Looking for natural methods of birth control? Not interested in IUDs, birth control pills, and condoms. After all, using these devices can seem like a burden at times (and painful if you opt for an IUD). So let’s discuss a few facility awareness methods to avoid pregnancy naturally.
What’s Fertility Awareness?
Fertility awareness (aka “FAM”) is the use of methods to monitor your ovulation and prevent pregnancy. It is also known as “natural family planning” or “the rhythm method”.
FAMs are approximately 76-88% efficient. So this means that approximately 12-24 couples who use FAMs each year will become pregnant, depending on the method used. They work even better if you combine multiple FAMs.
The more you know how to use FAMs correctly, such as keeping track of your fertility and not using birth control on unsafe days or sex, the more effective they will be. Note that even if you use FAMs correctly, there is still a possibility that you will get pregnant.
Because they are difficult to use, fertility awareness methods may not work as well as other traditional forms of birth control. Let’s take a look at the most popular fertility awareness methods.
Preventing Pregnancy Naturally
There are a few ways to prevent pregnancy. These methods require a lot of planning and attention to detail.
1. Practice the Start-Stop Method
This method involves penis stimulation until your male partner feels he is about to climax. Before he does you will stop the stimulation for about 20 to 30 seconds. Once he regains his control, begin stimulation again. It’s important that your male partner does not ejaculate inside of you.
This requires practice and the risk of the sperm entering the vaginal canal. This is why it is better to combine this with other proven contraceptive methods.
2. Monitor your basal body temperature
Basal body temperature is a method of natural family planning and refers to your temperature at rest. Ovulation can cause a slight rise in basal temperature. The two to three days prior to your temperature rising are the best time for you to have sex. You may be able to predict when your ovulation will occur by tracking your basal temperature every day. This could help you predict when you are most likely to conceive.
You can also use the basal temperature method to determine which days you should avoid unprotected sexual activity if you want to avoid getting pregnant.
After your period is over, you can begin to track your basal body temperature daily. The temperature rises when ovulation starts and peaks on the day it ends. A period of high fertility is when a woman’s body temperature drops between 12 and 24 hours before her egg is released.
If you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, it is best to not have any intercourse during this period. The period is from the temperature dropping to 48 to 72 hours after it returns back to normal.
3. Have sex during your menstrual cycle (aka “stirring the paint”)
It is unlikely that you will get pregnant if you have sex during your period. This is because you have a few days before your ovulation, which decreases your chances of becoming pregnant. Avoid the ovulation days which are usually two weeks before your period. It is a good idea to speak to a fertility specialist to track your ovulation days, and schedule your intercourse accordingly.
4. Monitoring Cervical Discharge
The cervical mucus method can be used to plan your family naturally. The cervical mucus method is based upon careful observation of your menstrual cycle’s mucus patterns.
Cervical secretions can change before ovulation–helping sperm to travel through the cervix and uterus to the egg. Recognizing changes in cervical mucus can help you pinpoint when your ovulation is likely and when you are most likely to conceive.
The cervical mucus method can be used to help you determine the best times to have sex if you are trying to get pregnant. The cervical mucus method is a great way to avoid pregnancy.
Motivation and perseverance are required to use the cervical mucus method of birth control. You and your partner should not have sex during your fertile months.
5. Withdrawal or “Pull Out” Method
The withdrawal method refers to the method in which your male partner removes his penis from your vagina before he ejaculates Withdrawal is the only method of birth control that you have. Due to the performance control needed to perform this method successfully and the fact that “pre-cum” can contain sperm, the risk of getting pregnant with this method is about 22/100.
Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle to Prevent Pregnancy
The peak years of a woman’s reproductive life are in her late teens or late 20s. At age 30, fertility (the ability of a woman to get pregnant) begins to decline. So you are most first during your teens through your mid 30s. At age 45, fertility potential is very low and most women are unable to get pregnant naturally.
So are looking to avoid getting pregnant naturally, remember that your menstrual cycle starts on the first day you have your period. It continues until the first day after your next period. This is when you are most likely to become pregnant.
Although it is unlikely you will get pregnant right after your period, it does happen. Remember that sperm can sometimes live in the body for as long as 7 days after sex. If you ovulate earlier than usual, it might be possible to become pregnant.
This is especially true if your menstrual cycle is short. If you do not want to get pregnant, you should use contraception whenever you have sex.
Note that there is no safe time in the month when you can have sex with contraception and not be at risk of becoming pregnant. There are certain times during your menstrual cycle that you’re at the most fertile. This is when you’re most likely to conceive.