12 Women Who Swear by Natural Family Planning for Birth Control

loving coupleI was recently hanging out with a group of friends who are all moms and the conversation turned to sex -- specifically how to have more sex but not more babies. I'm happily on Team Snip Snip, so I'm covered, but I admit I was surprised to discover that using fertility awareness method (FAM) or natural family planning (NFP) was way more common than I would have guessed.

Although using the birth control pill is still by far the most common birth control method, I discovered that the women who use FAM/NFP are a passionate minority who want you to know why charts and thermometers have replaced pills and condoms in their bedrooms.

Read on to find out why more women than you might expect swear by these methods.


Image via iStock.com/ Klubovy

  • Not Your Mom's Rhythm Method


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    "My mom of all people gave me a hard time about it when I decided to go off the Pill and use fertility awareness as my birth control plan. She even made the 'You know what they call people who use the rhythm method, don't you? PARENTS!' joke.

    It isn't the old-school rhythm method anymore though. I track my temperature and my cervical mucus and keep it all in a tracking app. I'm not just randomly guessing when I'm ovulating here. I've learned a ton about my body's cycle and we've been doing it for over two years with no pregnancy scares. This is a legit method!" -- Kara M., Topeka, Kansas

  • Know My Body


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    "I am really grateful to have learned about it because I find it amazing to know about my body. The book that was recommended is called Taking Charge of Your Fertility." -- Tina P., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Planning & Prevention


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    "For us, NFP has been great at helping us meet two goals: not getting pregnant when we didn't want to and getting pregnant when we were ready to. We used it to avoid pregnancy for a few years, and then when we wanted to start our family, I knew my body so well that it didn't take us long to get pregnant at all." -- Becky T., Cloverdale, California

  • Environmentally Friendly


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    "We're Catholic, so using NFP fit with our values in terms of religion, but we are also really concerned about the environment, so I like that I'm not responsible for hormones going into the water system via my body on birth control pills. It is environmentally friendly!" -- Desi G., Mesa, Arizona

    More from The Stir: A Straightforward Guide to Birth Control After Baby

  • Partners in Prevention


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    "For one thing, it's made me realize how little we as women are typically educated (like in the general stream of sex ed/biology/health classes) about how our bodies work. It's been really empowering to me to understand my fertility as a unique aspect of how my body works, and to plan my life accordingly in a way that I'm comfortable with. I like that it doesn't require taking hormones or implanting foreign objects into my body, so I don't have to deal with any of the side effects of those various methods of family planning.

    Probably for me, the best thing about it is the way that it has made my husband an equal partner in our family planning. This isn't necessarily true of every couple that uses NFP/FAM, but for us it has definitely taken away the pressure that I think women often feel to be totally responsible for the prevention of pregnancy in terms of taking their pill/having an IUD placed/getting Depo shots and dealing with all the side effects of those things." -- Miriel R., Rochester, Minnesota

  • Perfect Pre-Kids


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    "When we were able to use NFP correctly, it worked perfectly, was awesome, and I felt great because I didn't have any side effects from birth control. That was before we had kids.

    Once we had kids, my body was not as easy to read (NFP is more challenging postpartum and while breastfeeding because your cycle and hormones are all wonky). Also, taking the temp became challenging as hell. You need to be in bed for a few hours resting to get a good temp. That pretty much never happened to me when I had babies. But we knew we wanted three kids, I didn't want the roller coaster of going on and off hormonal birth control, [and] I don't feel like we (women) have any really good birth control options that fit with our religious beliefs and desire to be good stewards of the earth, so we stuck with it. That being said, my youngest was conceived a year before we planned because we totally misread my chart. Best surprise of my life, but not perfect use of birth control.

    I recently went back on hormonal birth control because my PMS was taking over my life." -- Abby P., Denver, Colorado

  • So Easy


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    "I like that it was fairly easy -- I had an alarm set to wake me at 6 a.m. to take my temp, then I'd go back to sleep after recording it on the app I was using. I decided to do it because I hated how I felt on the Pill, and I didn't want to be tied to condoms or have anything like IUD because they freak me out." -- Molly O., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Feels Natural


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    "After I had my first baby, I didn't want to use hormonal birth control while I was nursing. I figured I'd go back to the Pill once I weaned, but it ended up feeling really natural to me. We do use condoms as a backup method when I'm fertile and/or I feel iffy about my charting. So far it has been almost two years and it has worked well for us. And I've saved hundreds on the Pill, so that is cool too!" -- Jennie D., Silver City, New Mexico

    More from The Stir: What to Expect When You Go Off Birth Control Pills

  • Communication Is Key


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    "I started after I had my son and was breastfeeding. I had heard bad stories about the mini pill and unexpected pregnancies so I started researching alternatives. I like that it is a non-hormonal method (because I've had bad reactions to estrogen-containing meds), cheap (since I only have to pay for the ovulation predictor kits once every few months), and easy to do by just keeping a simple chart. I also really like that my husband has some stake in it, as in, he understands why we can't have sex at specific times and not that I'm just saying no." -- Abby W., Saint Paul, Minnesota

  • Feels Right


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    "I'm Catholic, so part of our decision to not use artificial forms of birth control is related to our religious views. And no, I don't have eight kids! We have two and are planning to keep it that way unless God has other plans for us. I'll admit that sometimes it is hard to not have sex [during] the fertile times, since that is when I am most in the mood, but overall I think it makes us have to communicate more than other couples do, which is good for our marriage." -- Mary D., Ann Arbor, Michigan

  • No IUD for Me


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    "After I ended up in the emergency room thanks to an IUD that 'wandered,' I've vowed that I'm not putting anything inside of me again. My husband is anti-condom and we aren't 100 percent sure we are done with babies, so I'm not ready for permanent methods yet. So NFP it is!" -- Georgie D., Des Moines, Iowa

  • Knowledge Is Power


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    "Trying to do FAM actually helped me figure out that I was never ovulating and that I have a condition called PCOS. I'm actually on hormonal birth control to deal with that, but the experience of trying to track my cycles ended up being really helpful in understanding my body better." -- Annie E., Tucson, Arizona

    More from The Stir: 6 Natural Birth Control Options: How Effective Are They?

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