Natural Birth Control

1:35 PM

As I continue to full-time breastfeed Oliver I realize the time will soon come that my "moon cycles" will return - growing up we called it Shark Week. (Hey if the benefit to your baby isn't enough, breastfeed purely for this fact. I haven't pulled out a Diva Cup since last November!) When I'm back on the cycles we'll need to have a solid choice for family planning. There are many things to consider.

The birth control pill is nastier than you think. Information about it isn't broadcast readily because pharmaceutical companies make a ton of money from it, and would hate for you find out that it is seriously toxic to the liver and can be to blame for bacterial infection in the body (causing candida, yeast infections, etc.) It also severely decreases nutrient absorption so a healthy diet turns slightly less healthy, when on the BCP. This includes all forms of chemical contraceptives, including the new rings and patches. They all use artificial hormone adjustment to prevent pregnancy. It just sounds bad doesn't it? Taking chemicals out of the running, what are the other choices, and which is best?

The first method to consider is sterilization. This should only be an option when you're 100% positive that you're done having children. Keep in mind your life goals and priorities can change at anytime so it's not a decision to make in your 30's. I don't know a lot about the surgery involved but it's worth asking what will be used to anesthetize you, what other chemicals may be used (i.e. antibiotics), what the lasting effect on your hormones will be, and what medications or treatments may be required for aftercare.

Copper IUDs use a physical method (mainly) of preventing conception. Some IUDs don't just create a barrier for the sperm, they actually rough up the uterine wall, and some even secrete hormones. It's worth checking into the one you're considering. They can be a pain to have "installed" and removed, and have annoying side effects like heavy and prolonged bleeding, and loss of sex drive. Other barrier methods include diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, and the ever famous condom.

I have a few problems with condoms. First of all they make the beautiful and natural act of sex kind of weird by involving a layer of latex between the people in the act. Whether that bugs you physically (most men) or just makes you feel off like me, you're making a good choice by declining them anyways: they are not planet-friendly! Using condoms creates major waste and the materials they are made with are not biodegradable. (Okay, new business venture anyone?) They also contribute to the spread of STDs because people think they are protected by them - newsflash - you aren't. There are vegan condoms out there, and even "all-natural" ones made of sheepskin. Sheepskin? Moving on!

Natural Family Planning is an amazing option. It involves a woman taking her body temperature every morning upon waking, and tracking it. Observing her cervical mucous can help also. (Ah, what the heck - we've already talked about Diva Cups, let's just go there.) This is also known as the fertility awareness method because you use the information to make an estimation of when you're fertile. From there you can choose to have sex on those days if you're trying to have a baby, or avoid having unprotected sex if you're not. Temperature charts are available online but I find the website www.fertilityfriend.com is the easiest to use. When starting it, use another form of birth control for the first 3 months or so just while you get the hang of it. There will only be about 6 days that you need to be careful, per month, so that's not terrible. (Is it?) Careful can mean using other methods during those days, so don't think I'm promoting some sort of weird part-time abstinence thing here. Some people also skip the temperatures/mucous part and just use a calender, but I'd only recommend that if you're cool with possibly having a surprise baby in 9 months. 

Everything considered, NFP is the most natural way to go. Best of luck with your babies or lack thereof!

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2 comments

  1. I read the book "Taking charge of your fertility" which talks in depth about basal body temperature, cervical fluid and position and ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant or not getting pregnant...whichever the case may be for you at the time ;)
    I was trying to get pregnant with my second while still nursing my first so my cycles were not even close to regular ( the cycle I got pregnant on was a 62 day long cycle!!) and I found charting and just paying attention to my body very easy and ocn I started charting I fell pregnant the very first cycle!

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  2. You and I should talk more! I am in the neighbourhood of trying for a 2nd but have no cycles as of yet even though my first is 14 months old now.

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