Most doctors who see women about contraceptive concerns underestimate the effectiveness of natural family planning options and rarely or never mention them. A recent survey asked doctors how often they discuss two natural "rhythm" methods for preventing pregnancy: the cervical mucus method and the symptothermal method.
Using the mucus method, a woman monitors her vaginal discharge, which increases and becomes more watery just before an egg is released. She should stop having intercourse when the amount of mucus starts to increase and not start again until at least 4 days after she observes the greatest amount.
Using the symptothermal method, a woman determines when an egg has been released by monitoring her vaginal discharge and also by taking her temperature each morning while she is still in bed. The temperature falls slightly before an egg is released and rises slightly after the egg is released. The woman also stays alert for other symptoms of egg release, such as slight cramping pain.
Overall, fewer than half of the doctors said that they mention the temperature method or the mucus method at least sometimes when discussing contraception with their patients. Forty percent said that they sometimes discuss the mucus method, and 54% said that they sometimes discuss the symptothermal method. In addition, the doctors underestimated the effectiveness of natural family planning. Only 22% knew that the best possible effectiveness of the two "rhythm" methods is greater than 90%, and only one third knew that the typical effectiveness is greater than 70%.
Many physicians seem to lack up-to-date information on natural family planning. Often, what they think they know is wrong is based on old or outdated information. Natural family planning has important advantages for many patients.
These include low cost, lack of side effects, education of women about their bodies, shared responsibility between female and male partners for family planning issues, and compatibility with religious or philosophical values of those who might not wish to use various contraceptive technologies. The methods can also help couples identify the best times to have intercourse, when the woman is most fertile.
Obstetrics & Gynecology November 1999;94:672-678.
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
I don?t believe that anyone should be on birth control pills. If you have any chronic illness, this is one of the first things you want to stop. This is even true for endometriosis. There are better ways to control endometriosis, such as optimizing hormone control with natural hormones. Many couples are fearful of pregnancy, but if one uses these methods properly one can have 90% effectiveness rates.
If one combines it with another method, such as a condom, than the effectiveness rates equals or exceeds that of birth control pills. I advise the purchase of an inexpensive microscope to aid in the prevention of pregnancy. It is completely reusable and helps one aid the evaluation of the cervical mucus, which helps one define the time of ovulation.