Contraception includes various methods which can be applied by couples to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Today, there are numerous types of artificial contraceptives available in the market and the couple can use any one of them to avoid pregnancy. If the couples don’t want to use any of the artificial contraceptives like Condoms, pills, Creams or any other artificial measures then they can also rely on natural methods of birth control which has been practised by people since ages known. Natural methods of contraception or birth control rely on those types of measures which does not involve any use of modern medications or artificial device top stop pregnancy. Instead, this process depends on behavioural practice or making an overall observation about the body of a woman and the menstruation process.
If you want to know more about the natural methods birth control then, first of all, you need to have an idea about what your options are or what sort of things are involved in the process. You should also understand the limitations and drawbacks. It is necessary to know that natural process of birth control is not a sure and certain method of contraception. It is necessary to make sure that both partners are committed to adopting a particular measure for contraception because if one of the partners is not committed then the contraception may not work.
The natural methods of birth control are not based on any medicines, doctors or medical devices. They are totally based on your own body. The best thing about natural birth control measures is that they are cheap or free, safe and effective to use in the right way. However, the point to note is that it is not easy to use these methods in the correct manner. Fertility Awareness basically refers to the set of different methods which are used to predict the safe and unsafe days in the menstrual cycle of a woman. It is necessary to skip having sex on those days when there are high chances of getting pregnant. Fertility awareness is useful because it helps to prevent pregnancy and also to get pregnancy. It is also beneficial in taking good care of gynaecological health. The different measures adopted under Fertility awareness are rhythm method, basal body temperature method, cervical mucus method and standard days method.
Fertility awareness sounds quite easy but it is not as easy as it seems. It is difficult to precisely determine the safe and unsafe days because the period may not happen on exact regular dates. There is 24 % chance of getting pregnant while adopting means by Fertility awareness. But on the same note, there is 18 % chance of getting pregnant while using a male condom and 12 % while using a diaphragm. Using Birth control pills, contraceptive patch or vaginal ring have 9% chances of failure while there is less than 1% chance of getting pregnant even if you implant an IUD.
Types of natural methods of birth control
There are many natural methods of birth control.
This method may be an ancient practice for birth control but it is not easy to practice. Rhythm Method can create a lot of confusion so preventing pregnancy by using this method is not so easy. You need to do a lot of homework and preparation because you need to keep the record of your period dates of 6- 12 months before making a start. The same information can be used and some calculations need to be done to determine the fertile and infertile period in the month.
The formula to determine the fertile days in Rhythm method is as mentioned below:
- On the basis of the shortest cycle: You need to subtract 18 from a total number of days in the shortest cycle. For example, if the shortest cycle is 25 days long, subtract 18 from 25 — which equal 7. Here, the first day of your cycle means the first day of menstrual bleeding and the seventh day of your cycle is the first fertile day.
- On the basis of the longest cycle: You need to subtract 11 from total days in the longest menstrual cycle. The number indicates the last fertile day in the cycle. For example, if the longest cycle is 32 days then you need to subtract 11 from 32. The result is 21. In this case, the first day of the menstrual cycle is the first day of menstrual bleeding and the 21st day of the cycle is the last day of fertility.
- Be more careful on the fertile days: If you want to avoid pregnancy then you have to be extra careful while having sex during the fertile days of the month. Don’t involve in sex without protection in those days. But if you are looking forward to having a baby then you can plan to have sex during the fertile period.
- Get regularly updated with the period details each month: Keep a regular record of the total length of the menstrual period and overall cycle to be precise about the exact fertile days.
It is important to remember that various factors can play a role in determining the days of ovulation. Illness or stress can play a role in delaying the periods or early occurrence. Different conditions like thyroid disorder, eating disorder, weight loss, weight gain, drug abuse or intense exercise can make a huge impact. If the menstrual cycle is irregular because of these reasons then Rhythm method may not be quite a reliable method to adopt. Nowadays, there are technological mediums like mobile apps which can come in handy adopting Rhythm method but still, it is hard to apply to perfection.
Standard Days Method
Standard Days Method is quite similar to the rhythm method but it is much simpler to use. In this method, the same number of days (8- 19) days are used as fertile days for everyone. This is why it is a much easier method. There are various apps available which can make it easier to track the days similarly beads can also be used for that purpose. This method works well only under condition if the menstruation period is between 26- 32 days.
Cervical Mucus Method
In this method, the mucus in the cervix is checked at different time periods during the cycle. There will be very little mucus in the cervix after the period while there can be a lot of mucus at the ovulating time. The colour and texture of the mucus can also change at different times in the cycle. These hints can help you to determine the time of ovulation. On the fertile days, the mucus in the cervix can be rather slippery, clear and stretchy like the white part of an egg. A tissue or finger can be used to check the mucus. Keeping a chart regularly can be of good help to keep a record of the changes in different time of periodic circle. It will be easier to find out exactly when to skip having sex in that way.
Basal Body Temperature Method
Keeping a daily record of the body temperature can be a way to know about the fertile days. A device called basal body temperature thermometer can be used to find out the body temperature at the same time every day. During the ovulation phase, the temperature of the body goes up by 1 degree F. Sore breasts, bloating or backaches are other common symptoms when a woman is ovulating. However, this method of birth control is not reliable at all because there are times when the temperature of a body may go up because of other reasons too. The temperature may also rise because of other factors such as fever, illness, alcoholic consumption and stress. Similarly travelling to a different time zone or sleeping in a colder or warmer room than usual times may also cause the body basal temperature to rise up. These are the reasons why basal body temperature method is difficult to use and not reliable as well.
The withdrawal method is another commonly practised method of natural contraception. It is also known as coitus interruption method. It is that method in which pregnancy is avoided by avoiding the meeting of the sperm with the egg. For this purpose, the pulling out method is applied in which the man has to pull his penis out of the vagina before ejaculation. A lot of self-control is necessary for this method because one can’t predict the exact time for ejaculation during the sexual excitement. The woman can still be pregnant even if the man pulls out in time. Health care providers would not recommend this method because there are 22 % chances of getting pregnant while using this method.
Breastfeeding method also known as lactational amenorrhea is a method of natural birth control which works for the first six months after having a baby and if you still haven’t had your periods. It is also necessary to fully breastfeed the baby without the use of any formula or bottles. Every day around four hours and six hours every night should be spent in nursing the child. During this phase, the body doesn’t release the egg but the above-mentioned conditions should be met. You should start using other contraceptives if the periods begin or after the baby turns six months old.
Herbal Birth Control
There are many natural herbs which are said to be linked up as a natural medium of birth control. A lot of research has not done in this regard to verifying the claims. The FDA also hasn’t approved any of the claims regarding the effectiveness of natural herbs in preventing pregnancy. However, the following natural herbs are said to be an effective measure for birth control. The herbs are Neem, Gossypols, Thunder god vine, Castor bean, Evodia or wild carrots. These herbs and herbal products are said to stop the body from releasing the egg or they are also said to prevent the body from fertilizing the egg. Similarly, the use of these herbs may block the fertilized egg to implant in the womb. It is important to note that some of the herbal products may be toxic so it may be necessary to consult a doctor before using them.