Natural methods of birth control include fertility awareness-based methods, diaphragm, condoms, and the copper IUD or Paragard.
Fertility awareness methods
Fertility awareness-based methods (FAM) works because women are fertile for only six days per cycle. To avoid pregnancy, simply determine your fertile days and then abstain or use a barrier method.
FAM is scientific because it uses the objective sign of body temperature, cervical fluid, or cervix changes (or all three). It’s different from the rhythm method which is an old style of FAM that relies solely on dates on a calendar.
The simplest type of fertility awareness method is the Daysy Fertility Monitor, which is a computer that measures your body temperature and does all the calculations for you. It’s a certified medical device that undergoes independent quality testing every year.
You can also do FAM manually on paper or with the assistance of an app. To do that, you’ll need to be trained in FAM. For more information, see Toni Weschler’s book Taking Charge of Your Fertility or Fertility Friday’s post 23 Fertility Awareness websites you should know about.
Find a fertility awareness method educator at the Association of Fertility Awareness Professionals.
Worldwide, male condoms are the most popular form of birth control, and it’s easy to understand why. Condoms are simple, effective, and protect against sexually transmitted disease. They’re also effective, especially if they fit properly so please ask your partner to visit myONE Perfect Fit and find one that fits. In the rare case of condom breakage or slippage, the morning-after pill is a reasonable course of action.
Caya is a new one-size-fits-all diaphragm. It’s made of silicone rather than the latex of the old-style diaphragms and does not need to be fitted by your doctor. You can buy Caya directly online or by prescription from your local pharmacist.
Femcap cervical cap
The cervical cap is similar to a diaphragm but smaller. It shaped like a little sailor’s cap and fits around your cervix. Femcap comes in three different sizes and is used with a non-toxic gel. It’s available in some countries without a prescription, but in the U.S., it must be fitted and prescribed by a doctor. Visit Femcap.com.
The good thing about the copper IUD or Paragard is that it does not suppress ovulation or alter hormones. In that way, it’s different from the hormonal IUD which does not routinely suppress ovulation but sometimes still does.
Some women love the copper IUD, and it has the highest rate of user satisfaction of any method. It’s also effective as emergency contraception. Unfortunately, the copper IUD does have some downsides which I discuss in the blog post The pros and cons of the copper IUD.