Natural Family Planning Options in Malaysia

Dr Shabrina Saidin

Dr Shabrina Saidin

Director of Klinik Casabrina Senawang, a top-rated healthcare clinic in Senawang. With years of experience in the medical field, Dr. Shabrina specializing in obstetrics and gynecology.

In Malaysia, natural family planning is a popular choice for those seeking a side-effect-free approach to family planning. Learn some tips in this article.

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Natural family planning (NFP) is a method of birth control that does not involve the use of hormonal contraceptives or physical devices. Instead, it relies on tracking and understanding the body’s natural fertility signals to determine fertile and infertile periods within the menstrual cycle. These are all natural ways of avoiding pregnancy.

In Malaysia, natural family planning is a popular choice for those seeking a more holistic and side-effect-free approach to family planning. If you’re someone who is hesitant to try modern contraceptives due to the hormonal side effects, here’s some tips so you don’t need to rely on them.

Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FABMs)

FABMs involve tracking various signs of fertility to predict ovulation and determine the fertile window in a woman’s menstrual cycle. The main FABMs include:

Calendar Method (Rhythm Method)

This method involves tracking menstrual cycles over several months to predict future cycles. By identifying the length of past cycles, couples can estimate the fertile days and safely avoid it. It’s about 76% effective with typical use, requiring regular and predictable cycles for accuracy. This method may not work for you if you have irregular periods.

First, you need to track the length of your menstrual cycles for at least 6 months. This helps you identify patterns and estimate ovulation.

Based on your cycle length, you estimate your fertile window (the days you’re most likely to ovulate and get pregnant). This is generally considered to be the days between 11 and 17 days after the first day of your last period. However, this is an estimate and can vary depending on your cycle regularity.

This method is one of the least effective ways to avoid getting pregnant. Couple that with the survivability of sperm and the odds may not be in your favor.

Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Method

Your body temperature naturally fluctuates slightly throughout your menstrual cycle due to hormonal changes. The basal body temperature method relies on identifying a rise in temperature that typically occurs after ovulation. If used successfully, it can be around 77 to 98% effective at predicting your fertile window.

How it Works

  1. You take your basal body temperature (the lowest temperature your body reaches during rest) every morning before getting out of bed, at the same time each day.
  2. Record your temperature daily on a chart or app designed for BBT tracking.
  3. After ovulation, progesterone causes a slight but sustained rise (usually 0.4-1°F) in basal body temperature. This temperature rise typically lasts for at least 10-14 days until your next period.

 

Certain factors like illness, medications, irregular sleep patterns, or recent sexual activity can affect BBT readings and make interpretation less accurate. So that’s something you need to keeop in mind while tracking and recording your data.

Cervical Mucus Method (Billings Ovulation Method)

This method involves observing changes in cervical mucus throughout the menstrual cycle, which you can see as your vaginal discharge. This may be easy to track on a day to day basis. Throughout your menstrual cycle, your cervix produces mucus with varying characteristics due to hormonal changes. 

  • Estrogen dominance in the first half of your cycle leads to dry, sticky, or scanty discharge.
  • As you approach ovulation, rising progesterone levels cause the mucus to become thin, slippery, and wet, resembling raw egg whites (this fertile mucus is sometimes referred to as “wet days”). 
  • After ovulation, progesterone remains high, making the cervical mucus thick, cloudy, or sticky again (infertile mucus).

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

LAM is based on the natural postpartum infertility that occurs when a woman is exclusively breastfeeding. The method relies on the suppression of ovulation due to the hormonal changes that happen when breastfeeding.

How it Works

  • Breastfeeding Hormones: When a woman breastfeeds frequently (on demand, both day and night), her body produces high levels of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates milk production.
  • Ovulation Suppression: Prolactin also plays a role in regulating the menstrual cycle. High prolactin levels during breastfeeding can suppress ovulation, preventing the release of an egg and potential pregnancy.
  • Amenorrhea: Without ovulation, the menstrual period typically doesn’t occur (amenorrhea). This is why LAM is called the Lactational Amenorrhea Method.

 

This method is only effective for the first six months postpartum. It requires exclusive and frequent breastfeeding, day and night. Once menstruation resumes, or if breastfeeding frequency decreases, another form of contraception should be used.

Benefits of Natural Family Planning

There are many reasons why someone may prefer to use natural family planning methods over modern hormonal birth control. While both ways require some commitment, couples using natural family planning methods need to be meticulous to properly track cycles, but the benefits can outweigh the hassle.

Hormone-Free:  Unlike hormonal birth control methods like pills, patches, or rings, NFP doesn’t involve any hormones. This can be appealing for women who experience side effects from hormonal birth control or who prefer a more natural approach.

Understanding Your Cycle: NFP methods can increase your awareness of your menstrual cycle and fertility signs. Tracking your body temperature, cervical mucus changes, and period patterns can empower you to make informed decisions about your reproductive health.

Cost-Effective: There are minimal upfront costs associated with NFP. Once you learn the methods, you don’t need to purchase medications or refills. Fertility charting tools and apps can be helpful, but some are free while others have subscription fees.

May Reduce Period Pain: Studies suggest that some NFP methods like the cervical mucus method may help identify and avoid ovulation induction medications used in some fertility treatments, which can sometimes cause cramping.

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Your Family Planning Resource At Klinik Casabrina

Natural family planning methods offer a viable option for those in Malaysia seeking a non-invasive and side-effect-free approach to family planning. By understanding and utilizing the body’s natural fertility signals, couples can effectively plan or prevent pregnancies in a way that aligns with their personal, cultural, and religious values.

If you’re still undecided about natural family planning and other contraceptives, let us give you a guiding hand. Our clinic offers comprehensive services and resources for all things family, and our doctors are knowledgeable about natural family planning methods to readily recommend to couples.

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