Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Sweetening the Pill

"63.7% of women go off the pill within the first year due to unwanted side effects"

The pill. A combination of two synthetic hormones designed to prevent fertility. There is no denying that the feminist movement that it provoked in the 60's was a revolution. But where do we, as a society, striving for equality, honesty and freedom stand with the current mainstream attitude towards fertility and contraception?

"Is it fair to have to compromise your health in order to be responsible?"

"How can something that severs you from your most primal and natural identity be empowering?"

These are the questions Abby Epstein and Ricky Lake are asking in their upcoming documentary, "Sweetening the Pill".

Many don't realise that the pill was the first medical drug designed and approved, that is made specifically for healthy people to take. That is, people who aren't sick take this drug and it makes them less healthy. 

Paradoxical, and yet so widely accepted! Possibly because it was not fully explained to us when we were advised to take it by our doctors - who we trust!

I was not one of those people. I knew what I was signing myself up for the day I went to the doctors and asked for a prescription for the pill.

But I also felt like I had no other option. We didn't want to use condoms. We didn't want to have children.

"It is not in anyway that you are regulating your cycle with birth control, you have no cycle anymore..."

All women are altered by these drugs, some more profoundly than others. I was one of those women. I'm very sensitive, to the point where I cant even drink a cup of tea at breakfast without it sending me on a high that will prevent me from sleeping that night!

What was I thinking!

Thats how I discovered fertility awareness based contraception. Thats how I came to teach it to any women who wants to learn. That is how I embraced freedom, and that, is why I love what I do.

"Knowing how your body works, that sounds to me like true independence"

(All quotes are taken from, Sweetening the Pill - A Documentary - Watch it! Its amazing!)

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

All you need to know about cervical mucus!

The cervix produces a protective lubricant that is commonly termed, cervical mucus. This mucus changes slightly in colour, amount and texture throughout your cycle and is completely normal!

By normal I mean that it is a healthy representation of the secretions from the cervix (just a fancy name for the opening of your uterus) that fluctuate with changing hormone levels.

What is its purpose?

To protect and moisten the lining of your cervix and vagina. All the mucus membranes that make up the barrier between the external world and your body are lined with a fluid; the mucus membranes in your mouth are protected by saliva, your ears have wax, your nose has, well, more mucus!

Cervical mucus produced during the “infertile phase” of your cycle has another protective role, it creates a plug over the opening of the uterus, which apart from stopping nasties such as germs and dirt from getting up into the uterus and causing infection, it also stops sperm from being able to enter the uterus. 

Imagine it is like a natural diaphragm! But not only is this natural diaphragm a barrier, it has an acidic pH that acts as a spermicide, rendering those little guys completely useless!

Cervical mucus produced during the “fertile phase” of your cycle however, is completely the opposite! It is more basic (alkaline) and therefore dissolves the acidic plug, exposing the entry point to the uterus and allowing the passage of sperm towards the egg. 

It is much more fluid and slippery, which sperm love! They wriggle their tails around, exactly like a tadpole and within as little as 30 minutes can have swam up though the vagina, uterus and down a fallopian tube to fertilise a waiting egg!

What are the different types?

Basically when I teach my patients and NNP clients to recognise the different types of cervical mucus I break it down into 4 categories:

Infertile Cervical Mucus: As detailed above this mucus acts as a natural diaphragm and spermicide. It is usually thick, white, pasty and unchanging in amount. Some women describe it as UHU (the glue stick!) as it can be sticky and tacky, and dries as a white crust on your underwear.

You may notice this type of mucus in the couple of days after your period has finished and again after ovulation has occurred (see the green petals in the diagram).

Possibly Fertile Cervical Mucus: This mucus is the “change-over” mucus, it varies greatly for different women ranging from clear, thin and watery to creamy white and lumpy. 

Remember, every woman is different and when you learn the NNP technique you are learning how to read your individual pattern of fertility. 

This mucus only lasts 2-6 days in the lead up the ovulation (see the orange petals)

Fertile and Very Fertile Cervical Mucus: These cervical mucus types should be treated with the utmost reverence! 

For those who are wishing to fall pregnant it is the most desirable and exciting cervical mucus to discover. 

But for those who are practicing the NNP technique it is a dangerous couple of days when barrier methods should be employed.

This type of cervical mucus is profuse, wet, slippery and may even be stretchy like egg-white. It is short lasting, from a couple of hours to 3 days (See the red petals on the diagram).

What about when you are on the pill?

Just as women taking the pill or any other synthetic hormonal contraception do not get periods because they are not ovulating (they simply have a what is called a withdrawal bleed) they also do not get fluctuations in cervical mucus types. 

A woman taking synthetic hormones will only experience one type of cervical mucus, and that is the Infertile type.

Would you like to learn how to use this knowledge to prevent or facilitate pregnancy?

All NNP Programs teach:
  • How to achieve contraception though monitoring changes in cervical mucus.
  • More detail about the cervical mucus types.
  • When you must use protection if you are interested in contraception (or when to have lots of sex if you want to have babies!)
  • How to recognise hormonal imbalances such as low levels of cervical mucus. This can be remedied easily with herbs, nutrients and/or diet and lifestyle changes.
The NNP technique also employs Basal Body Temperature (BBT) recording and Lunar Phase Fertility for maximum protection.