Natural Birth Control Risks And Benefits
Today there is a lot of emphasis on fertility and how to improve a couple’s chances of conceiving a baby. But what about that percentage of the population that doesn’t want a child? Maybe you are a woman, who has tried things like The Pill (oral contraceptives), or barrier methods, or any number of contraceptives on the market and find that they do not agree with you or your lifestyle. Maybe you are a young couple that is not quite ready for having tubes tied or snipped because later on you might change your mind and want a child. It is a difficult decision to make, yet you are smart enough to know that a child at this point in your life is not the right thing to do.
Natural birth control might be an option, but remember, nothing is failsafe and you need to do your research and talk to professionals before you embark on this decision. Many natural ways of dealing with contraception are popular, and they do work, but they take a lot of time and vigilance to make them work the way they should. Unless you practice your method of choice consistently, chances are you will end up pregnant.
Ideally, natural methods of birth control are best undertaken by couples in long-term relationships and require the participation of both partners, and none of the techniques available offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
Practicing natural birth control can have several benefits. To start with, women gain a better understanding of how their bodies work. You learn what your cycles are and why your body is doing certain things at certain times over the course of the month. Natural birth control has no side effects. You are not ingesting any medications that alter your body’s natural chemistry and forcing your body to do something against the grain.
These natural techniques are also inexpensive and don’t require a prescription month after month. Because both partners are involved in the process, the responsibility of natural birth control does not fall on one person or the other and can encourage bonding. Moreover, should you decide that you do want a child; you can use these methods to conceive.
Here are the most popular methods of natural birth control:
Standard Days Method (SDM): This method is fairly new and was developed by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University School of Medicine. The concept is simple; keep track of how long your menstrual cycle is and then during your most fertile part of the month (which is days 8 – 19) you abstain from sex. This method when followed to the letter is 95% effective.
Ovulation Method: This concept revolves around the consistency of cervical mucus. Researchers have found that the cervix is also affected by monthly changes and will have little to no mucus at the end of a woman’s period. As the cycle begins again, the cervix will be preparing for the possibility of fertilization and become thicker. When the body nears ovulation, the cervical mucus becomes thinner and stickier until the time of ovulation. At this point, the mucus will be clear and slippery, creating an ideal environment for sperm. On its own, this method is not as reliable as other methods and a back up method (such as condoms or the sponge) is recommended.
Rhythm/Calendar Method: This particular method is probably the least reliable of the methods available for natural birth control. For a couple to use this, the woman has to count back 14 days from the first day of her period to figure out when she would have ovulated. The problem is, ovulation occurs at different times for each woman, not all women fall into a nice, neat category of 14 days, especially if a woman has irregular periods.
Sympto-thermal Method: For this method you are going to have to take your temperature each morning before you get out of bed. There will be no getting up and puttering around the house first (or anything else for that matter). Before you even throw back those covers, you have to take your temperature and start charting it. Your temperature will fluctuate each day, generally staying in the 97.2F to 97.4F range. What you are looking for is a sudden spike in those numbers, often a full degree above 98F. This rise in temperature will indicate ovulation. Used correctly, and perfectly, the Sympto-thermal method can be 99% accurate.
These are only a handful of methods available. Do your research and talk to your doctor to decide which one is best for you and your partner.