Three Steps to Natural Birth Control

By - Jul 1st, 2003 02:52 pm
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By Stephanie Simmons

You have made the commitment to be healthier, use more natural products and be more aware of your body. Are you or your partner using chemical contraceptives? If you’re looking for a more natural option, the information here might help to unveil the mystery of female fertility so you can dump the chemicals and follow the drumbeat of nature.

This isn’t cocktail party conversation, but it is fascinating. If more people would talk about fertility awareness out loud, there would be less need for chemical birth control and fewer unintended pregnancies — especially in the teen years.

Understanding the female fertility cycle is not complicated — really! Both females and males can read the signs of impending ovulation. The female cycle is not silent, it gives signs to let you know what is going on at all times.

For the typical female, ovulation occurs approximately 2 weeks before you get your period. When the female body is getting ready to release an egg (which only lives for 12 to 24 hours), definite changes take place, due to the increase in estrogen which controls ovulation. You can chart these physical changes to see individual patterns, or simply use the following three steps to decide whether or not you should have intercourse during the fertile time. By avoiding intercourse or using a barrier method of birth control (like condoms) while the female partner is fertile, you avoid pregnancy! In other words: Do you want a baby? Or, not this month!

It’s as easy as 1-2-3

One tell-tale sign that a woman’s body is ready to conceive is noticeably higher than normal amounts of clear discharge, which is actually cervical fluid. Cervical fluid travels from the cervix (which separates the vaginal canal and the uterus) in the uppermost part of the vagina down to the vaginal opening. Sperm need cervical fluid as a medium in which to travel to the egg, and as sustenance. They can live in the presence of cervical fluid for up to five days. Fertile female cervical fluid is mostly clear and stretchy, like raw egg white. When clear fluid is more than usually present and you introduce sperm, expect to achieve pregnancy.

Another sign that a female is fertile is the cervix itself. In addition to producing fluid, it opens up slightly to allow the sperm to travel through the uterus and into the fallopian tubes where the grand prize, the egg, is waiting. A woman or her partner can reach up into her vaginal canal and feel her cervix. During the unfertile phase the cervix feels like the tip of the nose and is firm, low and closed. When a woman is about to ovulate her cervix feels soft, high and open.

The third sign of female fertility is increased libido. This increase is usually very noticeable not only to the woman, but to her partner as well. It makes sense that nature makes us want sex most when we are physically capable of becoming pregnant. Avoiding intercourse during fertility gives couples a chance to try new things in the bedroom (or any other room) for several days each month, and many couples say that this actually enhances their relationship.

Want to see it in writing?

If you like to see everything in black and white, you can chart these fertility signs, as well as the woman’s basal body temperature. Using a basal body thermometer (available at any pharmacy), take your waking temperature each morning of the month. When ovulation is near and estrogen is released, the female body becomes an incubator preparing for a newly fertilized egg. The temperature rises in conjunction with the cervical fluid and the opening cervix. Once you have charted your waking temperature, cervical fluid and condition of your cervix for two months or so, you will see the pattern of your fertile time.

One of the best things about natural birth control is that there are no side effects. Some women have been using chemical contraceptives for so long that they don’t realize that their health is being impacted. To learn more, review the side effects of hormonal contraceptives at www.plannedparenthood.org.

There you go, natural birth control in three easy steps! There are several books on the market to read more, but a favorite is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. The book contains pictures and in-depth information of everything in this article.

(Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor.)

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