You’re not quite ready for a baby and not quite comfortable with contraceptives, what do you do? Prevent pregnancy naturally by learning your bodies signs.
If a couple is not at the family planning stage, then they need to be talking about pregnancy prevention, which is more than just “pull and pray.” Whether a couple is advancing to the level of physical intimacy or has been married for over a decade, pregnancy prevention is an important discussion.
Most people know that condoms are an option when considering contraceptives, but many women and men don’t know the different methods of natural pregnancy prevention available. Here are some research-based methods of natural pregnancy prevention that can help strengthen the bonds of affection and communication in a relationship.
Six weeks after I birthed my second daughter, I celebrated my 40th birthday. While I adore both of my babies, I knew that I did not want to ever be pregnant again. Ever. More than anything, I feared getting pregnant and that fear drove me to shut myself off from my husband.
In developed nations, there are a range of choices available to many women like condoms, the birth control pill and IUD, but my body had already been through two births. My husband and I mulled over our options, but neither of us was comfortable with either of the more reliable procedures—tubal ligation or vasectomy.
In fact, there are many other proven methods of pregnancy prevention that do not require contraception, medication or procedures.
Amy Sedgwick, co-founder and holistic reproductive health practitioner (HRHP), Red Tent Sisters, offers holistic fertility, sexuality and contraceptive solutions. Sedgwick said, “‘Natural Pregnancy Prevention’ is a broad term that has various meanings for everyone. For me, it means a man or a woman not needing to put anything in or on their body in order to avoid getting pregnant.”
Another term included in the category of natural pregnancy prevention is, “‘Non-hormonal Contraception’ which would include things like barrier methods. My preferred form of natural birth control is FAM: Fertility Awareness Methods,” according to Sedgwick.
For many women, the desire to conceive a child drives them to learn about the menstrual cycle and how and when a woman’s body is able to conceive, but understanding the biology of the woman’s body is key to natural pregnancy prevention.
Sedgwick went on to explain, “I use and teach the Justisse Method of Fertility Management which is a secular, sex-positive approach to FAM. It is a form of contraception because it reduces the chances of a woman conceiving. It is based on physiologically proven signs of fertility that tell a woman whether or not she is capable of supporting sperm survival in her body at any given time.”
By tracking the vaginal mucus and basal body temperature, Sedgwick said, “a woman can then choose to either abstain from vaginal intercourse on those days, or use another form of contraception (e.g., a condom, cervical cap, withdrawal) or some combination of those to prevent pregnancy.”
Though developing this intimate knowledge of her own body seems like a practice a woman can do on her own, Sedgwick advised, “Reproductive health conditions like coming off hormonal birth control, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, thyroid conditions, can make using FAM more challenging. For this reason it is especially important that women get professional support in interpreting their FAM menstrual cycle charts to correctly identify fertile and infertile days.”
The average menstrual cycle is between 28 and 32 days. I learned that when I was trying to get pregnant; and each time I got pregnant, it was because I knew my cycle and my body. The same is true for the many, many times that I did not get pregnant. We were deliberately avoiding getting pregnant. Cycle Technologies, is a leading consumer products and online service company focused on helping women plan and prevent pregnancy naturally.
Though one can use a calendar or an app to track her cycle, there is also a wearable visual aid called CycleBeads, designed to make tracking easier. CycleBeads noted, “Whether you want to prevent pregnancy naturally or learn how to plan a pregnancy, these family planning tools make natural birth control easy and effective.”
If the concept of tracking the menstrual cycle to determine the least likely time of ovulation sounds familiar, it’s because it’s more commonly referred to as the rhythm method. Megan Brown, DONA International Labor and Birth Doula said, “Like all birth control, the rhythm method is not 100% effective. It starts with educating yourself with the proper evidence-based literature about how biology and conception works.”
Using a calendar and beads to understand the cycle of menstruation can be as reliable for planning pregnancy as it is for preventing pregnancy depending on the regularity of a woman’s cycle. Brown said, “A great book that breaks down the generalization of the menstrual cycle is A Cooperative Method of Natural Birth Control by Margaret Notzinger.”
Not only is cycle tracking a natural pregnancy prevention tool, but it also has benefits for both women and their relationships, said Brown. “It is not chemically altering. It involves both partners, not just one, and it facilitates a deeper understanding of the body’s amazing capabilities and vulnerabilities,” Brown said.
Sedgwick agreed, noting the many benefits of FAM include, “reduced risk of side effects from hormonal birth control (depression, low libido, weight gain, mood changes, blood clots, death), greater understanding of her body, increased autonomy and conscious decision making with regards to sexual activity and informed decision making.”
Understanding the bodies that work together in the art of sex can only serve to deepen the intimate connection between partners in a relationship. Discovering the method of natural birth control that works best in a partnership will strengthen the bond between lovers and make planning for conception easier if and when a couple decides they are ready.
[image: via pexels]