Hormonal birth control methods often have side-effects and IUD’s can be expensive and invasive. But if you don’t want to fall pregnant, what other options do you have? Natural birth control can be a little tricky and takes some dedication, but if used right, these methods can be quite effective.
Back in the 1700s, women used lemon-soaked sponges as a spermicide but luckily for us, natural birth control has come a long way since then.
About Fertility Awareness Methods (FAMs)
Based on your body’s cycle, FAM aims to predict your ovulation and fertility throughout your cycle to allow you to plan intercourse accordingly.
To use FAMs, you’ll ideally need a regular period so prediction is accurate, and you’ll need to be diligent. Used correctly, FAMs can be up to 98% effective, but if you aren’t committed and ready to monitor your cycle and implement the changes, then the effectiveness drops significantly. So if you aren’t careful, your chances of falling pregnant can go up as high as 24%.
Here are 4 FAM options for those wanting to go au-natural for pregnancy prevention.
This method uses a women’s cycle to predict fertility throughout the month and helps you develop a calendar so you can plan accordingly. On average, the egg is released around 14 days before a woman’s next menstrual period, this will be the most fertile time of your cycle. This method allows you to avoid sexual intercourse or use alternative methods during your high-risk days.
For the best use of this method, try planning in advance. If you can track your periods for 6 months before you start, your predictions will be more accurate and your chances of prevention increase. When used alone, the Rhythm Method is only about 80% effective. Try using other birth control methods, natural or barrier contraceptive, to increase your overall protection.
Basal Body Temperature Method (BBT)
Like the Rhythm Method, the BBT predicts your fertile days and tracks your cycle. But instead of tracking the days after your menstrual periods, it uses your natural body temperature changes as a basis for prediction. Because the Basal body temperature thermometer needs to detect even is the slightest change in your temperature, it is suggested you take your temperature at the same time every morning. Doing this will result in the most accurate predictions and allow you to plan intercourse or alternative contraceptives accordingly.
As a guideline, your temperature will take a dip just before the release of an egg, then 24 hours after the release you temperature rises and stays up for several days.
Mucus Inspection Method
This method can be a little more confusing and you’ll need to have a good understanding of your body. The female body produces cervical mucus, often called discharge, and is different at various stages of the cycle. The presence, absence or consistency of this discharge is a good indicator of your ovulation phase. You can learn to recognise the differences in mucus by examining your underwear, pad or toilet tissue.
Directly after your menstrual period is usually the lowest chance of pregnancy, but when your mucus begins to change, your chances increase. You can learn to recognise the change in mucus and plan appropriately.
Better known as “pulling out”, the withdrawal method is 94% effective if performed correctly every time. But this method isn’t the most reliable as it takes a lot of self-control and planning, and a mistake will dramatically increase your chances of falling pregnant. These challenges mean the Withdrawal Method is only 78% effective on average, this works out to 22 women out of 100 falling pregnant per year.
Did you know? Some men’s precum contains sperm, and this could affect the efficiency of the Withdrawal Method.
If you’re ready to go natural, we would suggest a combination of all the FAMs. Because natural methods aren’t as reliable as hormonal contraceptives, incorporating a few methods will increase your overall protection.
Surecheck Tip: It’s always good to have a condom handy, just in case!
Both hormonal and natural contraceptives have pros, cons and potential risks. Remember to consult your doctor, local women’s health clinic or gynaecologist to find the right contraceptive method for you.