaphragm
    Caya Diaphragm
    The Caya diaphragm is the newly designed 21st century diaphragm that is making waves around the world. It is FDA,EU, and Health Canada approved is enabling more women then ever to finally make the switch to hormone free birth control. It is made of thinner yet stronger materials, has a more flexible frame, and a radically different shape that makes it easier to insert and remove.

    Caya is suitable for women who would use diaphragm sizes 65mm-80mm. It is important to be measured to make sure you fall within that size range. If you do, Caya eliminates the need for frequent resizing. 

    Like all other diaphragms, Caya must be used with a spermicide or contraceptive gel. 

    Many women and their partners experience side effects from Nonoxynol-9 spermicide, and some sources have suggested the spermicide may actually be unnecessary. Studies on this matter however, are greatly lacking. One study reported a 24% rate of actual pregnancy per year among women using the diaphragm without spermicide. But the women in this study were not fitted individually by a clinician and were instead all given a 60mm diaphragm— so these results are obviously unreliable.  

    Unfortunately, there are not enough studies that accurately assess the importance of a contraceptive gel. Our recommendation? This is one area where it's not worth risking it. Always use your diaphragm with a contraceptive gelfor maximum protection.

    If you don't want to expose yourself to the toxic ingredients in N-9 spermicides, or if you experience irritation, ContraGel is an all natural spermicide gel alternative. 


    Natural Spermicide Alternative

    Using diaphragms has been known to increase the risk of contracting urinary tract infections (UTIs). Urinating before inserting the diaphragm and also after intercourse may reduce this risk.  The increased risk of UTIs may be due to the diaphragm applying pressure to the urethra, which is common if the diaphragm is too large. Additionally, Nonoxynol-9 is itself associated with an increased risk of UTI, so if you are prone to UTIs, use ContraGel in place of spermicide.

    A very rare side effect of diaphragm use is toxic shock syndrome. This occurs almost exclusively when the diaphragm is left inside the vagina for over 24 hours.

    Those allergic to latex or who's partners are allergic to latex should choose a silicon diaphragm, such as the Milex OmniFlex. 

  3. The moon does it. The sea does it. The trees do it. The seasons do it. — And we do it too.

    30.12.2014 09:12

    How did you feel the first time you noticed that streak of blood on your underwear or toilet paper. Did you feel scared, empowered, surprised or perhaps guilty? Who was there to help you? Was it your mother? Was it your father? Sister? Teacher? How has  your attitude towards menstruation changed in the years and cycles that have past.

    It's a day in the life of every women, a spark of connection between race, class and age. We all get our periods, and once a month, we have an opportunity to connect with our bodies and ground ourselves in the rhythmic cycles of nature.

    But our attitudes towards menstruation are not always so straightforward. Many of us have traumatic memories associated with that first flow, and cramps, mood swings, and a general feeling of uncleanliness do nothing to help repair our self image. Some choose to medicate their periods away all together with synthetic hormones. Most just dutifully except this as part of fate, and we go about our business, dreading its arrival and counting down the days until it is over.

    But have you ever stepped back and wondered what the point of it all is? And I'm not talking on a scientific level, that we all learned way back in elementary school. We've all watched that video explaining the shedding of the uterine lining, and were probably told by our mothers that this signifies a change in status. You are a women now.

    But on a holistic level— what can we learn about ourselves from the process of menstruation? How can it help us advance in our lives? What can our monthly process of menstruation teach us?

    I don't think their is one clear answer. The answer will be different for each women. For myself, I've begun tap into menstruation as a message that it is ok to slow down.

     We live in a fast paced world that just keeps getting faster. We are moving up the ladder in the corporate world, making connections and advancements that enrich our lives and bring unprecedented opportunities to women. We nurture our children, carefully choosing the best schooling, food and extra curricular activities to suit their individual personalities. We  exercise, get together with friends, and even go on vacation once in a while.

    But within all our advancements, and all the multitasking we so excel at, the need to slow everything down has been swept away. Nature teaches us about the innate process of waxing and waning. The moon does it. The sea does it. The trees do it. The seasons do it. And we do it too.

    Part of my journey towards in becoming a more compassionate, content and passionate person has been using reusable menstrual products like cups and sponges, so that I can actually tap into the natural process of my body. I've learned no to be squeamish about my femininity. Reusables give me the control that can only come with  familiarity, and the insight to know how to sit back and enjoy the process.

    What has menstruation taught you? How is your attitude effected by your parents approach toward your first period? How do you feel when that time of month begins? And what are you doing to improve your relationship with your femininity?

    Let me know. I'd love to hear from you.






    Click here to read some touching, but often sad stories about women's first periods. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/dec/27/day-i-got-my-first-period-menstruation-advice


    Click here to visit ethicalfamilyplanning.com and begin to get in touch with your body's natural rhythms, instead of altering them with medicines and hormones.  http://ethicalfamilyplanning.com/




  4. Unnaturally Absorbent Sanitary Products Are Harming Our Bodies

    20.11.2014 09:11

    You know those commercials that shows a women pouring a blue liquid onto a sanitary pad demonstrating just how much it can absorb? Sure, concocting some sort of man-made super absorbent material seems beneficial, but what exactly goes into that material? And what is it doing to our bodies?

    If you’ve started taking steps to detox your life and make holistic living a priority, its time to take a look at your feminine hygiene products. Pads and tampons are probably one of the biggest offenders, and considering we use them for so much of our lifetime, making a small change in how you manage your period will make a huge difference to your body and the world.

    To read more about the toxins in pads and tampons, click here http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/22/feminine-hygiene-products.aspx

  5. Beyond the LadyComp: Comparing Contraceptive Montiors

    06.07.2014 18:07

    How Contraceptive Monitors Make Your Birth Control Effortless

    Although most people are unaware of the fact, fertilization and conception can only occur during the 12 to 24 hours a women is ovulation. Add to that the five days sperm can 'wait around' inside the uterus for an egg to be released, and you have a short number of days, often called 'the fertility window,' during which sex can lead to pregnancy. Avoid sex or use a different method of contraption during the fertility window and you have simple, natural birth control.
    What stops more people from using this method? A big factor is effort. Although studies have shown tracking your cycle can be an extremely reliable method of birth control, the process of getting to know the biological mechanisms taking place with in your body — and then charting and graphing them — seems way too overwhelming.
    This is where contraceptive monitors come in. Simply stated, they make natural birth control virtually effortless.


    Persona: Introducing Test Stick Dependency

    Persona reviews and comparisonsThe Persona monitor was the first mainstream contraceptive monitor to rely on disposable urine test sticks to determine hormone levels. Hormones levels in urine rise and fall indicating impending ovulation and when ovulation has passed. When the urine sample stick is inserted into the device, your fertility status is displayed with a green or red light.
    Sixteen test sticks are used during the first ‘learning’ cycle', then about eight sticks are used across eight days in future cycles. The number of test sticks necessary may vary if there is a significant variance in ovulation dates, or if ovulation is not identified. Persona is said to have a 94% contraceptive reliability or a Pearl Index of six.
    The Persona Brand is actually owned by THE mega pharmaceutical company Procter and Gamble. They, of course, are looking to bring in big money, so while the persona contraceptive monitor itself is quite inexpensive, there is a catch. The continuous investment into test strips, like ink cartridges for an ink jet printer, steadily increase the actual amount you spend on the device.
    Cost: £65 for the device. £14 a month for test sticks. First 2 year cost: £401


    Clearblue: The Upgraded Test Stick Monitor

    Clearblue contraceptive reviews and comparisonsThe Clearblue contraceptive monitor is basically the good old Persona in a new shiny box with a very cool looking touch screen interface. It uses the same Persona test urine test sticks, has the same quoted 94% reliability, and even lights up with the Persona logo when it is turned on.
    In some countries, Clearblue is marketed as a fertility testing device to aid conception, and in others it is marketed as a contraceptive device. The same technology is used for both purposes.
    This contraceptive device uses 2 x AA batteries which we are told last for only 4-6 cycles due to having to power the touch screen, so the cost of that should be factored in to the over all expense of the computer
    Cost: £99 for the device. £20 a month for test sticks (based on £40 for 20 sticks). First 2 year cost: £579 plus batteries




    The Old and New Lady-Comp a.k.a Baby-Comp

    ladycomp and babycomp reviews and comparisonsThe Lady-Comp a temperature only contraceptive monitor. It has been around for about 25 years and uses BBT readings to identify ovulation. BBT is taken with the integrated thermometer, and fertile and non fertile days are calculated and displayed with red, green and yellow lights.
    Readings are required every day and no extra fertility indicators can be inputted. Its bright orange LED display can be seen in the dark, although this drains a lot of power and a monthly charge is necessary.
    A new Lady-Comp has been launched, also referred to as the Next Generation Lady-Comp. We haven’t managed to get hold of a device yet but we know it uses AAA batteries, therefore avoiding the need for the old charger and the hassle of changing adapters during international travel. It also now allows data to be transferred to a computer as opposed to the old version where you needed to send the monitor in to receive a print out back in the mail. The 99.3% quoted reliability suggests that the internals of the Lady-Comp have not changed, but the user interface has been upgraded.
    Cost: £425 for the old Lady-Comp. First 2 year cost: £425 plus batteries.


    The Pearly: Cute and basic

    cyclotest reviews and comparisonsPearly, is also produced by Valley Electronics, is touted as the mobile and economical version of the Lady-Comp. It is defiantly smaller and cuter than the original Lady-Comp which is quite cumbersome. The overall cost of the pearly is still relatively high for this limited type of device.
    The Pearly is a temperature only device, it requires daily BBT readings throughout the cycle, and does not allow for any other indicators to be imputed. It is quoted as having the same effectiveness as the Lady-Comp, but can store less data and can't be downloaded without mailing it in.
    With the Next-Generation-LadyComp being launched we will have to see if the pearly continues to be offered.
    An internal battery lasts for 2 years which can be sent in for exchanging with a small cost.
    Cost: £290. First 2 year cost: £290


    Cyclotest: Effective, Affordable, Versatile.

    cyclotest reviews and comparisons Were not going to hide the fact that Cyclotest is our favorite contraceptive monitor. Here's a breakdown of why.
    Sign up for an NFP course and they will teach you how to assess your fertility using the Symptothermal Method. Modern medical professionals insist that using just hormone tests or just temperature charts is not as reliable as using more then one fertility indicator. The Symptothermal Method, which uses both BBT alongside other indicators, is the future of NFP. Cyclotest is the only monitor on the market that allows, yet does not require, the to user to input cervical mucus observations and LH test results. This small yet significant difference blows all the other monitors out of the water.
    Apart from increasing accuracy, using another indicator is important if your sleep is disturbed resulting in a unreliable BBT reading. This is especially critical around around the time of ovulation when an inaccurate temperature reading could alter you projected fertility window.
    Cyclotest is also noteworthy because of the simple fact that it is affordable. Many contraceptive monitors come with an astronomical price tag, putting natural contraception out of the reach of the average consumer. Cyclotest is reasonably priced, and even better, it does not require test strips — so the low price remains low.
    The low price however does not affect the functionality of the monitor. It is 99% reliable, and the charts it produces can be downloaded via USB. It has a flexible and highly accurate thermometer and was awarded best fertility monitor by the German version of Which? magazine.
    Cost,: £149. £29 for the optional download software. First 2 year cost: £149


    Bioself: Retired With Honors

    cyclotest reviews and comparisonsBioself was a very 1970s looking brown-beige device that was actually a pioneer in contraceptive monitors. It used the very sound Symptothermal method of charting fertility, had a quoted 99% reliability and included an built in thermometer.
    The downloaded charts were available via snail mail. Bioself was even FDA approved, but sadly it never really took off in and production was stopped.
    The company ceased activities in mid 2013, although may still provide warranty support.