To read the first part, go to Natural Contraception Methods
There are many natural contraception method options:
- Periodic abstinence;
- The symptothermal method;
- Mucus inspection method;
- Ovulation indication testing kits
- Withdrawal method
- Lactation infertility
Periodic abstinence requires menstrual regularity, precise calculations to identify ovulation or fertilisation risks on the calendar, and strong discipline. However, even with the best discipline, ovulation can occur an unplanned time during the cycle. Abstinence alone is not a contraceptive method that will work all the time.
The Symptothermal Method
The symptothermal method identifies the time of ovulation through taking your basal temperature in bed each morning at the same time. Your temperature, which discretely rises, will tell you when you are fertile. However, some clinical situations can also increase your basal temperature and confuse your normal readings. For example, a simple cold can distort your observations and make it challenging to identify your fertility period.
Mucus Inspection Method
Observing vaginal mucus is a natural method for birth control. This method, which is also known as the Billings method, can help identify ovulation. The quantity and characteristics of the mucus changes depending on the cycle period (before, during and after ovulation). You also have to be aware that many things can also modify mucus, including sexual desire, sperm and vaginal infections.
Ovulation Indication Testing Kits
Some devices can help identify ovulation, such as testing kits, but they are pretty expensive. Over an extended period, several times a month, it can become costly. And there are risks associated with manufacturer defects, expired products, inadequate use or a false result.
The withdrawal method can also be seen as a natural contraceptive method, but semen released before ejaculation contains sperm. Even if there is no full ejaculation inside the vagina, pregnancy may occur. Alone, this method fails 22% of the time.
Breastfeeding can be seen as a natural method of birth control for the first six months after childbirth. To be successful, the mother needs to exclusively breastfeed her baby, breastfeed on demand and show no signs of menstruation.
But you should know that a woman can ovulate without being menstruated. So it is difficult to plan for periods when she may be at risk of becoming pregnant again. This method is more or less effective if the baby sleeps for long periods or if the baby is bottle-fed, even occasionally. This can influence hormonal return and consequently, ovulation.
In conclusion, among these natural contraceptive methods, the scientific community recognises the symptothermal method as being by far the best natural birth control method when combined with mucus inspection. Together, the protective effect is similar to oral contraceptives, as long as the couple is appropriately informed, understands the principles and applies them fully.
You can also combine natural contraceptive alternatives with barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragms. However, there is no evidence that it provides additional protection to the symptothermal method. These options, combined with more natural birth control, can help reassure parents who are scared about having another unplanned baby within a short period.
If you would like to learn about the benefits of natural methods, please read The Benefits of Natural Contraception Methods.