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Girl Talk: Natural Contraceptive Methods

Posted Oct 28 2012 1:40am

….Disclaimer… is not my intent in this post such as this to give medical advice, but to present info on health technology since it is advancing so rapidly, thus helping us stay informed stay informed, allowing us to ask doctors intelligent questions, so we can effectively and interactively participate in the decision making pertaining to our own health and well being.

My ex-girlfriend from 4 or 5 years back was a diabetic and could not use "the pill". Luckily, someone suggested to us to look into natural alternatives to the pill, and although she was not the type to dive in and research all that stuff, she used to call me "The King of Research", and of course I dived in to see what could find out on her behalf.

I'm always daring to go where no man has gone before :)

In simple terms, all methods of birth control are based on either preventing a man's sperm from reaching and entering a woman's egg (fertilization) or preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the woman's uterus (her womb) and starting to grow. New methods of birth control are being developed and tested all the time. And what is appropriate for a couple at one point may change with time and circumstances. Unfortunately, no birth control method, except abstinence, is considered to be 100% effective.

Although a subject for another blog post, there are many concerns pertaining to "the pill". From certain perspectives, it is the most practical approach to birth control, but there are growing concerns pertaining to the dangers of taking the pill .

The fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are based upon knowing when a woman ovulates each month. In order to use a FAM, it is necessary to watch for the signs and symptoms that indicate ovulation has occurred or is about to occur.

On the average, the egg is released about 14 (plus or minus 2) days before a woman's next menstrual period. But because the egg survives 3 to 4 days (6 to 24 hours after ovulation) and the sperm can live 48 to 72 hours (up to even 5 days in fertile mucus), the actual time during which a woman may become pregnant is measured not in hours, not in days, but in weeks.

FAMS can be up to 98% effective, but they require a continuous and conscious commitment with considerable monitoring and self-control. Although these methods were developed to prevent pregnancy, they can equally well be used by a couple to increase fertility and promote conception.

The basal body temperature (BBT) method is based upon the fact that a woman's temperature drops 12 to 24 hours before an egg is released from her ovary and then increases again once the egg has been released. Unfortunately, this temperature difference is not very large. It is less than 1 degree F (about a half degree C) in the body at rest.

The basal body temperature method requires that a woman take her temperature every morning before she gets out of bed. A special thermometer that is more accurate and sensitive than a typical oral thermometer must be used, and the daily temperature variations carefully noted. This must be done every month. Online calculators are available to help a woman chart her basal body temperature.

To use the basal body temperature as a birth control method, a woman should refrain from having sexual intercourse from the time her temperature drops until at least 48 to 72 hours after her temperature increases again.

The mucus inspection method depends on the presence or absence of a particular type of cervical mucus that a woman produces in response to estrogen. A woman will generate larger amounts of more watery mucus than usual (like raw egg white) just before release of an egg from her ovary. This so-called egg-white cervical mucus (EWCM) stretches for up to an inch when pulled apart. A woman can learn to recognize differences in the quantity and quality of her cervical mucus by examining its appearance on her underwear, pads, and toilet tissue; or she may gently remove a sample of mucus from the vaginal opening using two fingers.

She may choose to have intercourse between the time of her last menstrual period and the time of change in the cervical mucus. During this period, it is recommended that she have sexual intercourse only every other day because the presence of seminal fluid makes it more difficult to determine the nature of her cervical mucus. If the woman does not wish to become pregnant, she should not have sexual intercourse at all for 3 to 4 days after she notices the change in her cervical mucus.

The symptothermal method combines certain aspects of the calendar, the basal body temperature, and the mucus inspection methods. Not only are all these factors taken into consideration, but so are other symptoms such as slight cramping and breast tenderness. Some women experience lower abdominal discomfort (in the area of the ovaries) during release of an egg (ovulation).

Lactational infertility is based upon the idea that a woman cannot become pregnant as long as she is breastfeeding her baby. It is true that a woman may not ovulate quite as soon after giving birth as she would if she were not breastfeeding. Women who are breastfeeding usually start ovulating again between 10-12 weeks after delivery.

A nursing mother may start ovulating again and not realize she is fertile, as ovulation can occur prior to the return of her menstrual period. If this happens and the mother has unprotected sexual intercourse, she can become pregnant at the same time she is still breastfeeding her baby. If a nursing mother does not wish to become pregnant again, she must again start to use an appropriate method of contraception.

Although we broke up before we truly got to implement a strategy, my ex was most comfortable with a natural spermicide, one I thoroughly researched and she was very comfortable with. We were going to have to order it from Germany, because it wasn't available in the U.S.. I don't want to name the product, since it is not my objective to make recommendations in this post, and we never got to use it. We would have had several "backup" methods such as the rhythm method. Actually, I practiced the rhythm method with women whether they knew it or not (I used to keep my own charts and calendar), I think it saved me from some "baby mamma drama" a couple of times in the past. There are professionals that give paid advice for birth control as well

I have run across other natural contraceptive methods such as papaya seeds (for both men and women) which have traditional and historical use, but I don't know how someone would safely and effectively implement a home remedy like that, this subject is a little more serious that home remedies for something like dry skin, just listing for thoroughness. 

I hope women feel free use the comments section below to comment about anything and everything pertaining to this subject matter. The "Girl Talk" section of the blog is for women to share ideas and information.

……..In the end, no man (or woman) can tell a woman what to do with her body, but a man can at least give a woman some information to help her make some decisions that work best for her.

~stay healthy~


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