Since the days of middle school sex education, natural birth control has been considered risky, to say the least. Most sex educators will give you cautionary tales of young girls getting catapulted into young motherhood for relying on the incredibly unreliable withdrawal method. But natural family planning has come a very long way.
Natural Family Planning
Although the withdrawal method is still widely considered foolish, natural family planning is starting to become widely adopted by many women who desire to leave the world of estrogen supported birth control behind. From mood swings, weight gain and even death as side effects of being on the pill and other hormonal contraceptives; and increased conception time once you come off of it — it’s no wonder women are looking for alternatives when it comes to birth control.
Natural family planning, also called fertility awareness, is the only method of birth control that doesn’t rely on any medications, patches, or other synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. Natural family planning forces women to be more in tune with their bodies, their cycles, and they have to educate themselves on when they are fertile and infertile.
When you use natural family planning correctly and consistently, it’s possible to prevent pregnancy in 90 percent of the time. In order to avoid getting pregnant, you have to diligently track and record your basal body temperature, pay attention to your cervical mucus, and you must avoid having sex during the fertile window each month.
For the most dedicated among us, calendar tracking proves successful as a method of natural family planning. You can use an old-fashioned calendar to do this, or just a period calendar app on your iPhone or another electronic device. After a few months of tracking your periods, you will get an idea of your average cycle length, the date that you ovulate (which is usually 14 days before your period starts), and your fertile period during that month.
If you do not want to get pregnant, you should avoid having sex during your fertile window.
If you want an even more reliable and natural way to prevent pregnancy, there are fertility monitors and other devices that can help you learn when you are fertile and when you are infertile.
The most reputable of these fertility monitor devices are 99.3% effective; and they work by measuring our basal body temperature with an advanced temperature sensor. They are like glorified baby breathalyzers – red means stop (you’re fertile), yellow mean slow down (the device is in its learning phase) and green means go for it (you’re infertile so enjoy having sex)!
Devices such as the Lady Comp Fertility Monitor come with a Pearl Index of 0.7, which is the means of measuring the effectiveness of birth control; and a 0.7 is the same effectiveness as the pill. And, like the pill, its effectiveness depends on the administration; but unlike the pill, the administration and use of this device is completely up to us, empowering, no? Yes!
Fertility monitor devices account for several factors, including a night out on the town; although alcohol raises our body temperature, with these devices missing a day isn’t the end of the world; because it smartly stores recent information. And these devices account for semen’s maximum life span of 5 days; and then use that time frame when giving a reading of red, yellow or green.
The only caution is for those who are taking certain medications as some medication can spike body temperature enough to skew readings; in those instances, a backup method of birth control is recommended.
So when do you take your temperature? As soon as you wake; and some devices, such as The Lady Comp, double as an alarm clocks, making absolutely certain that you don’t forget to take your temperature. Another use for a fertility device is knowing when your period is coming.
Before I started using the Lady Comp, my periods would sneak up on me; I would wonder why I was irritable with the appetite of an Alaskan king crab fisherman, now I know exactly why I feel the way I do; and I am prepared with supplies, just in case aunt flow shows up in the middle of my work day.
Whether you are on the pill, the patch or the ring, natural birth control is something you should look into. If there is a method to prevent pregnancy without the use of hormones, why not check it out?
Special Thanks to My Guest Blogger
Bianca Osbourne is a freelance writer, with a focus on female health and wellness; she writes passionately about the different types of birth control; and the best foods to eat for your skin and overall wellness.