Natural Birth Control Vs. Other Methods
Women commonly learn about traditional birth control methods, such as condoms or the birth control pill but are not typically educated on natural birth control options. Natural birth control refers to methods that do not require medication or barrier options, such as condoms, to prevent pregnancy. Natural birth control or fertility awareness methods can be up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy when properly utilized. In comparison, condoms are about 82% effective at preventing pregnancy, while the most effective way to prevent pregnancy is to abstain from sexual intercourse entirely. Three natural birth control methods are the Standard Days Method, Basal Temperature, and Cervical Fluid. Understanding how your body works, especially regarding your fertility, is a rewarding and informative experience.
Standard Days Method
The Standard Days Method is a version of the Calendar Method. This method relies on abstaining or using a barrier method of birth control during specific days of your menstrual cycle. Since you are fertile up to five days before and on the day of ovulation, the Standard Days method provides a guideline for certain days to abstain from sexual intercourse to avoid pregnancy. Days 8-19 of your cycle are considered “unsafe” to have unprotected sex if you avoid pregnancy. This method is only reliable if consistent cycle lengths are 26-32 days. This method is unreliable for natural birth control if you have irregular cycles.
Basal Body Temperature
The second option to help you determine the most fertile days of the month is a more measurable and objective method of measuring your basal body temperature (BBT). This method requires you to measure your temperature every morning using a BBT thermometer. The second option to help you determine the most fertile days of the month is a more measurable and objective method of measuring your basal body temperature (BBT). This method requires you to measure your temperature every morning using a BBT thermometer.
After ovulation, your basal body temperature increases by about 0.5-1 degree due to the hormone progesterone. This method tracks this temperature increase, which confirms ovulations. Keep in mind that monitoring your BBT only confirms ovulation after it occurs and not before. If you’re sick, breastfeeding, or unable to get four consecutive hours of sleep per night, this method will not be as reliable. You may want to pair BBT tracking with monitoring your cervical fluid, described below.
Cervical mucus is a fluid produced by the cervix, and the consistency changes throughout your menstrual cycle as ovulation approaches. Right after your period ends, the cervical fluid is likely to be dry or sticky, but as you get closer to your mid-cycle, the discharge will change to be more wet and slippery, which indicates fertility. By monitoring your cervical fluid, you can know when to expect ovulation before it happens. Many like to pair cervical fluid monitoring with BBT for the best results. This is called the sympto-thermal method of natural birth control.
Questions About Natural Birth Control?
While not having sexual intercourse is the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy, the natural birth control approach can be a more holistic option than traditional methods for those trying to avoid pregnancy. This fertility awareness approach is also an option for those wishing to become pregnant. We hope this information supports and encourages you. Schedule a free consultation with Clearway Clinic with any concern about pregnancy or pregnancy-related questions.