September 26, Image: Shutterstock Sex gives natural pleasure. But it comes with a baggage called pregnancy. Children are a blessing for those who are ready to expand their family. However, not every adult having an active sex life would want a baby.
While there are several birth control measures you can follow, it is imperative to make your safe days calculation in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. MomJunction tells you how to calculate safe days to prevent pregnancy, the various methods involved in it and more.
A menstrual cycle is calculated from the first day of your period to the first day of the next period 1. Safe period is from day 1 to 7 and day 21 to the rest of the cycle, when you can have sex without worrying about getting pregnant.
This period will not be the same for all women as it depends on the length of the menstrual cycle. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days or a little less, but if your cycle is longer than 28 days, the safe period is not reliable. It is important to have an understanding of the three stages of the menstrual cycle to avoid pregnancy.
Stages Of Menstrual Cycle: Shutterstock The length of the three stages of menstrual cycle differ from one woman to the other and also from cycle to cycle, but the average duration would be 28 days 2. It occurs in between the days 2 and 14 when your body releases hormones that stimulate the eggs in the ovaries to grow. The hormones will also thicken the uterus lining to receive the fertilized egg.
This phase is controlled by Estradiol hormone 3. It occurs in the middle of your menstrual cycle where a mature ovarian follicle opens up to release an egg for fertilization.
It is the most sensitive phase where a woman has a great chance to become pregnant. It is the last phase, which begins after ovulation and ends either in pregnancy or in the next menstrual cycle. In this phase, the uterus lining turns thicker prepare for pregnancy. The luteal phase lasts from 10 to 16 days with the average being 14 days. But if it is less than 12 days, it is hard to become pregnant.
The length of the phase varies from woman to woman but usually remain consistent from cycle to cycle. The infertility period depends on the lifespans of both egg and sperm. In an average day menstrual cycle, ovulation occurs on the 14th day. For women whose cycle is between 26 and 32 days, it could occur anytime between 12th and 19th day. A sperm can remain alive for 3 to 5 days in the reproductive tract. Therefore, there is a high possibility to conceive if you have unsafe sex five days before ovulation time.
The egg remains alive for only 24 hours, and if the fertilization does not occur within that time, it will die away. You need to be careful while calculating safe period because doing it on your fingers or in the air could lead to wrong results. Remember that you must avoid sex or use condoms, cap, diaphragm or other contraceptive methods during unsafe days. Use these proven online calculating methods to know your safe days: This calculator requires you to know your menstrual cycle changes so that you can determine the safe days to have sex.
Know the safe period by entering the first day of your last period and the duration of your last menstrual cycle. It helps you find the safe and unsafe dates for having sex 4. You can use this method if the average length of your menstrual cycle from the past six months is between 26 and 32 days, and the variation between the shortest and longest cycles is seven days or less. But before calculating your safe period, consult your doctor to understand the effectiveness of natural family planning methods.
You cannot use this method if the average length of your menstrual cycle is less than 26 days or more than 32 days, and the variation between the shortest and longest cycles in the last six months is eight days or more. After childbirth, you can use this calculator only after six regular menstrual cycles. Teens and women reaching menopause cannot rely on this method. Fertility awareness, also known as natural family planning, is a way of predicting safe and unsafe days of your menstrual cycle.
These methods are usually based on certain signs your body gives in response to the hormones that cause ovulation 5. FAM are based on the below assumptions: One egg is released in each cycle. Egg lives up to 24 hours. Sperm lives up to six days and can fertilize an egg during this period. A woman will be fertile for almost six days before ovulation and two to three days after ovulation, so the total number of fertile days is seven to eight in each cycle.
The FAMs work by alerting you on your ovulation days. Once you know your days of ovulation, you can avoid sex or use a contraceptive to keep the sperms away from the vagina.
It will help you know the unsafe days that come before and after ovulation. You can track the fertility pattern, marking the days when you are fertile and days you are not. You should do it carefully as the pattern changes from month to month. You can also get test kits that help predict ovulation. They are very helpful in planning pregnancies.
However, you cannot completely depend on them to avoid pregnancies. If you have unprotected intercourse on a fertile day, then use an emergency contraception. It helps prevent pregnancy if taken up to five days after unprotected sex. The earlier you take it, the better it works. There are several FAMs to keep you away from unwanted pregnancy. They also assist you to track your fertility patterns when trying to conceive.
Basal Body Temperature Method: It depends on your body temperature, which you need to track every day to know when you ovulate. There will be a rise in temperature during ovulation. Cervical Mucus Or Ovulation Method: It involves checking the changes in the cervical mucus every day in the first stage of menstrual cycle until you ovulate. The vaginal discharge changes when you ovulate.
Calendar Or Rhythm Method: Here, you will chart your menstrual cycles on a calendar to predict ovulation based on the past cycles.
This is the most efficient method since it is a combination of all the above. It involves basal body temperature, mucus, calendar methods along with tracking cervix changes, abdominal heaviness, breast tenderness, slight spotting and mild abdominal pain. If your menstrual cycle falls in between 26 and 32 days for a long time, this method works to record your monthly periods and determine your fertile days. Here, your unsafe days will be 8 to Let us understand all these methods in detail: You will have low temperature in the initial phase of your menstrual cycle.
It increases slightly after you start ovulating. The body temperature remains high for the remaining part of the cycle. It falls again before you start your next period. Tracking your temperature day by day will help you understand when you can ovulate. You should not have unprotected sex for three days after ovulation so as to avoid pregnancy 6. BBT is your body temperature when you are at rest.
It differs from woman to woman but is usually between 96 and 98 degree Fahrenheit before ovulation and rises to 97 to 99 degree Fahrenheit after ovulation. Use a unique large-scale thermometer, which can mark 96 to degree Fahrenheit and is easier to read.
Rectal thermometers are more reliable than oral or any other types. How To Check The Temperature: Note your temperature every day in the morning before you get out of the bed. Make sure you do not talk, eat, drink, have intercourse or smoke before taking the temperature. Keep your thermometer for about five minutes and then note the reading.
Chart The Temperature Pattern: Over the days, you can observe a pattern in your temperature. The increase in the temperature may be gradual, sudden or intermittent. The pattern will differ from one cycle to another cycle.
The factors that may affect your pattern, i. Being upset, having improper sleep, stress, illness, smoking, jet lag, drinking excessively or using an electric blanket. You should mark all these events on the chart to understand the pattern. In the beginning, you may take the help of your doctor, family planning specialist or a nurse to read the graph. Make sure you chart at least three months before using this method to avoid pregnancy. The safe days are when the temperature is normal.
The unsafe days start on the day the temperature rises and last for at least three days.