Written by: Hanna Pumfrey
Natural Birth Control: What Options Do We Have?
Natural methods of birth control or fertility awareness are often confused with the old “rhythm method.” But, we’ve come a long way since that was discovered! Nowadays, there are many all-natural options that combine the best of tech and nature, to let you stay pregnancy-free. Here we highlight the top three, as we see them.
Tune into your natural cycle
Women can get pregnant during six days of each cycle: the fertile days. These days include ovulation, but also how long sperm can survive within the body. How are these fertile days identified? During the menstrual cycle, women’s body temperatures rise and fall slightly. This is due to changes in progesterone hormone levels. Using apps such as Natural Cycles, it is possible to keep track of your basal body temperature, and know where you are in your cycle. This is the temperature your body reaches when it is at rest. Ovulation causes a slight, but noticeable, rise in body temperature, which can be tracked over time. By measuring your temperature every morning, over several months, you learn to recognize your own fertility pattern. This is a way to pinpoint the day of ovulation, so that sex can be avoided before and after peak ovulation days.
Many women are often put off by this method, as it can seem like you are leaving a lot open to chance, but clinical studies have shown that using apps like Natural Cycles as a contraceptive is comparable to other more conventional methods.
Have you ever read the ingredient list on the back of a box of condoms? If you’ve ever been left feeling sore or irritated after sex, it could be time to look at the ingredients. Most mainstream condom manufacturers use glycerin, spermicides, nitrosamine (a carcinogen found in most condoms), and other questionable chemicals, for both the lubricant, and the condom itself. It doesn’t have to be that way though. There are now more and more brands on the market formulating condoms from natural, non-toxic ingredients.
Check out market leaders, Sustain Natural and Glyde. They create nitrosamine-free and Fair Trade condoms that are good for your vagina.
Diaphragms are a tried and tested natural method that have been around for years. Although the diaphragm was one of the most popular forms of birth control for the better part of the last century, many women don’t know a lot about them today. The good news is that now they are easier to use, and more effective than ever. When used correctly, a diaphragm is 92-96% effective at preventing pregnancy.
The diaphragm fits inside your vagina, and acts like a barrier to prevent sperm passing through to the cervix. Today, diaphragms only need to be left in the vagina for six hours after sex, rather than be fitted by a doctor and left in permanently. The number one benefit of the diaphragm, as with all natural forms of contraception, is that your hormones are not affected. It is important to remember though, that the diaphragm should never be left inside the vagina for more than 24 hours!
Despite organic and natural products becoming a huge focus in many areas of our lives, birth control is an area where many of us still default to pharmaceuticals. Today, with advancements in technology, there are many natural options that combine the best of tech and nature to let you stay pregnancy-free. Go forth and explore the world of natural contraceptives. It could well breathe new energy into your sex life.