Teaching teens NFP.

Parents need to have the various talks with their children on how their body is changing, and where babies come. It doesn’t just happen in “the talk” and it is a very bad idea to leave it to school (especially if your children don’t go to school).

So, you’ve got past the initial stage of body changes and hygiene and now (for girls) it’s how to monitor your cycle.It’s not uncommon for girl’s cycles to be irregular in the early years and there’s often other things going on that can make a girl’s life (and those who live with her) difficult.  So many crisis pregnancy workers (pro-life) mention that the young mothers know almost nothing about the way their own bodies work. As parents we carry a responsibility to ensure our children are properly prepared for adult life.

There are a number of initial symptoms a girl can look out for, spots, cramps, cravings, mood hair changes (getting greasy or dry) Then there are other things such as extra bleeding, long cycles, overly short cycles and so on that can be seen almost immediately. Many women say that just knowing to take a painkiller the day before a period is due can make managing serious cramps much easier.

Once the young lady is charting well enough she could introduce temperatures as well. Lots of people find the symto-thermal method really useful, especially if there are health problems going on. Temps are a sure way of spotting an underactive thyroid.

Pinpointing ovulation is not the main reason to chart, at this point, but knowing more or less so that the luteal phase can be seen is a good indicator of health. It’s astonishing what doctors will say to girls and women that is completely untrue. For example, having a bleed every month is NOT a sign that you are ovulating every month, or at all. Anovulatory bleeding is different from a period, but you need to have charted for a while to spot the difference.

I saw more than one friend have hormonal bloods taken at completely the wrong time in their cycle so the results were inconclusive. (I dx a friend’s PCOS more than 2 years before she finally got the medics to dx it).

There are ways of dealing with problems using vitamin regimes but these must be properly planned and researched. Just taking multi-vits is no help at all.

To begin with a girl can mark on her calendar when each period begins. She can then mark those days as  (H)eavy (M)edium (L)ight and (S)potting. Basic symptoms such as pain, mid-pain (if she notices this or has it), spots, hair and skin changes, mood changes, nausea, breast pain…and so on can be added and then basic mucus patterns. Finally she can learn to use a BBT thermometer.

Using the BBTT isn’t difficult especially if your daughter wakes up a regular time. She can sit up in bed and take her temp which shouldn’t be more than a couple of minutes and just note it down. It is less accurate if she works shifts or keeps irregular hours – but one might consider that a young lady should not be keeping irregular hours.

PCOS and endometriosis, along with thyroid problems, blocked tubes or other issues can be seen once you are used to the chart. So many women don’t get proper medical help because they don’t see for themselves what’s happening, and shamefully doctors will just prescribe the Pill for anything.

Some resources to help parents learn enough to pass it on;

Antonia who commented on my first post mentioned TeenSTAR which looks like a good set up.

The Billings Method

Fertility Friend  I highly recommend this site as a mine of useful information. I learned loads from here. You can also learn about the Symto thermal method from CCL

Taking Charge of your fertility (not Christian) excellent information with easy charting.

Creighton Model

Standard Days method (Don’t know much about this method but I’ve heard good things. Beads look helpful)

BOOKS I HAVE and have either read and used or intend to read.

The Art of Natural Family Planning This was our “bible” of NFP for a long time. It’s pretty complicated and these days I wouldn’t remember half the bit’n’pieces in it. It is very good and gives the whole kit’n’caboodle of the sympto-thermal model, including charting while breastfeeding and though perimenopause to menopause.

I have the NaPro book for us ordinary folk. The medical tome is very big and very expensive so I’m grateful this version has been published.

Patrick Coffin’s book Sex au Naturel is also on my “to read” list. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Coffin and so I am guessing this will be an excellent book.

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2 responses to “Teaching teens NFP.

  1. This is a great post. When I was in my final year of high school, way back in the 70s (ouch), our family life teacher, Sr. Mangan, taught all the girls in the graduating class how to charge using billings. I didn’t chart regularly but it taught me to at least understand the different types of mucous I saw every month. For the past 27 years, I have been using the sympto-thermal method of NFP and still have all my charts. I can also attest to how shift work affects cycles since as a nurse, I have worked too many night shifts over the years. Now I’m seeing menopausal changes. I think it’s a good idea to teach NFP to teenage girls so that they can appreciate how their reproductive cycles work. My university-aged daughter is now charting.

  2. It’s fascinating to me how many of us have charted and learned about our bodies so well from it. I am also pleasently surprised that despite the view pushed on us that Catholics are all contracepting, that this simply isn’t the case.

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