When it comes to vitality, one of the foremost decisions a woman can make is to understand her fertility and reproductive health; and with women having scarily adverse reactions to taking the pill, I would say it’s high time to take back our fertility from the men in lab coats. Natural birth control is so much more than the pull out method, it’s a science; that, if mastered, can help us all understand our bodies better than ever. Today’s guest post highlights natural birth control methods, and empowers us to take back our reproductive health!
There are many reasons why women may choose to use natural, or behavioural, birth control methods. Some women are unable to use hormonal birth control due to health risks, some feel uncomfortable with potential side effects and still others have religious restrictions. Whatever the reason, knowing your options for natural birth control can be both beneficial and empowering.
Types of Natural Birth Control
Natural methods of contraception are deemed natural as they’re not the product of hormone manipulation or medical devices. The most popular methods of natural birth control are as follows:
Basal Body Temperature (BBT)
The BBT Method requires a woman take her temperature every morning to identify a slight increase in body temperature signaling ovulation has passed. A special, sensitive thermometer is needed and the daily temperature differences carefully noted. This must be done every month.
The post-ovulatory, less fertile phase is verified by elevated waking temperature for three days in a row. Sexual intercourse should be avoided, or a barrier method used, from the time the temperature drops until at least 48 to72 hours after it increases again.
Cervical Mucus Method
Using the mucus inspection method, a woman learns to recognize differences in the quantity and texture of her cervical mucus by examining its appearance daily. Cervical mucus changes in quality and quantity just before and during ovulation.
Women may choose to have intercourse between the time of their last menstrual period and the time of change in the cervical mucus. Learning how to use the cervical mucus method effectively often requires one-on-one instruction. Furthermore, the appearance of cervical mucus can be altered by many different conditions, making the CMM difficult to rely on.
The symptothermal method combines certain aspects of the calendar, the basal body temperature, and the mucus inspection methods. The signs of one method can confirm those of the other. By taking all these factors into consideration, you may be able to identify more days when you can sexual intercourse than you can with only one method.
The withdrawal method is utilized when the man withdraws his penis from a woman’s vagina before he ejaculates. While withdrawal is better than no birth control at all, it has serious drawbacks. Men can release small amounts of sperm before actual ejaculation, rendering withdrawal useless. Furthermore, self-control and precise timing is needed on the man’s part to withdraw his penis before ejaculation. Because this can be difficult to do successfully, the withdrawal method is only about 75-80% effective.
Abstinence from penetrative vaginal intercourse is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy and still allows a couple to engage in other forms of sexual expression.
Why Use Natural Birth Control?
There are many advantages to using natural birth control methods.
- Skip the Side Effects: Some birth control medications, such as Yaz, have come under fire for their dangerous side effects.
- Save Money: Natural birth control is either free or has very low upfront costs. Some costs may include charts, calendars, basal thermometers, software, or method coaches.
- Barrier Choice: Barrier contraception can be used during fertile days if a couple still wishes to have intercourse.
- Switch it Up: Natural methods can be used for both pregnancy avoidance and pregnancy planning.
While not always as effective as other types of birth control, the benefits speak for themselves. Natural family planning isn’t easy. Above all, it requires motivation, diligence and self-control. With time and practice, this method might prove to be the right one for you.
As a women’s health advocate, Madeline Ferdinand feels it is important for women to know all their options when it comes to birth control. When she’s not writing, she finds joy in a perfectly hot bath, the first bite into a crisp apple and the laughter of her grandchildren.