Archive for the ‘Sympto-Thermal Method’ Category

Natural Family Planning: The Value of the Temperature Sign

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Here  are some benefits pf using the temperature sign during a woman’s fertile years:

Is a one-minute sign.  Does not take all day to observe.

Provides 99% certainty of pregnancy and saves the test of a pregnancy kit.

Tells you when pregnancy has not occurred.

Tells you when your period is about to start.

Tells you when a very fertile-looking mucus patch was not associated with ovulation.

Tells you when you have irregular shedding.

Identifies a double mucus patch.

May inform a woman that she is sick or has a special situation even if she feels fine.

May give her a clue as to why she hasn’t conceived.

Gives a clear indication of post-ovulation infertility, so much so that one particular type of thermal shift has been found to be equivalent to sterilization.

Gives a good indication of the end of pre-ovulation infertility, thanks to Dr. E. K. Doering.

Works well for a cycling breastfeeding mother.

Gets the husband involved whether trying to conceive or avoid.

Is very objective and easy to learn.

Unfortunately, some persons say things about the temperature sign that are mistaken.  For good instruction on temperature-taking and answers to some common misunderstandings, read Chapter 3 in Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  A good basal digital thermometer is recommended at the NFPI website.

Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach

Natural Family Planning: Teaching the Two Internal Fertility Signs

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Persons we corresponded with were influenced by the work of Dr. Edward F. Keefe.  Over 40 years ago, two breastfeeding mothers corresponded with me about how helpful the cervix sign was in determining the return of fertility during breastfeeding amenorrhea.  At that time I had published (in mimeograph form) the first edition of Breastfeeding and Natural Child Spacing.  Because of this book, the mothers wanted to share their experiences with me.  One of those mothers conceived once without a period during breastfeeding amenorrhea.  In another breastfeeding experience, she found the cervix sign invaluable in determining the return of fertility with her nursing 15 month old baby.  Again her fertility returned during breastfeeding amenorrhea, but she observed the return using the cervix sign.  She was charting the mucus sign but the cervix sign was more helpful at that time.  As a result of my correspondence with those mothers, we felt obligated to teach the cervix sign.  These mothers were influenced by Dr. Keefe’s work.

John and I taught the cervix sign and the internal mucus exam when we first started teaching NFP in 1971.  These two fertility signs were taught in our first teaching manual, The Art of Natural Family Planning (1972).  I remember years ago being at an NFP gathering when the women began discussing how great the internal mucus exam was.  One woman did not know where she was in her cycle, tried the internal mucus exam and found it to be very helpful. She was raving about this sign and got the discussion started.

I encourage other couples who have a sufficiently serious reason to postpone pregnancy to consider learning these two signs, the internal mucus exam and the cervix exam.  These signs can be learned and then used during difficult times when needed.  These internal exams or signs are optional, yet very helpful. For those interested in learning all the fertility signs, including the internal mucus and the cervix signs, read Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach.  The manual is in an easy-to-understand question-and-answer format.

Sheila Kippley

Natural Family Planning: The Cervix Sign, a Valuable Fertility Sign

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

The last NFP conference I attended (2010) lasted several days.  My one disappointment, even surprise, was that none of the speakers mentioned the cervix sign, even when discussing the use of NFP during difficult times. Nor was the internal mucus exam mentioned.  See last week’s blog on the internal mucus sign.

As I mentioned last week, Dr. Edward Keefe at first taught the mucus sign at the vulva “but it was insufficient, inconstant, and lagged behind the true state of the ovaries according to my patients.  Most of them had been ‘rhythm-failures’ many times over and they demanded perfect results.”  So he began having his patients obtain the mucus with their fingers at the source, the cervix.  Soon his patients were describing changes in the cervix which they observed while doing the internal mucus exam.  That is, the women noticed that the cervix was higher and more open and softer when the mucus was most abundant and stretchy.

Dr. Keefe studied their observations for more than 10 years.  The women could not understand why the cervix sign was not given more publicity.  I feel the same way.  Why is the cervix sign ignored by many experts in the field of natural family planning?  The internal mucus exam, discussed in the previous blog, is likewise ignored by many in the NFP field.

John visited Dr. Edward Keefe twice at his home after the doctor retired, the last time just a few months before he died.  We are grateful for his work and interest in helping couples determine their fertile and infertile times.  In addition to his practical research on the cervix and the internal mucus exam, he developed the Ovulindex thermometer which was used by many couples practicing NFP.  It is no longer available, but I’m sure there are a few of us who still have one stored somewhere even though we no longer need it.  (Quotation from Coverline: “Recollections on Mucus Alone as a Fertility Sign” by Edward F. Keefe, M.D., Spring, 1975)

Both the internal mucus sign and the cervix sign are taught in the NFP International manual highlighted below.

Sheila Kippley
Natural Family Planning: The Complete Approach