font size

Natural Methods of Birth Control (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Calendar rhythm method

The calendar rhythm method to avoid pregnancy relies upon calculating a woman's fertile period on the calendar. Based upon her 12 previous menstrual cycles, a woman subtracts l8 days from her shortest menstrual cycle to determine her first fertile day, and 11 days from her longest menstrual cycle to determine her last fertile day. She can then calculate the total number of days during which she may ovulate. If a woman's menstrual cycles are quite irregular from month to month, there will be a greater number of days during which she might become pregnant.

The calendar method is only about 80% effective in preventing pregnancy and when used alone, it is considered outdated and ineffective.

Basal body temperature method

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) when the body is 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 to72 hours after her temperature increases again.

Mucous inspection method

The mucous inspection method depends on the presence or absence of a particular type of cervical mucous that a woman produces in response to estrogen. A woman will generate larger amounts of more watery mucous than usual (like raw egg white) just before release of an egg from her ovary. This so-called egg-white cervical mucous (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 mucous by examining its appearance on her underwear, pads, and toilet tissue; or she may gently remove a sample of mucous 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 mucous. 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 mucous. 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 mucous.

Symptothermal method

The symptothermal method combines certain aspects of the calendar, the basal body temperature, and the mucous 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).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/21/2014

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Birth Control - Natural Methods Question: Have you and your partner used any natural methods of birth control? How effective has it been?
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/natural_methods_of_birth_control/article.htm

Women's Health

Find out what women really need.

advertisement
advertisement
Use Pill Finder Find it Now See Interactions

Pill Identifier on RxList

  • quick, easy,
    pill identification

Find a Local Pharmacy

  • including 24 hour, pharmacies

Interaction Checker

  • Check potential drug interactions
Search the Medical Dictionary for Health Definitions & Medical Abbreviations