When we hear birth control, most of us think of the pill, condoms or IUDs. Those are the mainstream options, and the ones most of us were taught about growing up. But unfortunately, a lot of people have had negative experiences with those options, whether that be negative side effects from the pill or IUDs, or all the toxic chemicals that most condoms contain. But there’s a method of birth control that doesn’t involve taking a pill everyday, having something inserted or always having to rely on condoms.
A large percentage of women don’t even think about ovulation until they’re trying to get pregnant. We track our periods, mostly so that we know when we need to stock up on pads or tampons, or have our period cups on hand. But if we started tracking our entire monthly cycle and the different phases that we go through during that cycle, we can actually prevent pregnancy just by knowing when we ovulate. This is because it’s only possible for a person to get pregnant if they have unprotected sex during the six days leading up to ovulation and on the day of ovulation. So when you think about it, it doesn’t make sense to be taking a pill daily or have something inserted into you for years, if there’s only about 6 days of a month that you can get pregnant.
One way to prevent pregnancy and avoid having to use hormonal birth control is known as the Fertility Awareness-Based Method or the Billings Ovulation Method. There are a few different ways to go about using these methods, but for the most part they include recording your basal body temperature daily, monitoring cervical mucus, tracking your cycle and using luteinizing hormone urine tests. Basal body temperature is helpful because a person’s body temperature actually rises about 0.5-1 degree Fahrenheit at the beginning of the luteal phase, aka after ovulation. Monitoring cervical mucus is important because the consistency and colour of it changes throughout our monthly cycles depending on what phase we’re in and can hint at when we may be ovulating. Tracking your cycle will help you with the numbers side of things, so knowing how long your cycle is and being able to estimate when ovulation will be. And finally, luteinizing hormone urine tests can be helpful to determine when you’re ovulating because LH spikes within 24 hours before ovulation.
All these tools and information put together and used properly, can definitely be a natural birth control option for those looking for one. And a bonus is that when you actually start trying to get pregnant, you’ll already know when you’re most fertile. Of course this option isn’t for everyone, and non-toxic condoms are still an amazing option to use during those fertile days or even just all month long. But it’s important to know that there are other options out there other than the ones we’ve been sold since we had to take sex ed in school. Whether you plan on using it as birth control or not, Fertility Awareness Method will help you connect with your body on a deep level and feel incredibly empowered in the process.
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.