Though a bit counter-cultural nowadays, some people desire a big family. There are many advantages to having a lot of children; maybe the idea of a house full of little ones fills you with joy and excitement! Perhaps you don't plan to prevent pregnancy, remaining open to as many children as God blesses you with. If this is you, and you've stumbled accross this blog, you may be wondering if learning natural family planning has any merit. After all, you're not interested in avoiding pregnancy, why should you bother learning how to chart your fertility signs?
You may be surprised to hear that charting your cycle can have numerous benefits besides limiting family size.
Charting your cycle allows you to accurately date your pregnancies
When you arrive at your first prenatal appointment, one of the first things your doctor or midwife will likely do is to calculate your due date. This calculation is typically based on an assumed conception date of 14 days after your LMP, or last menstrual period.
This can be fairly accurate if you happened to ovulate and concieve around day 14, but many women don't. If your estimated due date is off by a week or two it might not seem like much, but toward the end of your pregnancy it could make a significant impact on care decisions. Charting allows you to pinpoint the brief fertile window in each individual cycle, giving you a more accurate due date.
Charting can help identify health issues.
A chart of your menstrual cycle and all your fertility signs does more than simply tell you the timing of your fertile window. Your chart is a direct reflection of your hormone levels and processes of your menstrual cycle. This can give you an enormous amount of information about what is going on in your body. Are you ovulating on a regular basis? Do you have a hormone imbalance? How is your thyroid doing? How is your body responding to stress? Your chart will give you many clues about these things, helping you navigate diet and lifestyle adjustments, showing you if you need testing, and more.
Charting can help you get pregnant.
Not everyone is able to get pregnant easily; for some, it's quite a struggle. By identifying your fertile window, you can accurately time intercourse to maximize your chances at concieving. For healthy couples, this can dramatically reduce the time it takes to concieve. For women with sub-optimal fertility, charting can help her and her doctor to identify the problem (see above).
Charting can help you space your pregnancies.
If you are someone who has a delayed return to fertility after having a baby, you may find yourself with children naturally spaced about two or three years apart. For others however, their fertility returns a few short months postpartum. Even those who desire many children may want a little more time between in order recover physically, preserve the breastfeeding relationship, or other reasons. Natural family planning can allow you to space your children out in a way that works for your family.
Charting can give you renewed confidence and knowledge about your body.
Learning about the menstrual cycle is a fascinating process. It can help you to have a renewed sense of joy and wonder in the capacity of the female body. It can help you to take an active role in your healthcare, give you confidence going into pregnancy and breastfeeding, and empower you to impart positive and useful information to your daughters about their cycles as well. It can aslo be a useful communication tool in your marriage, helping both you and your husband to understand the way the cycle can affect your emotions, libido, energy levels, and even your relationship.