Natural Birth Control Methods Just as Effective, Much Safer Than Hormones
November 16, 2006
This interesting guide lists a number of birth control techniques that can be used instead of pills or patches. The article recommends practicing two or more natural birth control methods at the same time, and lists such methods as:
Withdrawal: The man withdraws his penis from the woman's vagina before he ejaculates. This doesn't always work; even before ejaculation, the penis releases small amounts of semen that can contain sperm, so this is only 60 to 80 percent successful at preventing pregnancy.
Calendar Method: Abstention from sex during the week the woman is ovulating. This technique works best when a woman's menstrual cycle is very regular. The calendar method doesn't work very well for couples who use it by itself (about a 75 percent success rate), but it can be effective when combined with the temperature and mucus methods described below.
The temperature method: This is a way to pinpoint the day of ovulation so that sex can be avoided for a few days before and after. It involves taking the basal body temperature (your temperature upon first waking) each morning with an accurate "basal" thermometer, and noting the rise in temperature that occurs after ovulation.
Illness or lack of sleep can change body temperature and make this method unreliable by itself, but when it is combined with the mucus method, it can be an accurate way of assessing fertility. The two methods combined can have a success rate as high as 98 percent.Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM): Some experts believe that exclusively breastfeeding protects a woman from pregnancy by curbing hormones that trigger ovulation. However, every woman's body responds differently to the hormonal influences of breastfeeding, so this is an unreliable method.
The mucus method: This involves tracking changes in the amount and texture of vaginal discharge, which reflect rising levels of estrogen in the body. For the first few days after your period, there is often no discharge, but there will be a cloudy, tacky mucus as estrogen starts to rise. When the discharge starts to increase in volume and becomes clear and stringy, ovulation is near. A return to the tacky, cloudy mucus or no discharge means that ovulation has passed.