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Natural birth control Methods: And how to chart your cycle for birth control

The 3 natural birth control options have nothing to do with the pill or manipulating your hormone profile in any way. If you are anything like me and currently have an easy, pain free period, you don’t want to change that. Likewise, If you struggle with the side effects that come along with hormonal birth control try out one of these 3 options. All have proven to be just as effective as the pill!

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Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!

all natural birth control methods you can use instead of the pill!
all natural birth control methods for those who cannot be on the pill!

Birth control: More than just contraceptive

Hormonal contraceptives were made in the 1900s for the sole purpose of avoiding pregnancy (as it mentions in the name). It has recently been normalized to “fix” PMS problems and Acne. Some even take the pill to bring back your period if you have lost it. The pill does not regulate anything, it just puts a band aid over the a deeper hormonal issue.

Hormonal birth control causes mood swings, depression, anxiety, and low libido. You are not crazy and it’s not in your head, the pill does have an impact on mental health! For myself, these are all high prices to pay for the many years I need to be contraceptive. Luckily, research has been done between the 1900s and now that allows us women to have a choice. The pill is not your only option for birth control.

The main forms of all natural birth control are the barrier method, the Fertility awareness method, and the copper IUD. The copper IUD is controversial as it is “non-hormonal” but it can increase copper levels which in tern, increases estrogen.

I had the copper IUD for 3 month: read about my experience and why I removed it here

The barrier method of all natural birth control

This all natural birth control method includes the most commonly known, Condoms. You know those infamous rubber balloons everyone blew up in health class? Yeah, those. Condoms are reported to be around 88% effective. They are also the only forms of birth control that also protect against STDs.

Female condoms are similar and are placed inside the vagina to prevent sperm from entering the cervix. Female condoms are less effective than male condom as there is more room for human error when using them.

There is also the Cervical cap/diaphragm which is inserted into the woman’s vagina. It is placed over the cervix to prevent any sperm from entering the uterus. This method can be effective but is more prone to falling out of place than condoms.

Lastly, the sponge which soaks up the ejaculate which prevents any sperm from entering the uterus.

Out of the 3 barrier methods, male condoms are the most effective at preventing pregnancy.

all natural birth control method – the male condom also protects against STDs

Fertility awareness Method (FAM) for natural birth control

The fertility awareness method is a natural birth control method that is not widely known. I was at my doctor’s office the other day to get my copper IUD removed. We were exploring other options of birth control and Not once was FAM mentioned. A girlfriend of mine had the same experience as I am sure many of you do as well. FAM is looked upon as being very ineffective. It is if you are ignorant to the signs and symptoms of your body and ovulation. However, it can also be 98% effective. If you are willing to learn and abide by the rules that come with charting your cycle.

FAM is essentially tracking your cycle to detect when your fertile window is. Your fertile window is the 5 days leading up ovulation and ovulation day. There are a few ways to detect when ovulation is approaching.

Firstly, FAM can only be used if you have a regular period. Irregular periods are exceedingly difficult to navigate and know when ovulation occurs. Secondly, there are 2 main phases of the menstrual cycle, Follicular and luteal. The follicular phase preps an egg and ovulation is when that egg has been released. The luteal phase happens after the egg has been released.

An egg can only survive in your body for 12-24 hours without fertilization from sperm.

However, sperm can survive in your body for up to 5 days if the conditions (cervical fluid) are ideal. Ideal cervical fluid is watery, or egg white consistency. Anything that resembles thick or non existent cervical fluid is infertile and sperm will die.

The FAM method you may know is the rhythm method for birth control

The rhythm method for natural birth control is the least effective but also takes the least amount of effort. I personally do not recommend it for the purpose of birth control. This method assumes ovulation happens on day 14-15 which is very rarely true. I ovulate on day 18 and I only know that because I use a more effective method of fam, The Sympto-thermal method.

The rhythm method is great for getting to know your body and which phase you are in! It can be used to understand overall health, PMS, and know when your next period will be. However, for the purpose of birth control, I would use a more detailed form of fertility awareness.

The Sympto-thermal method of all natural birth control

This method of natural birth control is very effective if used correctly and the rules are followed. This method is when you would chart your cycle. There are many apps out there to help with data entry or you can enter it manually on pen and paper. To use this method correctly, you would need to take your BBT (basal body temperature) with a BBT thermometer as it is more accurate than a normal thermometer.

How to use the symptoms-thermal method for natural birth control

Every morning before getting out of bed, you would take your temperature under your tongue. In the follicular phase, your temperature should range from 97.2 F to 97.8 F. When your ovaries releases the egg, progesterone will be produced and raise your metabolism. This increase in metabolism will cause a noticeable increase in BBT and will be detected by the thermometer! Your luteal phase temperature should read between 98.7 F and 98.3 F.

Since an egg can only last 12-24 hours in your body without fertilization. Therefore, unprotected sex is safe after 3 consecutive days of high temps. After 3 days, the egg has been release and has died. No egg = no pregnancy.

Alcohol or poor sleep can also mess with data (make temps higher). If your hungover or had 2 hours of sleep, just cancel out that day’s temp. These factors will cause a spike in temp which is not ovulation.

The rule is: unprotected sex is safe the night of the 3rd day of consecutive high temperatures.

In addition to this rule, another rule applies which states: unprotected sex is safe the first 5 days of your cycle (day 1 is the start of your period) IF you ovulated 12-16 days prior to the start of your period. If you have had any cycles shorter than 25 days, the rule still applies, however, you are only safe the first 3 days.

below is an example of temperatures pre and post ovulation.

The second thing to look for is cervical mucus.

You know the “wetness” you feel down south from time to time? Not the kind you get when aroused, but the kind you find in your panties when you use the washroom. That is the cervical fluid I am referencing. During your period cervical mucus can be masked by blood. However afterwards you may notice a dry spell followed by sticky mucus. Then wet egg white mucus around ovulation followed by another dry spell. The dry spells are considered infertile days. To be sure of dry days, it is best to do an internal check. To internally check, rub a clean finger over the cervix to detect if it is a dry day.

Cervical mucus rule: on the evening of every dry day, unprotected sex is considered safe.

In addition to this rule, another rule applies which states: you are safe to have unprotected sex 4 days after your “peak” day (peak day is the most fertile mucus day). this rule implies ovulations would have already occurred. Peak mucus is the day you experience the most cervical mucus during your cycle.

You may use either temperature or cervical fluid to determine ovulation. However, to get the most effective use of the sympto-thermal method you must use both.

Therefore, the last and final rule is: “peak mucus +4 days” and “raise in temp + 3 days” must be satisfied before you are considered infertile.

all natural birth control video by Cats Culp – she explained the method so well!

Finally, The copper IUD as “natural” birth control

This is a controversial topic as I have had the copper IUD and would not consider it “natural”. However, there are no hormones in it. I have spoke to many women with it and they have loved it for years. However, I had it for a few months and did not want to deal with the side effects any longer.

Read more about my copper IUD experience: HERE

In short, the copper IUD releases copper ions into the uterus to create a toxic environment for sperm and an egg. There have been studies that show a copper iud can increase one’s copper levels in the body which in tern raises estrogen levels. Therefore, estrogen dominance is an issue I had.

The hormonal IUD does have progestin in it which is a reason I opted for the copper. However, the progestin released is quite minimal and only stops about 15% of your cycles, so that is also an option if you want something super low maintenance. Do note I have had a few women mention some mood swings and anxiety when on the hormonal IUD. I would suggest doing your research before embedding anything into your body.

In conclusion

To close things up, I personally use the symptom-thermal method of natural birth control. I find it empowering to learn about and know my body well. It does take work and practice so if you are unwilling to do so, I would suggest against it.

There are so many forms of contraceptive out there. This is just some insight on the natural forms I have used, or I enjoy using. I know so many women who struggle with their mental health on the pill and I would love to let you know about the options you have! Maybe some your doctor may not have mentioned.

let me know what birth control method you use and why in the comments below

until next time
Hailee xx

For more information on fertility awareness, check out “Taking charge of your fertility”. It is a game changing book for those what want to learn about the menstrual cycle.

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