Pin It
10
Aug

Green Birth Control and "Natural" Family Planning

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Beautiful pregnant woman in the park

One area that many overlook on their journey to go more green and natural is family planning. Few of us likely have the emotional and physical strength as well as the resources to go through life without trying to prevent pregnancy at least at some point in our lives.

So what is the greenest and most natural way to prevent pregnancy? This is one area where I gravitated to the more natural options even before my natural family living journey actually began. I had strong opinions about some of the more mainstream birth control methods. Let’s look at some of the options and I will tell you what I decided upon..

Chemical Contraceptives- When my future husband and I discussed birth control methods and family planning for the first time we found we were on the same page as far as family size was concerned. We were not on the same page about how we would prevent pregnancy though. The most common method it seems for young women, then and now, is oral contraceptives or other chemical-hormonal contraceptives like the IUD, various injections, the patch, and internal rings. My husband assumed I would not have a problem with these methods but he was very wrong.

I wasn’t trying to lead a natural or green life yet but I knew with 100% certainty that I would NOT take hormones or use chemical contraceptives. I wasn’t going to introduce these things into my system and mess with my body in that way.

These contraceptives have many side effects, they increase chances of serious diseases like cancer, and using them supports the corrupt and powerful pharmaceutical industry. All of this makes them a not-so green choice and for me an unacceptable choice.

I wasn’t on board with copper IUDs either. While copper itself is natural… unless we are born secreting it in our uterus then it is not “natural” for birth control, at least for me. The most common side effects are heavy and prolonged bleeding and loss of sex drive. Niether of those potential side effects was acceptable to me but this option is way better than the hormonal ones.

Barrier Methods- Barrier contraceptives would be condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges, and spermicides. I have no personal experience with any of them other than the sporadic use of condoms over the years… usually a couple months after birth when I didn’t want to take the chance that breastfeeding alone would prevent pregnancy. They are not-so green in that they create waste and they are not-so natural in the materials they are made with but they are important in the grand scheme of things (STDs).

There are greener options too. Sheepskin condoms are biodegradable and vegan condoms do not use animal products like many conventional condoms. The Sheepskin condoms do not protect against STDs though.

Sterilization - If you are positive you don’t want to have any children or have any MORE children then this is a good route to go. My husband and I opted for him to have a vasectomy a couple years back so our baby making days are over. I actually wanted to be the one to get sterilized but after my abdominal surgery (cancer) I had too much scar tissue to make a laparoscopic surgery possible. They would have had to cut me open again to get at my tubes and another major surgery did not sound appealing.

For anyone thinking about doing this, the best time to have it done is after the birth of your last child. Typically they ask after baby number three if you want to have it done. I said no when they asked because they caught me by surprise. I hadn’t even thought about it or discussed with hubby and I ended up wishing I had said yes. Make sure to have this discussion beforehand and save yourself the time and money.

Incidentally I also found this to be a controversial method. When I shared that my hubby and I had opted for sterilization we got some nasty comments from deeply religious folk who thought we were hell bound for discarding the gift of fertility. I never knew it was such a hot issue until that time. Also, while some may argue that it is not the most “natural” route to go it a very green option and it can be a huge stress reliever to not have to worry about pregnancy anymore. This is especially true if pregnancy would be inadvisable for health or economic reasons.

Natural Family Planning- Also called NFP and the fertility awareness method. This is the primary method that my husband and I used. It is by far the most natural and green choice and it is IMO actually VERY easy. Using NFP my husband and I had 3 babies over an 11 year period and none of them were accidental. Of course that is not to say they were planned either… one was and with the other two we were aware that their conception was likely and we were okay with it either way. When we wanted to prevent pregnancy we did and only rarely used condoms when my cycle was a question mark… like after birth, during breastfeeding.

Basically Natural Family Planning or NFP limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods or portions of the menstrual cycle when pregnancy is unlikely. Various methods can be used to identify whether the woman is likely to be fertile and this information is used to either avoid or achieve pregnancy.

The two main methods are calendar based NFP and symptom based NFP or a combination of both. Using the calendar method you would track the days of your cycle on a  calendar (or Cycle Beads) and based upon an understanding of how the reproductive cycle works you would engage in sexual activity accordingly…. or not.

The symptoms method tracks various symptoms of a woman’s cycle… body temperature, cervical mucus, breast tenderness, ovulation pains, etc. Some people use fertility monitors or urine analysis strips to determine their fertile times but I never did.

I used a combo of both systems with an emphasis on the symptoms based. I was bad at remembering to track my cycle via a calendar. But I found it easy to discern fertile times by tracking cervical mucus and ovulation pains. I knew my body pretty well and I remember the month we conceived my daughter. I mentioned to my husband that the cervical mucus says this is a good baby making day. While we hadn’t been trying to have a baby we didn’t see any reason to try and prevent it either… we ended up with a beautiful daughter 9 months later.

With our youngest son it was similar. I was about to go on an extended vacation with our two kids and since I wouldn’t see hubby for over a month we celebrated before my departure. I knew, thanks to the texture and color of cervical mucus that I might come back from vacation pregnant and I did. I knew that if I wanted to avoid pregnancy I could abstain or use a condom. It was easy, for me at least, to track my fertile and infertile times and plan accordingly.

All in all I think NFP is the greenest and most natural way to handle birth control followed by sterilization. Barrier methods definitely have their place and we have greener and more natural options in that arena too. I can’t get behind hormonal and chemical contraceptives for health reasons and will be advising my own daughter to steer clear but to each his own right? What is your take on this issue or your experience with any of the methods I have discussed? Comment and share your stories and tips.

Recommended Books: Honoring Our Cycles: A Natural Family Planning Workbook

Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health

Monday, August 10th, 2009

44 Comments

  • mommaluv

    What about a copper IUD–the kind without hormones added? These are more ‘natural’ and are more ‘sure’ than NFP–in my opinion! I agree with the chemical birth control being not for me. I hate the way I feel and the feeling of wondering if I am causing my body harm.

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    Added a blurb about copper IUDs.. forgot them! Thx!

    “I wasn’t on board with copper IUDs either. While copper itself is natural… unless we are born secreting it in our uterus then it is not “natural” for birth control, at least for me. The most common side effects are heavy and prolonged bleeding and loss of sex drive. Niether of those potential side effects was acceptable to me.”

  • Andrea Idika

    I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and it totally changed how I viewed birth control. I had been on the pill for years and we conceived our son while I was on the pill. So that’s definitely not a sure thing! And not only does the pill mess with your own system but I know there are studies underway looking into how the hormones from the pill that women are passing during urination are entering our waterways and feminizing fish. When my OBGYN prescribed the minipill after both my kids I politely declined.

    Right now I’m still breastfeeding and haven’t got my period back. I’m debating on getting a copper IUD, so thank you for some more food for thought.

  • jennifer

    I always thought I knew a pretty good deal about my body when it came to timing my cycle..I’m on baby number 3 right now and it was a total surprise. I had been done breast feeding for about 3 months and surprise I was pregnant. I had always been most fertile around 18 or 19th day of my cycle. But I don’t think it had returned to normal since I had stopped breastfeeding. My ultrasound determined that I got pregnant around day 8 or 9 of my cycle…So be careful a few months after breastfeeding. It takes a while to get back to a normal schedule although my periods were back to normal. I nursed just over 2 years with both of my boys!

  • http://runninalong.blogspot.com Amy

    I have been using NFP for a while – however, I am on the PCOS spectrum, and can have very long and irregular cycles. Using cervical mucous and position changes are not accurate predictors for me as they frequently indicate fertile when I might be “gearing up” to ovulate, but don’t actually make it.

    We are not preventing pregnancy, but would like to for a few years after the next child. I would definitely like to find an option (anything) other than chemical birth control, and neither my husband nor I like barrier methods.

    If ANYONE has suggestions, I’d love to hear it!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      Amy, sounds like you might like the copper IUD.. no hormones and very reliable.

    • Janet

      Amy,
      I also have PCOS and have successfully used NFP for the past 9 1/2 years (avoid and achieve pregnancy). We use the Creighton Model and after 3 cycles I could use yellow stamps which mark days of mucus but not my fertile mucus. A sympto thermal method (taking your temperature and checking mucus) would give even more feedback. Couple to Couple league is a good resource. I think having training is very helpful since they are scientific methods (not hard to understand but you understand it better when knowing the “why”).
      The biggest help though was being able to manage my PCOS through diet and exercise. South Beach Diet and Sugar busters were two diets I looked at to figure out “healthy” for me. I still have long cycles but they have become consistent in length, within a week of each other.

      Hope that helps!

    • Jennifer

      I too have pcos and wanted to know, how are you able to track you cycle. I feel like what is the point since I now that I am not ovulating. Even though I have a period every month. If you could offer any advice from one cyster to another. I would be awfully grateful.

  • Joelle

    I use the fertility awareness method (FAM) for birth control (with backup from condoms if we are unsure of the signs) and so far it has been reliable since we aren’t ready to have kids yet. I have long cycles so it has been interesting to learn about my body as well. DH and I decided not to go the hormonal birth control route because of the health risks associated (cancer, etc), not because I was particularly green at that point, although since then I have had a greater interest in going green. We are soon to start our third year of using FAM.

  • Julie

    This is such an interesting post and one that I could benefit from, so thank you for sharing. My husband and I really like the NFP and will most likely stick to that one after our baby arrives. I am 36 weeks pregnant right now with our first baby:) We do want to have our babies close together, so our biggest thing is what to do once I start breastfeeding, which I plan to do for at least the first year or so. We would like to get pregnant again within that next year, so do we just have fun with it and go with the flow or do we be extra careful? Just something we have thought about and have seeked our midwife about this, but still not sure what to do. Any suggestions?? I hope that all makes sense:)

  • Kelly

    Thanks for this post; it is very helpful!
    I also read Taking Charge of Your Fertility after a year of using chemical birth control pills. My husband and I were tired of 1. paying for the pills and 2. dealing with the side effects they caused. We used the method described in the book for a year and a half to not get pregnant and then used it to get pregnant! It was definitely a challenge at first, especially because my cycle is highly irregular (I can go anywhere from 40 days to 120 days without a period). However, with a little bit of diligence to pay attention to my body, and a willingness to use a barrier method (which for us was a much better option than the chemicals) whenever in doubt, we found the method to work really well. We are expecting our first baby in two weeks and plan to use this method again after she is born.

  • Batrice Adcock

    Yes, it can be very confusing to try to monitor irregular mucus with PCOS. It is a very common condition and is a problem related to insulin resistance, which is easily treated by a combination of weight loss and a medication called metformin. This drug is not a contraceptive and can help to regulate cycles.

    I’m including below a section on PCOS from a brochure written by a doctor called “Alternatives to the Pill” which you can access online at:
    http://www.omsoul.com/pdfs/ALTERNATIVES%20PILL%207.pdf

    ++++++++++++++++++++

    POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN SYNDROME (PCOS).

    PCOS is a disease involving great overdevelopment of cysts in the ovaries. It is associated with high levels of testosterone (a hormone which is present in all women, but in lower levels than men), anovulation (the absence of ovulation), and high insulin levels or insulin resistance. Some symptoms include excess facial and body hair (a condition called hirsutism), acne, obesity, irregular menstrual cycles, and infertility.

    WHAT DOES THE PILL DO FOR IT?

    The Pill causes suppression of androgen secretion by the ovaries and an increase in the level of circulating sex hormone binding globulin. This reduces the amount of available testosterone and can relieve the symptoms. Progestins in hormonal contraceptives may increase insulin resistance.

    ALTERNATIVES
    Weight loss and exercise are important lifestyle changes in the treatment of PCOS. Weight loss and the use of insulin-sensitizing agents have been beneficial in improving the frequency of ovulation in women with PCOS. Metformin (a drug used to treat diabetes) induces ovulation in many insulin-resistant and obese women with PCOS. For hirsutism, Spironolactone may be used, as well as certain topical treatments.
    +++++++++++++++++

    I also recommend the new edition of “Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition”, by Marilyn Shannon, which has an excellent chapter on PCOS.

    FYI, modern methods of NFP can be as effective as the birth control pill when used correctly.

  • Batrice Adcock

    The one other thing I wanted to mention, that many people are not aware of, is that the IUD, and most forms of chemical contraception can be abortifacient. This means that when an embryo is conceived while a woman is using a chemical contraceptive (which occurs in up to 10% of cycles, because of lower amounts of chemicals in modern preparations), there is not a good place for it to implant, because the contraceptive also functions by thinning the uterine lining, making it inhospitable to any embryos which may be conceived. To listen to a short talk (7 minutes) about the mechanism of action of chemical contraceptives by a reproductive endocrinologist, go to: http://www.giftfoundation.org/products_family.cfm

    It is the first talk.

  • Katie

    My husband and I practice NFP and will till we have children and after for health and religious reasons. We have been married over 3 years and never had issues with it. Another form of NFP is the Creighton Method and they are very scientific and through it I found out I had a thyroid problem and a few other hormone imbalances via cervical mucus. I highly recommend them and find them fantastic to work with. http://www.creightonmodel.com/ I know there are those out there who are antireligious, but your bodies natural processes can be looked at from a nonreligious point of view and still benefit and still work. I tried several forms of NFP and Creighton I find the easiest to track and also the most scientific data behind it! Thanks for mentioning this. It seems so taboo to talk about and most women think you are antifeminism if you practice it it seems!

    • Vicki

      DH and I have been using this for almost nine months now (to prevent pregnancy, rid my body of unnecessary chemicals and to create a health record) and there is no turning back for us. It is such a habitual thing now and is working beautifully. Not to mention, I have learned so much about my body (and DH, too). Though I did discover this form of NFP through my church…I must clarify that how the Crieghton Model works is not based at all on religion. I have a biology degree and found myself awestruck that the basics of this method (how the female body works…in detail) is not taught in sex ed classes, nor did I learn it in my college classes. Biologically speaking, this method makes soooo much sense! I love knowing what my body is doing…understanding the WHY when I am feeling crummy makes it more bearable.

  • Batrice Adcock

    Yes, there are several great modern methods of NFP, including Creighton. Creighton is also very helpful for those experiencing problems with infertility. For those who prefer something a little simpler, but still with the strong scientific/research base, there is the Billings Method: http://www.boma-usa.org/
    You can chart online or with your iphone with this method:
    https://www.nfpcharting.com/

    Couple to Couple League supports practices like extended breastfeeding, homeschooling, etc. They have software for charting and a nice home study program. They are at: http://www.ccli.org/
    You can order “Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition” at their website.

    Another method, the Marquette Method, allows for free online education and charting currently, as the website is being piloted. Go to: http://nfp.marquette.edu/index.php

    With all of the talk of global reproductive rights now, it is nfp and fertility awareness that really gives women control of their health. Rather than submitting themselves to damaging hormones or surgical procedures, these women demand that their partners respect their bodies and not put physical pleasure above the good of health. Ironically, Carl Djerassi, one of the founders of the birth control pill, said that the knowledge of fertility awareness is a “fundamental” right for women.

  • Lisa

    In addition to “Taking Charge of Your Fertility,” I would like to highly recommend “The Garden of Fertility” by Katie Singer. Both books have helped me become much more aware of my fertility signals, using fertility awareness monitoring to avoid pregnancy and using it to help us conceive (we were lucky-it only took once!). I knew the day I got pregnant, due to cervical fluid changes and basal body temperature.

    “Using the calendar method you would track the days of your cycle on a calendar and based upon an understanding of how the reproductive cycle works you would engage in sexual activity accordingly…. or not.”

    I’m not familiar with the calendar method specifically. However, one thing I learned from FAM is that the ‘ovulation occurs 14 days into your cycle’ may or may not apply for everyone. I know Tiffany isn’t saying to use that ‘rule’ (which may be a myth for your body and cycle), but wanted to point out that you can’t immediately use that knowledge to achieve or avoid pregnancy. (Just in case someone reading would assume they could.)

    I have also found fertilityfriend.com to be very helpful, although I never would have used it without the other books.

    I chose to start this method since becoming more green a couple of years ago. However, I have avoided hormonal birth control for 6 years because of the havoc I found it created in my body.
    :-)
    Lisa

  • Wysteria

    Ok. I just have to reiterate how much I love this site! Before yesterday I hadn’t been in a while (since before I got pregnant) but the post have been amazing!

    My husband and I have been using NFP for over 5 years I believe. I love it. I had been on BC since I was 16. I went off BC because I didn’t have health insurance and didn’t see it being necessary (and was also concerned about the long term use vs. health effects). My hubby (boyfriend then) and I agreed to disagree…it made him nervous but I was done with BC. After the first month he was 100% on board. It worked for us.

    A couple years later I found a great little natural parenting store in Burlington, VT (Sprout). While milling around I found these things called Cycle Beads. I had a pretty regular schedule and had a hard time remembering to calendar every month. The Cycle Beads were great. My hubby and I both used them. At the beginning of the day I would move the marker on the bead and at the end of the day he would ask me if I moved it, if I hadn’t he moved it. We used that for probably a year or two before we decided we wanted to start trying to conceive. I have since found a great program for the iPhone too (called iPeriod).

    I need to read those books! I think that would be huge for me. I actually had a OB doing a pelvic exam tell me she thought I had an STD because of my “discharge.” Sounds like it’s pretty normal (and I didn’t have an STD).

    Just thought I would share!

    Wysteria

  • http://www.greensahm.com/ Stephanie – Green SAHM

    My husband and I used NFP for years successfully, although our most recent baby was due to a miscalculation due to stress.

    We used a microscope to chart my fertility. Worked great. We had started using it to try to conceive our second child, when using Depo Provera completely messed up my cycles. I won’t get into what it did for my moods, ugh! Never again! Our son was conceived during the first cycle that we started using the microscope.

    All you do is lick a slide each day when your mouth is clean. When it’s dry, you look at the slide in the microscope. If you see ferning, you’re heading for ovulation.

    I did get a tubal ligation after this most recent baby because I have no intention of risking a third C-section. Three kids and two C-sections are plenty enough for me! But I did enjoy NFP.

  • Angela

    After conceiving our 4th baby using NFP (he was the result of a miscalculation), DH & I talked about me getting a tubal vs. him getting a vasectomy. He had issues with getting “snipped.” I spoke with my OB/GYN about getting a tubal. She recommended against it (in my case) for various reasons (heavy cycles with lots of lower back pain & migraines that would not go away with a tubal), but suggested I look into a Mirena IUD – much safer in her professional opinion that the copper (and, as advertised, the Mirena has helped to lessen my back pains, heavy cycles, etc). I reviewed the information and checked with our insurance carrier. A year later, I am still happy with my decision to go with the Mirena. It’s a 5-year plan. I’ll be 43 when it “expires” – chances are good that I could be beginning menopause at that time.

    Thanks for the stimulating article, Tiffany.

  • rachel

    Thanks to some of the commentors for the great links! I’ve researched NFP a few times and decided against it, but have decided to research further. I have a very irregular cycle and have had an extremely light period only twice since my son was born 15 months ago (still breastfeeding), so I don’t think the calendar method will work for me. Hopefully tracking symptoms isn’t a hassle. Man would we love not to use condoms anymore!

    • Batrice Adcock

      Rachel, I want to let you know that you can definitely use symptoms-based modern NFP methods to easily track your signs of fertility, even with irregular cycles while breastfeeding. If you go to, http://nfp.marquette.edu/index.php
      and click on “Protocols for Special Circumstances”, you’ll see a couple of sections on the left that would be helpful: “Return of fertility after child birth” and “Breastfeeding protocol for mucus”. You can use this site too, to learn about how to monitor your primary sign of fertility, your mucus.

      It is common to have very light periods and irregular cycles as your cycles begin to regulate postpartum. They may continue to be irregular for awhile, because you are still breastfeeding. But, that is okay, because this method (and most modern NFP methods) rely on daily observations of fertility signs. It takes some effort at first to learn about the signs of fertility and how to monitor them, but it is worth it! IT can become second nature.

      Best!

  • http://joshaxe.com Dr. Josh Axe

    Birth control pills are definitely something you want to stay away from. They raise estrogen levels in your body and carry with them a long list of potential harmful side effects like weight gain, mood swings, migraines, yeast overgrowth and an increased risk of cancer. They also create nutrient deficiencies in your body.

    I am definitely a proponent of the NFP method you described.

  • Carla

    I was going to go with the copper IUD but decided not to because I don’t want to deal with heavy, painful periods (I’ve experienced enough of that in my life). Sterilization may be an option but we don’t have kids so I’m not sure how doctors would respond to that.

  • Jaimee

    What do you recommend for your 17 year old daughter who just became sexually active? As far as I know a condom is being used but I am concerned for her safety of disease and prevention of pregnancy. The charting methods do not seem likely for a teenager nor should she be without condom.
    I do not want her on hormones (I as a teenager, never liked them). Any suggestions?

    • http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/ ‘Becca

       I see you posted this comment 3 years ago, but just in case anyone else reading this is considering how to advise teenagers: There is a book called Cycle Savvy specifically for teenagers teaching charting.  Do not assume that a girl old enough to have sex is too young to understand her own body!  If anything, this is the best time to learn about it.  I would not advise a teen to rely on charting alone, but abstaining when fertile AND using condoms all the rest of the time is almost foolproof.

      When I was 16-19 I used spermicides from the drugstore ALONG WITH condoms.  They are additional protection if the condom leaks.  It is possible to have a bad reaction (as someone mentioned in another comment) but I never did.  At 19 I got a cervical cap, which I loved.  Unfortunately that model is no longer made, but there are a few others available, as well as diaphragms which are almost as convenient.

  • Amber

    As always, you’ve caused me to think outside the box. This has been an issue for us for some time. I’m against chemical birth control (for myself) and am leaning towards a diaphragm. I always stayed away from NFP b/c i think i could get pregnant if i sat on a couch someone’s had sex on in the last 10 years; ds was conceived early in my cycle, dd was late in my cycle–both were in the first month of trying. But you’ve prompted me to do some research. Thanks for all you do!

  • Vivian Jane

    I am so happy that the topic of natural birth control and fertility awareness method is being discussed. I was disturbed recently to see Kevin Gianni of the Renegade Health Show (which I normally love) telling viewers that the only two green methods were withdrawal and condoms. Today I had my copper IUD (Paraguard) removed after a year of progressively more painful and irregular periods. There was nothing cyclical about my menstruation! Also, my sex drive has suffered tremendously. These things don’t happen to everyone, but they dramatically affect quality of life for those of us (and our partners’) who do experience them. We discussed vasectomy as an option, but neither of us would choose (even minor outpatient) surgery over a less invasive, non medical alternative.

    My personal plan is to use FAM with the symptom tracking chart and a diaphragm. We’ll probably rely on the fertility testing strips for the first couple of months while we gain confidence in our ability to recognize the signs of ovulation. If I find fertility testing indispensable, I have no qualms with investing in one of the monitors such as LadyComp.

    I am just so relieved and excited to be at the end of my search for birth control. I have tried everything and ended up at square one. Wouldn’t it be great if we began to pass this knowledge of and reverence for our cycles on to our daughters and future generations instead of the barrage of complicated contraception choices we were taught to contemplate as young women? I look forward to the day. Let’s all see what we can do to spread the popularity of seizing our personal power.

  • http://www.examiner.com/x-9302-Minneapolis-Environmental-Health-Examiner Janel

    Thank you so much for this article. I also practice NFP and took it as a Catholic when we were engaged. I think NFP has gotten a bad rap because of the old rhythm method and because of the strict Catholic way of teaching it, but I agree that it is much better than chemical alternatives.

    Thanks again!

    Also, I’m getting started on an environmental health column and would love to swap stories every once in a while. I’m currently working on an article about coloring hair with henna. I don’t think I will ever go back to boxed or pro color.

  • Carrie at NaturalMomsTalkRadio

    I spoke with the inventor of Cycle Beads for those who might be interested, the link is above with my name.

    I used the cervical cap for about 3 years and didn’t conceive. It is more popular in Europe and doesn’t require use of spermicide, but it is hard to find someone in the states who can fit you for one. I loved it and will be getting another soon since I recently got remarried.

  • Andrea

    It amazes me how people who want to live natural lives (diet, green living etc.) cop out completely when it comes to what is natural in regards to bearing children. What is natural is to use no birth control. Let nature take its course and be blessed with the children you receive. Semen how many health benefits for the vaginal tract. Any time we alter the bodies natural function, we create set up a potential disease state.. Cutting the vas defrens (in vasectomy) is not natural.

  • http://www.newsinferno.com Cynthia

    The birth control pill. Yaz, has been linked to life-threatening side effects such as strokes, blood clots, and heart attacks. Since 2004, at least 50 deaths have been reported in women taking Yaz and contraceptives made with similar ingredients. There is more information on this disturbing problem at http://www.yaz-may-cause-strokes.com/.

  • http://www.EngagedMarriage.com Dustin | Engaged Marriage

    I just wanted to chime in to let you know that I just found this post and really appreciate it! I really enjoy your perspective in embracing NFP as a natural method first, instead of seeing it only as a religious issue as so many promoters do.

    I actually just added my first NFP-specific post on my own site, which is aimed at having a great marriage. I plan to write many articles on the topic as it is a passion for my wife and I.

    Although we are proud Catholics, my goal is to promote NFP to a larger audience so most of my NFP posts will not be “religion-specific.” Instead, I want to share our personal journey to NFP, the benefits it brings to marriage, the health and environmental benefits, etc.

    Again, thank you for a great post and for generating a wonderful discussion in your comments section.

  • Tessa

    Just wanted to chime in — I practice NFP (Billings Method) and love it so much, I’m getting certified as a professional instructor. Here’s a glimpse of its impact on love and relationships in 120 countries around the world, summarized from Dr. Evelyn Billings’ speech:

    -In China, the government selected Billings as an official option for managing fertility. 40,000 Billings teachers were trained and there was a huge cultural shift in families once concerned with infertility, damaged reproductive systems from IUD’s, etc. – The abortion rate reduced seven-fold, and if followed correctly, Billings has a 99.1% effectiveness rate to avoid pregnancy and pregnancy rates were down to 1%.
    -Blind women are successfully using and teaching Billings.
    -People in HIV/AIDS ridden Malawi are practicing Billings.
    -In Southern Tanzania, while the men get HIV/Aids education, women learn Billings, and there is increased fidelity among the couples. One man said, “I used to beat my wife, but now I love her. Something beautiful has happened in my country.”
    -In the Philippines, Billings teachers are working with the poor, jail inmates, and all people. “I was about to leave my husband, but with Billings he respects me.”
    -A woman from the Baha’i faith said, “It is so simple and can be taught anywhere. When following the rules of nature, you feel a deep sense of peace.”
    -“I have learned more about female reproduction and fertility through the Billings Method than in medical school. I used to prescribe contraception, and those I did were exactly the ones coming back with abnormal pap smears and STDs. I thought, something’s wrong here.” – Dr. Lydia Dennis

    After 50 years of medical research on the Billings Ovulation Method, women’s charts are being used as diagnostic tools for health and fertility problems. With obesity, PCOS, infertility, and Vitamin D deficiency on the rise, “when one correctly diagnoses the ovarian dysfunction and corrects the underlying metabolic disorder, the Billings chart reflects the progress made and aids in adjusting therapy. Over 90% of women with irregular cycles has a problem which can and should be treated” without having to use artificial contraception. -Dr. Pilar Vigil.

    Read her book too: http://boma-usa.org//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=6

  • abdecoteau

    We used FAM as well and have had 5 children over 12 years. We have been very successful with this method. All were planned except for the last one when I ovulated early. However, we were going to start trying again in a few months, so he was just a little earlier than we thought. The great things we found out about this method are that you become so in-tune with your body and its rhythms and also that when you do “try” it doesn’t take very long. Sad for my husband. haha. Our family is now complete and my husband recently had a vasectomy. Overall my mood and hormones were much happier without birth control pills.

  • anonymous

    I’m all for NFP and I think as women we have a natural inclination to trust the method and our ability to use it, but unfortunately hubby is resolutely against it. He doesn’t trust it and has never been educated about it despite my attempts and trying to get him to study it with me. So in the interest of ever hoping to have sex again, he and I are going to have to be OK with condoms. I’m assuming, since natural rubber latex is plant-based, that it would biodegrade? Am I wrong?

  • nike soccer

    Good, yours articles is very nice!

  • http://twitter.com/gdeanmachine Regina

    We’ve been NFP people for a bit now.  Normally, we’re “just go with it and if I get preggers, I get preggers” kind of people, but since starting the adoption process, we’ve (for the first time ever) been in a position of hoping to avoid it for a short while.  Now, for me, hormonal birth control is a no-no.  Not only do I hate the way it makes me fee, but I can’t get behind the method.  It so drastically changes my body.  And if I were to get pregnant, I wouldn’t want anything in my body that would put that life in danger.  I don’t in ANY way judge people that use it, but I know it’s not for me.  I have a latex allergy, so most condoms are no good for me either.  (That and they kill the mood and diminish the intimacy factor for my hubs.)  So…. I thought I would try this:  
    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=encare+spermicide&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2013350145019913167&sa=X&ei=ShIwT6e8EYX9iQKypYXfCg&ved=0CEQQ8wIwAQ 

    I thought it would make me a bit “more” safe.  Lemme tell you….. WORST MISTAKE EVER!!!!  It’s been about two months now since the “incident” and I’m only just now feeling back to normal.  I had the worst UTI in the world with bacteria that proved resistant to antibiotics.  I hate using antibiotics in the first place, let alone two different kinds of great strength.  It totally threw off my GAPS diet progress, completely altered my good bacteria balance, and my cycles have been wonky.  Talk about a huge setback.  All that to say, just stick with NFP.  Not only is it totally natural, it won’t mess with your body’s natural rhythm, and it’s good to know your body well enough to spot potential issues when they are early on.  I’m able to keep track of my thyroid function by watching my daily temps!  It’s the best way to go.  It takes some education to do it right, but it’s sooo worth it.  Also a perk:  When you do want to get pregnant, knowing your cycles so well will make it easier for you to know when your chances of being successful are highest.  I’m looking forward to using it for that purpose.  :)

  • http://twitter.com/gdeanmachine Regina

    We’ve been NFP people for a bit now.  Normally, we’re “just go with it and if I get preggers, I get preggers” kind of people, but since starting the adoption process, we’ve (for the first time ever) been in a position of hoping to avoid it for a short while.  Now, for me, hormonal birth control is a no-no.  Not only do I hate the way it makes me fee, but I can’t get behind the method.  It so drastically changes my body.  And if I were to get pregnant, I wouldn’t want anything in my body that would put that life in danger.  I don’t in ANY way judge people that use it, but I know it’s not for me.  I have a latex allergy, so most condoms are no good for me either.  (That and they kill the mood and diminish the intimacy factor for my hubs.)  So…. I thought I would try this:  
    http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=encare+spermicide&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2013350145019913167&sa=X&ei=ShIwT6e8EYX9iQKypYXfCg&ved=0CEQQ8wIwAQ 

    I thought it would make me a bit “more” safe.  Lemme tell you….. WORST MISTAKE EVER!!!!  It’s been about two months now since the “incident” and I’m only just now feeling back to normal.  I had the worst UTI in the world with bacteria that proved resistant to antibiotics.  I hate using antibiotics in the first place, let alone two different kinds of great strength.  It totally threw off my GAPS diet progress, completely altered my good bacteria balance, and my cycles have been wonky.  Talk about a huge setback.  All that to say, just stick with NFP.  Not only is it totally natural, it won’t mess with your body’s natural rhythm, and it’s good to know your body well enough to spot potential issues when they are early on.  I’m able to keep track of my thyroid function by watching my daily temps!  It’s the best way to go.  It takes some education to do it right, but it’s sooo worth it.  Also a perk:  When you do want to get pregnant, knowing your cycles so well will make it easier for you to know when your chances of being successful are highest.  I’m looking forward to using it for that purpose.  :)

  • Rick

    I have no moral qualms with a vasectomy at all, but it’s worth noting:

    – the typically cited 99% success rate is actually a controversial figure; it may be as low as 95%.

    – To present it as a better option than women having tubal ligation, the likelihood and severity of long-term side effects are usually hidden b conventional doctors. Studies have indicated a frequency ranging from 2% to 33% (!) of men experiencing long-term side effects, including constant pain, recurring pain, painful ejaculation, rupture of the vas deferens from the pressure of regular sperm production (tying them off doesn’t make the projection disappear), etc.

  • http://articles.earthlingshandbook.org/ ‘Becca

    Nice post!  I used mostly barrier methods in my teens and twenties because I had felt suspicious of the Pill since I first read about how it works when I was around 11; replacing the natural cycle with a fake cycle just sounded like a recipe for trouble.  Due to my long, irregular cycles, doctors kept urging me to try the Pill, and I finally did when I was 25, for five awful months; it was a mind-altering drug for me and made my periods much worse.

    I did not learn about NFP until I was 29 and trying to conceive.  We used it successfully to conceive, although it did take a while because I was ovulating so infrequently.  After the birth, we tried various barrier methods but were unhappy with all of them, so after my cycle was re-established (now shorter and more predictable!) we began relying on NFP exclusively.  It’s great!

    I think schools should teach both boys and girls about NFP in about 8th grade.  Even if you choose to use other contraceptives, understanding the cycle is valuable.  For example, I know someone who realized her Pill was not working because she noticed fertile mucus–her doctor had not told her that her antibiotic might interfere with the Pill.

  • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

    Pamela,

    Sterilization is not natural but it is greener than using hormones or barrier products. Using NFP until menopause when we know 100% that we don’t want more kids didn’t sound appealing to me. I wanted a sure thing.

  • Anne

    Morally acceptable? Who gets to decide that their approach is the morally acceptable one?