Summary of Study Session 4

In Study Session 4, you have learned that:

  1. To understand natural family planning methods it is important to remember that the egg is released from the ovary once a month and can stay alive in the uterus for about 24 hours. Men produce sperm cells which can stay alive in the female reproductive system for about 2–5 days after being deposited in the vagina during sexual intercourse.
  2. Knowledge of physiological changes during the menstrual period help to distinguish between the ‘unsafe period’ (when pregnancy is possible) and ‘safe period’ (when pregnancy is not possible).
  3. Natural family planning methods depend on the awareness and ability of the couple to identify the fertile and infertile phases of each menstrual cycle.
  4. The basal body temperature method is based on a slight three-day increase in the body temperature of women at rest by about 0.3‒0.5ºC during and after ovulation, which is caused by the action of a rise in the level of progesterone.
  5. The cervical mucus method is based on the recognition of changes in cervical mucus and on sensations in the vagina, due to the effect of oestrogen which changes the cervical mucus from dry or thick, viscous and sticky, to wet and thin, white, slippery and stretchy (similar to raw egg white) during ovulation.
  6. The calendar or rhythm method is based on calculations to predict the first and the last fertile day in future menstrual cycles.
  7. The lactational amenorrhoea method (LAM) is the traditional and most widely used method, based on the use of breastfeeding as a contraceptive method. To be effective as a method of contraception, three criteria should be fulfilled: menstruation should not have returned, the infant should not be more than 6 months old, and the baby should be exclusively breastfed.
  8. Coitus interruptus or withdrawal is another traditional family planning method in which the man withdraws or pulls out his penis and ejaculates outside the vagina, thus preventing his sperm reaching the woman’s egg and fertilising it.

4.2.3  Coitus interruptus (withdrawal or pulling out) method

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 4