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Natural Birth Control Options

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Natural birth control facts

  • Birth control is the use of practices, medications, or devices to prevent pregnancy.
  • Natural methods of birth control, or natural family planning, are a type of birth control that relies on observations about the woman's body and menstrual cycle.
  • Natural methods of birth control include fertility awareness methods.
  • Examples of natural methods of birth control include
    • calendar rhythm method,
    • basal body temperature method, and
    • cervical mucus examination.
  • Advantages of natural methods include
    • cost savings,
    • lack of prescriptions or health-care visits, and
    • avoidance of medications or procedures.
  • Disadvantages of natural methods are the fact that they can be difficult to use correctly and that sexual intercourse must be avoided at certain times of the month.

What are natural methods of contraception?

Natural methods of contraception are considered "natural" because they are not mechanical and not a result of hormone manipulation. Instead, these natural methods to prevent pregnancy require that a man and woman not have sexual intercourse during the time when an egg is available to be fertilized by a sperm.

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 mucos), 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 be well used by a couple to increase fertility and promote conception.


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