75 responses

  1. Adriana
    February 17, 2014

    Hi there,
    There is a great book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility and they also have a website where you can learn the fertility awareness method http://www.tcoyf.com. One minor note on what Sheila said above is that the egg actually lives only 24 hours but you can get pregnant if you make love with 6-7 days before ovulation because sperm can live that long in your body.

    • Sheila
      February 17, 2014

      Thanks for that, Adriana! I’ve actually read different things about how long sperm can last, so that’s interesting. I haven’t read that long a time span before. I think the point is just read as much as you can so you understand and are comfortable with when you’re fertile, and that way you won’t worry at other times! The more we understand about how our own bodies work, the better.

    • Kat Cuny
      February 17, 2014

      Second this book. It is AWESOME! :-)
      Seriously, it should be used in sex ed classes. It covers things in so much better detail, and would have saved me much grief as a teen wondering why I wasn’t having a period every 28 days, even though I was a virgin! (Answer, a) that’s a statistical average, not normal for every woman ever, b) cycles take a few years to settle in to a rhythm, c) I was so active)

      • Little Wife
        February 17, 2014

        YES! I would like to “third” this.

        FAM (the Fertility Awareness Method) can be used to achieve pregnancy, prevent pregnancy, or even just help you get to know your body better. It’s amazing, and wonderful and just… wow.
        Little Wife recently posted…{7 Quick Takes… er 5, actually} Valentine’s Day QuotesMy Profile

    • Sheena
      February 18, 2014

      I fourth this book! It’s really the best of it’s kind out there. They have support groups of all kinds too, even trying to avoid pregnancy groups and they offer a computer program to track your cycle too (as an alternative to using a paper chart).

  2. ButterflyWings
    February 17, 2014

    I must admit, this doesn’t apply to us – hubby has no problem with birth control and his lack of interest in sex means having sex during a fertile period is next to zero anyway. But I do know what it’s like to have a serious health problem. My first labour nearly killed me, the whole of my second pregnancy was extremely high risk (only finding out how dangerous it was during labour when the hospital that delivered my first child finally handed over the medical records, and only because I was trying for a VBAC and they knew it wasn’t safe and my baby and I probably would have died if they didn’t hand those records over) and knowing a third pregnancy could be even far higher risk. I also know that as soon as I finish breastfeeding, I need to go back on medications for arthritis that would seriously deform a baby if I were to fall pregnant. As I said, it’s not an issue for us – hubby is fine with birth control and between the lack of sex and the mess my reproductive system is in, it’s a miracle we even have our baby – there is next to no chance of having another even if we tried.

    But what about other women in a similar situation? on medications they must take, but knowing that they would cause massive severe birth defects. knowing that pregnancy could kill them (some unlucky are in the situation where pregnancy would definitely kill them). I’m a nurse, so I know there is only a small fertile window, but there are always exceptions, and new research has shown that sperm can live for up to 7 days, so that can potentially mean falling pregnant at least 7 days per cycle – and for women who have a short cycle (mine is 24 days and I know of shorter ones), that soon adds up, especially as some women have periods 7 days or longer.

    I mean, if there is no biological reason, I’m a firm believer in just saying yes to sex and if you fall pregnant, learning to overcome whatever emotional issue there is surrounding not wanting to fall pregnant. In that case, it’s fair enough to say “whatever God has happened, I’ll accept”. But if there is a biological issue, such as the mother or baby will be genuinely seriously injured/deformed or die, I think it’s fair enough to say to the man “no birth control = no sex”. I’ve seen what happens to babies born to women on the medication I’m on. The babies that make it birth, live short lives suffering terribly.

    If a man would insist on not using birth control knowing a pregnancy could seriously deform or kill his baby or wife, then it has to be ok to simply say no to sex altogether. I know it’s not common, but it is a real situation for some women.

  3. Roger C
    February 17, 2014

    One question I would have is WHY the husband does not want to use a condom. There are at least 3 reasons a) He is open to having more children b) He does not like contraception or the condom in particular c) He just doesn’t want to think about it but wants sex when he wants it.

    Obviously, reason c) is a very different situation than either reason a) or b). I would think that any man who suggests coitus interruptus is probably closest to b).

    Regardless, however, I think Shelia’s advice for the wife to educate herself about her cycle is the best first step. Both a man and a woman are left unsatisfied with the loving act is not brought to its full completion. Both of them will feel much more fulfilled when having full sex during the infertile periods even when they are trying to discern how to deal with the fertile periods.

    My wife and I use natural family planning (NFP) methods are are in full communion on this. A woman is really only very fertile for 2 days in her cycle and somewhat fertile for 5 days. There are definitive signs in her body (not just CALENDAR method) that tell her about this. I would really urge couples struggling with this issue to educate themselves about NFP and this web site (http://ccli.org/nfp/) is a great place to start.

  4. Lindsay Harold
    February 17, 2014

    While sperm can live for 6-7 days after sex, they are only capable of fertilizing an egg for 2-3 days. New sperm have enzymes that are used to break down the coating around the egg. After about 2 days, those enzymes have broken down and the sperm can no longer penetrate the egg to fertilize it. Thus, there are only about 4 days of a woman’s cycle where she can get pregnant (3 days before ovulation to 1 day after). And that’s a maximum that assumes healthy, numerous sperm and a long-lasting egg. Many eggs only last 12 hours after being released and many sperm only last 2 days after ejaculation. Of course, ovulation is typically a 24 hour window and you usually don’t know exactly when during that period the egg is actually released. Thus, to be safe, it might be good to use a 5 day period of no sex (3 days before the ovulation window, the 24 hour ovulation window, and then 1 day afterwards). It shouldn’t need to be longer than that unless there is a lot of uncertainty about when ovulation is happening.

    P.S. I’m a biologist and I teach Human Anatomy and Physiology, so that’s how I know this.

  5. Elizabeth
    February 17, 2014

    I just wanted to encourage the person who sent in the question that the “pull and pray” method CAN be quite effective IF your husband knows what he’s doing. My husband and I have used it for years with two *planned* pregnancies. It’s definitely scary at first, though! I realize there are probably other issues going on but I at least wanted to provide some slight reassurance that all is not lost. :)

    • Kelli
      February 18, 2014

      Same here. We have been using the pull out method for 9 years with one planned pregnancy that just so happened to be twins. Although I really don’t care if I get pregnant or not. I have learned to track my ovulation, and I just know when I’m fertile. We have even used the pull out method on my fertile days and it has worked for us. I hate the way condoms feel, and I hate birth control pills, so the only other option besides some kind of sterilization is the pull out method!

      • Knitted in the Womb
        February 18, 2014

        I’m glad the pull out method is working for you! I do want to mention though that you haven’t covered all of the birth control options in your list. There are various forms of spermicide that can be used–KY with spermicide, Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF), and foam suppositories. There are also diaphrams and cervical caps. These are all “per use” methods. IUD’s can be inserted (I’m not a fan, but they are an option) as well.
        Knitted in the Womb recently posted…The Word “Midwife” Should Have MeaningMy Profile

    • stephanie
      February 18, 2014

      I know full well that I’ll be angering people here but I can’t not comment and say that this is simply lust. This goes against the very sacredness of marriage and the marriage act. You want your priviledge without the obligation. Onan, in the Bible, was struck from Heaven for willfully “spilling his seed”. Marriage isn’t about free sex, or just getting what enjoyment we can. We have to control our our sexual appetites as we would our one for food. Its like a woman with bulimia who eats and eats and then throws it up – pleasure but not the result. You purposely frustrate God’s design and then “pray” that He’ll aide you in not being pregnant??
      One thing never seeming to be spoken of is that a huge means to marital happiness is conjugal restraint. We are counselled to learned moderation in all our other bodily tendencies, but sex is to be indulged without limit! Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE sex with my husband – but there must be maturity about this. There can be debauchery in the pleasures of married life just as in the pleasures of eating and drinking. Such excess is violating natures own laws and brings on its punishment in one way or another. Rational restraint, as in NFP if there is a grave need is a grave need, or even times of abstinence can actually do much to boost the marriage.
      I know Sheila doesn’t want this post being all about birth control in itself – but artificial always endangers marital happiness.
      And, yes, how about TRUST in God. He holds the heavens in His hands and has the hairs of our heads numbered – but He doesn’t know when to send a new life to our wombs?
      God bless you.

      • stephanie
        February 18, 2014

        PS – There were many typos in my comment. I do apologize if its hard to read, I was in a hurry before dinner!

      • ButterflyWings
        February 19, 2014

        Stephanie not all christians feel that way. In fact I’ve met, including myself, think natural family planning is anti-biblical. It is refusing sex and that is what endangers marital happiness. Especially as it is the wife who suffers most. When a woman is not using hormonal contraceptives, her fertile times are when she has the most biological desire for sex. To deny a woman that for the majority of her reproductive life is cruel.

        In many cases artificial contraception is what saves marriages and restores marital happiness.

        Sorry but I’ve seen waaaaay too many marriages destroyed by NFP (on both the husband and wife’s side of things) to agree that birth control is what endangers marital happiness. In 99% cases I’ve seen, it is NFP that endangers marital happiness.

        By the way, it has nothing to do with “restraint”. We’re not talking about people who want sex 24/7 (and there are some out there. NFP can’t be compared to not over indulging in food. What it can be compared to is not eating for a week every month. It’s unhealthy and is about denying a good thing God has given us.

        I agree with you that “pull and pray” is frustrating God’s design, but only EXACTLY the same way NFP does. Both involve refusal of sex – pull and pray involves denying the man the final enjoyment of orgasm, and NFP denies a woman sex during her biologically most desiring time. Both are unfair, both are denial of sex as God intended and both are far from fool proof and frequently enough lead to unplanned pregnancies.

        Anyway, you have your beliefs – just saying that not every christian agrees with your take. Some of us find NFP incredibly unbiblical.

      • stephanie
        February 19, 2014

        I would never recommend NFP as a way of life. It was put together to be used for limited times in cases of great need. The real plan of God was to for us to have the children He would send us. IF that is a danger to the woman’s life to conceive at all – that total abstaining is the only moral answer! Contraception cannot be argued to be right based on circumstance. The end never justifies the means. Wrong is wrong. IN that case, I would think NFP would be welcomed.
        NFP does take away a lot of the romance, as does any method to control God’s design.
        Also, whoever said it was all fair? Marriage isn’t about it always be fair or just, but the moral question must always be put first.
        S.

      • ButterflyWings
        March 20, 2014

        Stephanie so you honestly believe where pregnancy is a danger to the woman’s life, that the couple must be punished and abstain from having sex ever? What a way to let the devil in to destroy a marriage. Some rare gems of men may be willing to go without sex for life for their wife’s sake, but most will end up cheating or asking for a divorce (or both). As if chronically ill women suffer enough without having to add not being allowed to ever have sex and risk losing their marriage as well. And it’s not just for the mother’s health… many chronically ill women take medications that would seriously deform (and usually kill) a baby. NFP just doesn’t apply to “cases of great need” as it’s just too risky.

        I don’t think you understand… NFP is a type of contraception. It IS attempting to control God’s design. If a person is against contraception of all forms, then logically they would have to be against NFP. Otherwise they are just picking and choosing what forms of contraception they think are acceptable and which aren’t, and are ultimately choosing one of the least effective forms.

        You’re right… wrong is wrong, and many like myself believe NFP is wrong – those who are against all forms of contraception believe it is wrong because it is interfering with conception and others like myself believe it is wrong because it goes against God’s command to not deny your spouse except for time out for prayer.

      • klar
        February 22, 2014

        if marriages are being ruined by NFP then they are using NFP as birth control. Natural Family Planning is designed for people who for grave reasons cannot have a child. They are still respecting their spouse and not using him or her as an object. contraceptives on the other hand just make people objects and take out the main reason for sexual union! that is not the center of a healthy marriage. sex without contraception is a symbol of the marriage in itself. the man saying i am giving all of me to you and the women receiving which refelcts how are bodies are made.

      • stephanie
        February 22, 2014

        Very well, said. Thank you! That was put so nicely.
        S.

      • ButterflyWings
        March 20, 2014

        Klar NFP used to prevent conception by very definition IS birth control. It most certainly is NOT designed for people who for grave reasons cannot have a child because there is just too high a failure rate and it can be disastrous. It leaves some women faced with having to say goodbye to their child because their choice is genuinely continue the pregnancy and both themselves and the baby die, or just to have the baby die. I’ve had to support women who have had to make that choice, because they trusted NFP not to fall pregnant and it failed and now they have to live the rest of their lives mourning for their lost child.

        And it’s not just chronically ill women who are faced with death if they do not give up their child, it’s mothers who know they have a genetic condition or on toxic medications who rely on NFP and still fall pregnant and end up giving birth to a seriously deformed child who only lives for a few hours or weeks at best.

        NFP is the last form of contraception that should be considered for women in truly grave circumstances. There are other methods of birth control that do not cause abortions of embryos, ones with far less risk to mother and child than NFP.

        I’m pretty sure you must be reading some other bible than me, because the bible I read says nowhere that conception is the main purpose of sex. Otherwise infertile couples, and couples where the woman has gone through menopause etc, would be failing God by getting married. The main purpose of sex is to build up the intimacy between husband and wife. NFP shatters that – it means the man is denied sex for at least one week out of four (it would be one week out of three in our marriage due to a short cycle) and it means a woman is denied sex at the time of her month that she has the most desire. It is cruel and not healthy at all to be denying your spouse for a week every single month during the decades when desire is the most in both spouses. NFP goes against everything the bible teachers about not denying your spouse.

        Contraceptives make a person a sex object? you’ve got to be kidding. Next you’ll be saying any other man made invention like antibiotics is sinful too…

      • Ashley
        March 19, 2014

        Do you think God created hormonal birth control? Most of which can cause abortion.

        I think the second to last paragraph in this post is very important– God created our bodies.

      • ButterflyWings
        March 20, 2014

        Ashley two things – first, there are ones that don’t cause abortion. Christians need to do their research before using any form of contraception.

        Secondly, do you think God created antibiotics? or painkillers? anti seizure meds? insulin? etc…. Not directly. He did however give us these wonderful things called brains. And He gave us the physical building blocks (chemistry and biology with a little physics thrown in) to turn into medicines.

        I am one of those people who right now pregnancy again would be fatal to. We don’t use contraceptives – we are sadly using good old fashioned abstinence (not my choice) but there are always non-hormonal forms of birth control out there.

  6. Emily
    February 17, 2014

    Hi! I just wanted to say that I use http://www.fertilityflower.com/ and love seeing how beautifully designed our bodies are. Thank you for all you do, Sheila!

  7. Mrs. Mac
    February 17, 2014

    If your husband cares enough about God’s hand in your lives to “pull and PRAY”, he must recognize that God can influence outcomes of our actions. So he must recognize God’s sovereignty. By the context of the question, it seems that his prayer is not “Oh, God, your will be done”, but “Oh, God, I hope that my actions don’t cause me to have to bear any responsibility”. That is using the Lord’s name in vain: a plea for God to overlook self-centred interest.
    This method of birth control was used by Onan in Genisis 38: 8-10. Onan used the woman’s body for his pleasure, but refused to provide her with children. Read it to see what God thinks about the use of sex without responsibility.
    What a tough spot you are in! You and your husband have become one, but he doesn’t care for you as much as he cares for himself. Eph 5:25-33 gives Godly directions to husbands so they can “reset” themselves to honour their wives, and enjoy the blessings of a sacred marriage.
    There are a number of Jewish websites that may give you insight into how to space your children and enjoy an active, enjoyable sex life. Pray that the Holy Spirit teach you to be discerning.
    Ask your husband to pray with you about family planning that will honour God and a sex life that will be a pleasure and a joy for both of you.
    Blessings!

  8. Anonymous
    February 17, 2014

    In this situation, it sounds like they do want to have more children. They set a timeline of 2015 before trying again. Maybe the husband’s reluctance to use birth control is his way of saying he’s ready now? He may be afraid of rushing his wife who is clearly still hurting over their loss. Miscarriage is horrible. When I lost my first pregnancy at 7 weeks, not only did I mourn the loss of the baby, but it brought back the grief over the death of my father 4 years earlier all over again. Grief doesn’t follow a timeline. A book that really helped me was called Our stories of miscarriage: Healing with words. No advice in the book – just other women who have been there.

    • James
      February 17, 2014

      I agree. I think the husband is ready to try again soon and the wife isn’t ready. Hormonal BC or an IUD would make trying again more difficult when they both were ready. As for the condoms, I’m guessing he simply prefers withdrawal.

      • Mrs. Mac
        February 17, 2014

        (When I left my previous comment, I didn’t extend my sympathy to the reader that posed the question.) I am so sorry that you have experienced a miscarriage and are grieving the loss of your baby. I know that it can be very trying for a relationship as you both adjust to a new future and experience the loss differently. You and your husband will have to take time to support and comfort each other and offer grace with everyday issues. You may know an older Christian couple from your church or community that can offer support and direction while you re-connect. Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a really good book offering well-thought strategies for optimizing fertility or planning your family. Today, I’ll pray for you and your husband to experience God’s peace about this issue and other sources of tension.

      • ButterflyWings
        February 19, 2014

        James, not necessarily, some forms of birth hormonal birth control can stop working from the day they are stopped. Some stay in the body for up to 2 years (such as the injection potentially can be up to 2 years), but others (such as the implanted rod) can lead to ovulation the day they are removed (and therefore pregnancy within 1-2 weeks).

  9. Angel
    February 17, 2014

    While I totally agree that charting your cycles is a great idea, and I also highly recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility someone else mentioned earlier – I would caution against the idea that ‘for the first week after your period you’re home free.’ Especially if you have irregular cycles or anything. I’m an aunt because of this belief ;) – they were under the same impression and didn’t use anything for just the day afterward. I’m no expert on the matter and wouldn’t claim to be, just be aware of this. I myself have irregular cycles, and it hasn’t been uncommon for me to have barely a week between periods. I’d recommend charting for at least two or three months before relying solely on that for your birth control.

    • H. P.
      February 17, 2014

      I have one of my sweet babies because of this, too. :) And my periods are quite regular. So, do be careful with that! :)

  10. Elissa P
    February 17, 2014

    Seeking professional help is also a good thing to think about. Many time the problem is not so much the husband or the wife just not wanting to do something, the problem can be deeper.

    Pray about it and ask God to lead you both to a christian professional counselor who may be able to help you pull out all the underline struggles you both may be going through with the lost of a baby.

    Your husband may say yes to waiting, but really want a child right away. You maybe struggling with the fear of losing another child. Problems are never as simple as they look on the surface.

    Peace to you both. I will pray for you.
    Elissa P recently posted…9 Essential Affirmation Prayers That Will Completely Change Your Life. Part 5My Profile

  11. Meredith
    February 17, 2014

    I think that having a baby is one of those decisions where either party has a veto, especially when it is a “not yet” instead of a flat “no”. Coitus interruptus is not birth control, it is high school-age wishful thinking, and not good for the sexual satisfaction of either one! I would suggest a couple of sessions with a marriage counselor to work this one out.

  12. Lindsey Smith
    February 17, 2014

    Charting irregular cycles is near impossible. That being said, I sincerely hope she doesn’t have irregular cycles. My husband and I have used the pull and pray method for two years. But we also knew the reality that God could give us a child in his time and not ours. We were fully aware during that time that we could end up pregnant. But having our husband not ejaculate inside of you is much safer than the other. No saying it is fool proof (in fact, it is foolish) due to pre-ejaculate fluid, but if birth control is off the table then you have to do what you have to do. If her cycles are regular and she can chart, then by all means, do this! But I would recommend pulling also to be doubly (naturally) safe. That was just a rule (pulling) during the time we were trying to prevent pregnancy.

  13. Rachel
    February 17, 2014

    In Response to the Reader Question:

    Hello,

    My husband and I use Natural Family Planning, which utilizes tracking our fertility and abstaining from intercourse when we are fertile. We took a class through Couple to Couple League. It’s been a team effort and it can bring you closer together if you are both on the same page of your fertility. Your fertility is really both of yours to consider. A lot of people don’t like using NFP for the most obvious reason (that you can’t have intercourse whenever you want). However, we both love it. My body also loves that I am not injecting it with alternative methods (which research shows can intervene on your ability for fertility later). The classes also offer you a huge support group with people who have been practicing for years and who have been able to PLAN all their children when following their cycle. The link is here for more information :
    http://www.ccli.org

    On another note. I think what you are experiencing after sex is related to your miscarriage, and is both normal and common. You have experienced an emotionally traumatizing event and may be experiencing something that is triggering that event. I would encourage you to seek therapy in efforts to process your loss in a way that can be healing and moving your intimacy with your spouse in a direction that is strengthens rather than conflicts. I am a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist. Seeking out a credible Therapist/Counselor that will support you both in this process can really be a helpful thing. I would recommend you don’t underestimate the emotional strain a miscarriage causes. Seek support and healthy ways to process this loss. This loss is yours and your husband’s to grieve. The unfortunate thing is that men often do not experience the same level of trauma that women do when this type of loss takes place. Having said that, it sounds that you both need to be on the same page and if you do seek counsel, it can be helpful for your marriage if you go together.

    Best of wishes to you both. You are not alone. As someone mentioned earlier, the birth control is about something deeper and I pray you are able to get to that deeper issue together and strengthen your relationship.

  14. Ranay
    February 17, 2014

    Hi Sheila, Thanks so much for addressing this topic! My husband went back and forth on this issue after having our 4th child last year. After much prayer and research for natural birth control options I came across “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” which is a must-read! The woman’s reproductive system is so complex, but I have caught a grasp for the basic method of the fertility awareness method. However, since this is new to me I felt like I needed some help in analyzing my fertility signs. So we saved up and purchased the Lady-Comp, a 99.3% effective birth control fertility monitoring device. It has been WONDERFUL to say the least. It tracks my cycle, and has an alarm and thermometer, so it wakes me each morning, I use it to take my waking temperature and it gives me a red (fertile), yellow (still learning your cyle), or green (infertile/safe) light. This is such a great alternative to the pill or an IUD. It’s a bit pricey, costs around $500, but it’s made to last for years, with no side effects whatsoever. It’s been such an answer to prayer for my husband and me. I wish more women knew about the Lady-Comp! Here’s a link and video with more info: http://www.raxmedical.com
    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tqz6aQ2Qz4&w=560&h=315

    • Sheila
      March 20, 2014

      Thanks for that! That’s really interesting. I’ll save that for when my daughters get married, too.

  15. Jessica
    February 17, 2014

    Trust God, He knows best! I miscarried our third at 11 weeks and then immediately became pregnant again (with a condom in use!) two weeks later. Our baby boy died at 21 weeks from cord prolapse. I was terrified when I got pregnant with him because of the miscarriage and now doubly afraid because he died, to become pregnant again… but God takes brokenness and makes something beautiful of it. It was the loss of that little boy that brought my husband to God and grew his and my faith the most. I prayed God would fill my aching arms in His timing, not mine and then trusted and waited. Nothing happened for months, and my husband always joked that he only had to sneeze around me. Then it happened, I was pregnant. On the 1 year anniversary of the day we lost our 21 week old baby in the womb, I was (to the day) 21 weeks pregnant with another little boy. He was born healthy an strong that fall. Since then we have learned to trust God more in His infinite wisdom. He has blessed us with 7 sons and a daughter to raise on this earth, an 8th son is due to be born any day now. God knows best and wants to do what is best for us. Don’t be afraid… pray and trust.

    • stephanie
      February 18, 2014

      How beautiful! Wow! Yes, what a reminder to trust in God! HE DOES KNOW BEST!
      We are due with number 5 in July!
      God bless you!

  16. Ashley
    February 17, 2014

    I would agree with Sheila that peace of mind comes with educating yourself on the matter. After realizing that BC had a poor effect on my body, my husband and I agreed that once we were open to a little one, we would try the NFP method so see how effective it may be for future reference. All I can say is so far, so good. It truly has made me realize that making a little one is a miracle. Everything has to be in order first. The My Days phone app is a great way to chart those spontaneous moments, but maybe not as detailed as a hard copy calendar. If memory serves me correctly, even on your furtile week- the first 4 days put you at a very low chance of concieving. I would also agree with reader comments that very little sperm is in the semen that may be involved with the PO method. I don’t think the husband here really believes PO will be ineffective. And I will say, in 9 years of using this method ( without the pray part) I’ve found it really reliable. After all, your ultimately achieving no sperm reaching your cervics in a 12 -24 hour window. however for this poor gals peace of mind, the education really is key! Everyone should know how her cycle works, it truly is amazing how detailed Gods handy work is!

  17. kelly
    February 17, 2014

    If you have a 7-day period and ovulate on day 14 (both of which are normal), you most certainly can get pregnant the first week after your period. With that said, NFP can be extremely effective if done correctly.

  18. T
    February 17, 2014

    So, semi-anonymous cuz this is a little more personal, but DON’T just jump into NFP. We conceived our first while on NFP. Hubby didn’t want to use condoms and I was pretty confident about my cycles (I’d been tracking them for several months prior to our wedding). But I didn’t know how to recognize irregular cycles or what to do in edge cases. The stress from the wedding COMPLETELY threw my body off, I had a couple of irregular cycles, and 9 months later, we had a wee bub. That had actually been kind of the point for us: trusting God with His timing for our family. But when I miscarried when we tried for our second, we stayed on condoms until I felt ready to try again (which was also trusting God, just in a different way).

    If he just doesn’t like condoms, I might suggest figuring out a compromise. Read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, take a course if there’s one offered in your area, and in the meantime, use condoms. When your body’s signals are confusing (those days prior to and after ovulation) and even until you feel confident about tracking your cycles (for me, it was about 3-6 months), use condoms, and when you’re able to tell you’re not ovulating (and you’ll probably be sure of that at times even before you feel confident about the whole cycle), try going without. Sidenote: If you’re feeling stressed about this (or other stuff), your cycles might be irregular. A friend’s period didn’t come back until several months after she miscarried… Something to keep in mind…

    Anyway, if you can come to some kind of compromise wrt contraception, then you can take care of each other’s emotional needs while waiting to try again. As Sheila said, there is no 100% method (not even hormonal contraceptives—two people I know have gotten pregnant while on the pill…), but having some kind of protection might help your heart as you work through all of this.

    Also, if you’re able, consider counselling (either with a therapist or pastor). At least find a supportive group online or in person of other women who have miscarried. Miscarrying is really, really hard, especially if you don’t have other children. I found it really helpful even just reading stories and articles from other moms who had miscarried. It made me feel less alone in my experience of grief. Whatever you’re feeling and experiencing surrounding the miscarriage is totally legitimate. And if you are having trouble communicating with your husband about this stuff (your feelings, action plan for the future), as Sheila said, try to find some kind of third party to help you hear each other.

  19. LPaasch
    February 17, 2014

    Oh I am so sorry for your loss! I know how hard it is to go through a misscariage and the worry about getting pregnant again, I lost 3 babies in 2006 because of a simular situation!

    We were attempting to use the natural family planing method and I got pregnant around my daughter’s first birthday, I lost that baby a week later. Most drs recomend that you wait a full year before trying again, but ours at the time didn’t. We stuck with the idea that natural family planing was best, but due to the fact that my cycle was rather unpredictable and my husband was reluctant to use condoms. I had one regular cycle and got pregers again, lost that one a few weeks later. This repeated again a few months later. About a year from our first miscarriage I got pregnant with our son who I carried to term. Durring that pregnancy my husband and I decided we didn’t want to have any more children and he got a vasectomy, and that has been the greatest relief to not have to worry about it anymore!

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is I have little faith in the “Pull&Pray” method, God does not protect us from the consequences of our actions. If that were the case there would be no teenage pregnancy, because they definitely aren’t ready! If you have unprotected sex durring fertile times there is a chance you will get pregnant and if you get pregnant within that first year of having a miscarriage there is a huge chance you will miscarry again. And the pain of a subsequent miscarriage is not any easier than the first. I have been dealing with a 7 yr chronic depression over this.

    So in my opinion hubby needs to get on board and use some form of birth control (durring her fertile time) or deal with not getting any!

    That being said I did learn that for my husband and many other men out there sex is the way they seek comfort when greiving a miscarriage. I think part of it is that they have to prove that they a capable of giving you a baby. So I would definitely get some Counselling to deal with the grief for both of you. MEND is a great organization that helps with this. You might see if they have chapter in your area. Check with your dr/hospital and see if they have counseling services available. Church is also a good place to ask about counseling services, but make sure that they are proffesionally trained to deal with counseling you through the grief of miscarriage.

    Praying for you!

  20. Catherine
    February 17, 2014

    Based on the context of the question, you can tell that she is feeling a great deal of fear over the unknown. The reason that she is fearful of sex, is that there is no control. Although God will always have the final say in our lives, He never tells us not to take responsibility for ourselves or for our actions. I think anyone in this position needs to educate themselves on alternative methods, and then take responsibility for their lives. There is great peace found through knowledge and action!!

  21. M Lawrence
    February 17, 2014

    One note to add here. As long as there hasn’t been a recent previous ejaculation, having bareback sex is perfectly safe, as there is no sperm in the clear preejaculatory fluid. However, the husband must have a lot of self control (kegels help a lot) and pull out well before ejaculation. We used this method for years with no problems. In fact, the only time we had a problem was with a badly fitting condom, ironically enough! So yes, FAM/NFP can work great with the “pullout” method if done properly.

  22. Natalie
    February 17, 2014

    Have you talked about using a diaphragm? With perfect use they have a pretty good track record – it’s a little less spontaneous, but very unobtrusive. I actually use a different gel than your typical spermacide because I heard they be pretty harsh, but there’s a brand called contragel that’s used in Europe. I’ve only been using it a few cycles, so I can’t speak to it’s long term efficacy, but for us it’s been a good option. We’re more in the preferable child space camp and not the “must avoid” camp though.
    Natalie recently posted…And the diagnosis was….My Profile

  23. Katie
    February 17, 2014

    I do like this post, but I have a bit of an opposite problem. I DO want to get pregnant, and he’s not ready (not that he’d panic if we were, but there’s other things he wants to do first). Hormone-related stuff makes me very moody and just generally doesn’t work out well, and IUD’s and 3-month shots scare me to death, so we’re stuck to condoms. Well, honestly, that’s not as fun. So we’re sort of at an impasse. We do it with condoms, with the pulling out method, and we’ve just gone ahead and had sex and said “Well, we’ll see what happens”.

    I’m so emotional about wanting children right now. And I really feel ready to be a mom. But the things he wants to get done will take a long time, and I wanted to start having kiddos at 25. Well, I’m 25, and if we wait until the end of the year that makes me 26, or 27 or…etc. Nothing wrong with kiddos at that age, but I wanted to start earlier for a lot of reasons. Sometimes it really gets me down.

    • Emily
      February 17, 2014

      It’s not easy when one of you wants to have a baby and the other isn’t ready, regardless of which wants to wait (him or her) and which is ready.

      The best advice I can give, is to pray.
      When I miscarried, we prayed about when to try again – since we were in the middle of an immigration application we decided to wait for our visas and to move first. It was hard waiting, because I wanted a baby, but it was the right choice for us.
      More recently, I wanted to have a fourth baby and my husband was pretty sure he was “finished” at three. So I prayed. I told God that I wanted a baby and my husband didn’t, and that it was becoming a source of tension between us. (I suspect God already knew that, but there’s something important about telling Him anyway!). Then I prayed that God would change one of us. I was honestly open to having my heart changed, or to God changing my husbands heart – but we had to be in agreement about whether our family was complete. At that time, I also promised God that I would never bring the subject up again – it was entirely out of my hands.
      It was a hard prayer (I’m not good at letting things go!) but it was an important one.
      One year later, our final baby was born. She’s not a baby any more, but we both now agree that our baby days are done.

      So when I say “pray about it” – I’m not giving a stock Christian response. I’ve lived it. It works!!

  24. B Huston
    February 17, 2014

    I recently suffered a miscarriage, and I am so sorry you had to go through this too. My husband does not particularly like condoms, and neither do I; they irritate my skin even though I don’t have an allergy to latex. I am opposed to birth control pills (as I don’t like the side-effects on my body), so we use what Sheila referred to as “pull and pray.” This is a slang term for what is also known as the pull out or withdrawal method. I think Sheila’s theology around this method of birth control is incorrect, and I don’t think you must PRAY to not get pregnant while using. It has worked for us for a long time and we only do it during the fertile dates. I encourage you to do a little research of your own, and not to worry that you are undermining God, that you have lack of self-control, or are immature if you use this method. Look into it and decide for yourself.

    Good luck on your journey towards planning your family.

  25. Katie
    February 17, 2014

    Also, my comment sounded really inconsiderate to those who have had trouble with pregnancy. I didn’t intend it that way, I just didn’t know whom else I could ask. Sheila always has great insights, especially since it can be sort of an “outside” opinion.

    Sorry again…

  26. Maureen
    February 17, 2014

    Am I the only one that thinks this husband is being a bit selfish? He does not want to use birth control, but he wants to have sex. It appears he is being a little insensitive to his wife’s wish to wait to get pregnant. I am all for being available to your husband, as I try to be. However, in exchange I would expect my husband to be sensitive to my wants and needs as well. There is no way this wife can enjoy lovemaking with her husband, if she is afraid of getting pregnant. There’s a long for people who use the rhythm method, they’re called parents

    • Pam
      February 17, 2014

      Nobody was recommending the Rhythm Method in this post. People are recommending that the person checks out NFP or the FAM of birth control. These methods are NOT the Rhythm Method. Also, when these methods are used correctly, they do have a high success rate of preventing pregnancy.

    • Stacey
      February 17, 2014

      I’m with you on thinking the husband is being selfish. But men and women can view things entirely differently. I’d like to hear a man’s perspective on this. We used FAM effectively for many years.

    • A
      February 20, 2014

      This was my reaction to the post too. I feel like he’s exerting influence over her and leaving her with very little options, “his way or the highway.” Not what I would call being true partners.

  27. Erika
    February 17, 2014

    Speaking from my medical background, I just want to caution that you most certainly need to abstain more than 3-4 days per month to use natural family planning correctly. Sperm can survive 6-7 days, and the egg for 24 hours (some say up to 48 hours). There are a LOT of misconceptions about this. My husband and I feel very strongly about not using birth control/condoms/IUDs for religious reasons (birth control and the IUD both can function as abortifacients and we believe that condoms put a barrier in between what God meant as a unitive act) and I also feel strongly about them from a soon-to-be physician standpoint (I graduate in May) knowing all the side effects and risks of hormonal contraception. But that is another topic :) I wanted to post about the Marquette Method (http://nfp.marquette.edu) which is what my husband and I use (and used successfully for a year before my current planned pregnancy). It involves the use of a fertility monitor which tracks your hormone changes prior to ovulation as well as the spike of luteinizing hormone that marks ovulation. Using this along with tracking your cycles and paying attention to changes in cervical mucus was extremely effective for us (and makes great scientific sense!) I also found it easier than relying on mucus like many NFP methods, or using basal body temperature (which is very erratic for me because of my unpredictable hours and call). We usually abstained about 8-9 days per month, which may sound difficult (and it was at times!) but we found helped our marriage grow because of making the mutual sacrifice for each other (plus we enjoyed the days when we weren’t abstaining more). Lastly, I love the end of this post about things ultimately being in God’s hands and Him carrying us no matter what happens.

    • Erika
      February 17, 2014

      Also just to clarify the period of abstinence while using NFP, it’s 5-6 days prior to ovulation and 2 days after (most methods to be safe will tell you to abstain 5-6 days prior to the earliest day that you ovulated in your cycle over the previous 6 months but using the monitor + mucus helps a little with this; we did not always adhere to abstaining 5-6 days before the earliest day of ovulation over the past 6 months and still used NFP successfully). And the rhythm method (ie just tracking your cycles) is NOT natural family planning and doesn’t work for a myriad of reasons. Methods like the Marquette Method, Creighton, and Couple to Couple League are scientific and work when used correctly.
      Erika recently posted…Red maxiMy Profile

  28. Chasta
    February 17, 2014

    I have been using an app called OcuView for Natural Family Planning. It’s a calendar that you can use to chart your temps, cycle, etc. It worked really well for us. I only used the calendar method. It tells you when your next cycle will be… took most of the guesswork out. I was amazed how much my body was telling me when I listened to it… like ovulation pain. As far as condoms, my husband hates to wear them too. We found some that weren’t too bad…I believe they were called Bare Skin. Perhaps your husband would be willing to try them. Hope you find a solution to your problem. Meanwhile, you can pray that God will show you what to do and that you will both be on the same page.

  29. Amy
    February 17, 2014

    This was my exact same experience. I was good after our 4th was born. My husband was absolutely adamant that we would have no more. I really felt God nudging me that there was another baby coming. I laughed and said “Yeah, you’ll have to talk to him about it”. I thought there was no way. Well, a year later, he switched from adamant to “if it happens, it happens”. A year later, it happened. Now our youngest is 1. Our others are 8, 11, 14 and 20. The 1 year old has really bonded our family and he is so thankful for her.

  30. Elizabeth C
    February 17, 2014

    Consider a diaphram! My husband doesn’t like condoms either but he doesn’t mind me using a diaphram and honestly, it’s worth the trouble inserting it before intercourse for the peace of mind. It has been very effective for us. I only wear it during my fertile times.
    Elizabeth C recently posted…Motherhood = ServanthoodMy Profile

  31. Amy
    February 17, 2014

    You could try natural family planning. 11 days after the first day of your menstrual cycle, through 5 more days, is the fertile time in a woman’s cycle (this would be the “rythmn method). Or you can check your mucous to see if you are fertile or now. I heard 98 percent accuracy/success rate.

  32. Amy
    February 17, 2014

    I think it’s alright for a married couple to have relations during her period. I even found I’m “in the mood” then!

  33. Amy
    February 17, 2014

    I have read up on the withdrawl method. Very recent findings are that pregnancy is not likely with that method. My husband and I have in fact used this method for many years with success.

  34. Amy
    February 17, 2014

    I do want more children, husband doesn’t (I don’t think?). He uses so much self control so I don’t get pregnant. It has affected our intimacy. It’s frustrating. I think he’s afraid I’ll get pregnant. But, he has said a few times he wants more children.

  35. Amy
    February 18, 2014

    We started with condoms for birth control, but they were no longer working due to being uncomfortable. We have tried the cervical mucous method, but that proved difficult as I always seemed to be having some sort of mucous! and seemed like with that way they was never a good time. I tried the pill when first married but stopped because of side effects and concern over chemicals in it. (Also heard it can be a aboricient unfortunately.) We also tried the spermicial jelly inserts or foam. I think they can cause miscarriage. Also caused stinging. We now have used the withdrawl method for a while…but it seems to work SO WELL, it’s working a bit too well. We aren’t really having success with it, meaning no normal sex life. So frustrated. I think it would help if sex was just going full with it, and I think the withdrawl method tends to get in the way of complete, normal intimacy. I think God’s way is best. I don’t really like birth control.

    • stephanie
      February 18, 2014

      HI Amy
      God’s way is best. Remember that from the beginning of time, yes back to ancient cultures, humans have tried to circumvent God’s plan. Perhaps there is immediate gratification. But in the end, it comes back to get you, and it is not healthy or happy. God’s laws can be hard, but HE loves us and wants what is best. And we must remember too, haven’t seen this brought up here, that children are a GIFT!!!! So many want them and can’t have them. They are the fruits of a joyful marriage, a rich marriage. Children are not commodities, choices, added features to our lives – they are SOULS that He loves as He does ours. God made marriage in the Garden of Eden to increase and mutliply! Only God knows how many souls He will send us too!
      Take care!
      Stephanie

      • Amy
        February 19, 2014

        I agree with you theologically. Husband doesn’t, really. I always did want a large family. He always wanted/wants us to use birth control or natural family planning. I had a miscarriage at 17 weeks approximately last May. He said he did want to try again and was looking forward to that baby, but now he wants to use birth control/natural family planning. Disappointing. :(

  36. Kelly
    February 18, 2014

    I am so glad to have read this post and these comments. I am a married young mother to my step daughter, age 10 and my two children ages 4 and 1 and am 8 weeks pregnant. I was on the mini pill and taking it correctly (I have used the mini pill ever since I have had my son 4 years ago and planned my 1 year old daughters pregnancy so it has been successful so far) PLUS breastfeeding. I have only had one period since having my daughter and around 11 months we became pregnant with baby #4. Now I have wanted this many children but not so sudden. Ever since losing my job when I was last pregnant things financially have been tougher for us and I know major changes have to be made because before with one small child it was hard enough to work, now I will have three and feel it is best for my family to stay home. That being said, as harsh as this sounds, I don’t want any more babies. My Grandparents were a very Catholic couple and had thirteen children from using no form of birth control methods, and my grandmother passed away young and when her children were young and my mother and her siblings grew up very poor. I just am lost and do not know what to continue on doing as my husband does not want to wear condoms. Everyone keeps joking saying he needs to have a vasectomy done but I really feel it is wrong and not comfortable with that decision, despite the fact that I feel my family does not need any more children.

  37. Nikki
    February 18, 2014

    First, I am so sorry for your loss. I have lost 4 babies through miscarriage and the pain can be crushing. Hang in there. It’s okay to hurt and have fears and cry as much as you need but don’t let this steal your joy because there are still things in life to be joyful about even in our sorrows.
    Second, Love the advice on the natural family planning! And a great part about it you are given a chance every month to re-evaluate and pray about your family size. Right now you say 2015 is your year, and that is awesome, but if you should change your mind you can start trying anytime you want without having to wait for your body to come off of hormones and regulate itself.
    And lastly, my middle child was conceived immediately after 2 back to back miscarriages within 3 months. I did NOT want to be pregnant! I was scared and hurt and grieving my babies that I had lost. But God knew my heart better than me! He is awesome like that :) I struggled with depression and guilt during the early part of my pregnancy but I am so glad our son came to us during that time. He is an amazing little boy! And, don’t tell my other kids, but I have a soft spot in my heart for him. And to think this amazing, smart, cuddly, funny kid was not part of MY plans. Just remember Gods plans are always for our good (Jeremiah 29:11)

  38. Knitted in the Womb
    February 19, 2014
    • Amy
      February 19, 2014

      That’s hilarious!!:)

  39. J (Hot, Holy & Humorous)
    February 19, 2014

    I’ll confirm the efficacy of the diaphragm as a birth control method that doesn’t alter hormones and that he probably can’t feel (at least not much) during intercourse. It’s rather unobtrusive, easy to insert once you get the hang of it, and it’s what we used after a miscarriage and before we were ready to conceive. We didn’t like condoms either, and oral contraceptives become a no-go at some point.

    But I also know many who swear by Natural Family Planning. Sheila’s suggestions are solid.
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…A Love Letter to YourselfMy Profile

  40. Bridget
    March 19, 2014

    I’m in a similar situation…sorta!!! I desperately want to have another child. We have 2 girls ages 9 and 6 and I would love to have one more. Here’s the issue….I’m on prozac for depression and pmdd. I waited a very long time before going on medication. I never wanted to be on medication. I’ve seen the side effects and the horrible withdrawal you go through trying to go off them or switch, but I got to a breaking point.
    When I talk about pregnancy with my doctors I get different opinions. One says I have to be completely off the meds for the entire pregnancy the other 2 tell me I need to be off it for the first trimester and then can go back on it for the rest of it. I know there are risks of being on it while pregnant and breastfeeding. I also know that I am not well when I’m off of them. I first got depressed when pregnant for my second. Suicidal, depression, anxiety….fear of doing something horrible. And I have had depression and suicidal thoughts since then. The medication helps me tremendously!!!!!
    I’m struggling right now…do I go off the meds and put my family and myself through all of this to have another baby??? Besides the withdrawal and not being on meds…add the pregnancy hormones!!! My husband is gone a lot during the day…I homeschool my kids….my husband isn’t a Christian and so things are tense there. I have a lot against me. I don’t have the help I need for going through another pregnancy with 2 kids at home. I’m so confused right now. I know kids are a blessing from God. But maybe I’m only suppose to have 2.
    Which brings me to the similarity…my husband too hates condoms. I’m against oral contraceptives….we’re using the pull out method. Which yes has been working, BUT I also have endometriosis soooo….that could be preventing me from becoming pregnant b/c it messes with fertility!!!!
    I don’t know what to do. Some days I feel I should just go get my tubes tied b/c then I wouldn’t have to worry….then the yearning for a baby comes over me and I just don’t know what to do.
    My friend suggested going off the meds for 30 days to see how I handle it. I’m too scared to even try it. I still have bad days even on meds….I don’t want to be this mean, depressed horrible person to my family while pregnant. I don’t want me kids to look back and have these bad memories of Mommy being mean and sad. I feel so much regret for the way I was before I was on meds. I want to go back and redo that all.
    I’ve been praying about this a lot lately….but I’m still not feeling a real pull in either direction….

    • Butterflywings
      March 19, 2014

      Bridget you may want to talk to a perinatal specialist. Prozac is an ssri which are known to be pretty safe in pregnancy. It is not recommended to stop them if you need them (and if people don’t need them they should get off them anyway) and is often what women change to if they are on harsher medications.

      The only risk I’ve heard of is a recent study I read last night that found ssri medications may increase the risk of autism BUT it was only a very small study (not many people) and when doing their analysis they admit the differences may be due to other factors. Eg women with autistic spectrum disorders tend to be diagnosed with depression years before their ASD is diagnosed and ASD is genetic so the higher rates of autism may simply be related to women who carry the autism gene are more likely to be on antidepressants.

      That is the only concerns I’ve ever seen in regards to Prozac. The newer antidepressants are quite safe in pregnancy. It’s only the older ones and alternative ones such as mood stabilizers like Valium and Tegretol/lamictal/valpro etc that should be avoided.

      Also ssri meds are considered pretty safe while breastfeeding.

      I personally was on one of the harsher medications (category c) but was told not to stop taking as the effect of being severely depressed and anxious can effect babies more than medication can. You only NEED to stop meds that are category D or category X. Category B and C are recommended to stop if you can manage without them ( sorry can’t remember if Prozac is category A or B). But it sounds like you can’t manage without them.

      As I mentioned I was on a category c medication and my baby is happy and healthy with her only problems being genetic (severe reflux runs in both out families and my husband and I both had it severely as babies ourselves so can’t blame the medication for it). I did have a problem with breastfeeding in that it made baby’s reflux worse so I stopped two weeks ago but the doctors are sure it’s not my antidepressant. They believe it’s being caused by my own reflux medication in breast milk. There is a slim chance Prozac in breast milk can cause babies to be unsettled but the advice I was given was give previously expressed milk or formula for the feeds in the couple of hours straight after taking your medication avoids that problem.

      Don’t let fear of a pretty harmless medication scare you off. There are perinatal psychiatrists out there who do preconception and pregnancy medication reviews and tell you what’s safe and what isn’t. Because most doctors genuinely don’t know accurate info on psych meds in pregnancy.

      • Bridget
        March 19, 2014

        Thank you for this information. I really appreciate you taking the time to write this. It is something I’ve been going back and forth with in my head and it’s driving me crazy. I am definitely going to look into find a perinatal specialist.
        Last year I couldn’t get into the dr and so I had to spread out my prozac for about 2 weeks so that I wasn’t completely off it and it was really bad.
        I will definitely be doing some more research and trying to find a specialist!! Thank you so much!!! :)

      • ButterflyWings
        March 20, 2014

        oops just one typo – I meant lithium not valium. My bad. I was writing it after being up for 24 hours straight with the baby.

Leave a Reply

 

 

 

CommentLuv badge

Back to top
mobile desktop