The conversation about birth control options typically revolves around hormonal birth control. The Pill, Depo-Provera, and IUDs are considered the only form of reliable birth control for many women. However, there are natural methods to use as a form of birth control, with some being more effective than others. Here are a few non-hormonal birth control alternatives to consider instead of standard hormonal products.
Withdrawal, otherwise known as the “pull out method”, is when the man removes his penis from the vagina before he ejaculates. In theory, this method is supposed to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. There are some benefits to this method, including not having to wear a condom, but it is one of the least effective forms of non-hormonal birth control. Withdrawal has about a 78% effective rate – which means 22 women out of 100 that use the pull-out method will get pregnant.
DIAPHRAGM AND SPERMICIDE
The next two options work when used together. If male condoms are not an option, a diaphragm works similarly. A diaphragm is a cup usually made out of rubber or silicone material with the purpose of preventing sperm from entering the cervix. Once you insert the diaphragm, it can be left for up to 24 hours. This is a great option for non-hormonal birth control that is more effective – about 88% – at preventing pregnancy. However, spermicide is necessary if you use a diaphragm for birth control.
Spermicide works by killing the sperm that make their way to fertilize an egg. The combination of spermicide and a diaphragm together is about as effective as a condom, although it does require more planning. However, this is still a good alternative to hormonal birth control.
FERTILITY AWARENESS METHOD
The Fertility Awareness Method, or “FAM”, is a method in which a woman charts signals from her body that predict times of fertility and confirm ovulation. Out of the three methods in this post, when used correctly, FAM is just as effective. FAM involves tracking physical markers of fertility like changes in cervical mucus and basal body temperature (BBT). The major benefit to FAM is that there are no products to insert – unless you want to use a backup method during fertile days – and it’s free to start tracking. Although it does take time to learn how to check for certain signs, once it becomes a habit, following FAM can be empowering for many women. It’s important to note that FAM is not the same as “the rhythm method”, which involves using the calendar to pinpoint ovulation instead of other signs. FAM is most effective when followed closely and might not be a good option if you cannot or simply don’t want to learn how to check for cervical mucus changes or take your temperature every morning right when you wake up.
Want to know more about non-hormonal birth control options? Schedule a free consultation with one of our Advocates at our Worcester or Springfield locations.