Dr. Varshali Mali, MBBS, DNB - Obstetrician and Gynecologist

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Natural Contraception Methods
Natural Contraception Methods

How to avoid pregnancy by natural contraception methods

Methods | Effectiveness | Pros & Cons

By

MBBS, DNB (OBGY)

Gynecologist & Pregnancy Doctor

Natural Contraception Methods
Few men and women are not comfortable using any contraception device or take a medicine to prevent unplanned pregnancy. How to avoid pregnancy naturally without any external aid is a topic of discussion among many couples. Natural family planning (NFP) refers to the variety of contraception methods which are used to avoid pregnancy by understanding the body, its natural rhythms, and cycles. In these natural contraception methods, you need not use any medication or contraception devices to avoid pregnancy. There are many natural contraception methods and practices.
Fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are ways to track your menstrual cycle to understand what your fertile days are and when is the high chance of getting pregnant. This understanding of the menstrual cycle and fertility is used to avoid pregnancy naturally. The abstinence and withdrawal or pull-out method avoid pregnancy by keeping sperms away from women's egg. Breastfeeding or Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) method avoids pregnancy by stopping ovulation. This article contains details about these natural contraception methods and how to avoid pregnancy effectively using these methods. Before we start going into the details of each method, let's first understand what menstrual cycle is and how pregnancy happens.
Menstrual cycle and how pregnancy occur?

Menstrual cycle and how pregnancy occur?

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Day 1 to 7

Uterus lining breaks down, menstruation occurs

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Day 8 to 11

The lining of the womb thickens in preparation for the egg

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Day 12 to 17

Ovulation occurs (usually on day 14)

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Day 18 to 25

If fertilization has not taken place, the corpus luteum fades away

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Day 26 to 28

The uterine lining detaches leading to menstruation

Menstrual cycle and how pregnancy occur?
Usually, a normal female has a 28-days of the menstrual cycle. She may be having 4 days here and there which is considered normal too. The complete cycle can be divided into three phases.
menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

First phase : This is the phase where bleeding happens. Normally, this period lasts for 5 to 7 days. During this period there is shedding of your endometrial lining to later form a new lining

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Second phase : This is the time during which uterus lining builds. Usually, it lasts for 7 days till the date when the ovum is released from your ovaries, that is usually the day of ovulation

menstrual cycle - Utrus icon

Third phase : During this phase, your uterus waits for the sperm to enter and fertilize the egg. If the pregnancy does not occur, then the endometrial lining starts to degenerate. Finally, it starts shedding, which starts a new cycle of menstruation

The pregnancy happens when the male's sperm meets a female's egg. When a woman's ovary releases an egg, it lives only for 12 to 24 hours. Whereas male sperm can live for about three days. Considering a typical female menstrual cycle of 28 days, a woman typically ovulates around day 14. In some cases, the ovulation may happen around days 12, 13 or 14. Ovulation is when a woman releases an egg for fertilization. If a man's sperm is available in the uterus, the pregnancy may occur.
Ovulation can vary based on a woman's menstrual cycle. Some woman has a longer cycle than normal, and some have a shorter cycle than normal 28 days. Thus, it is important to know what the menstrual cycle is and when the ovulation is going to happen? How to avoid pregnancy naturally depends on how accurately you can predict your ovulation day?
Now we have understood the menstrual cycle and how pregnancy happens, let's see different natural contraception methods and how to avoid pregnancy using these methods.
Natural contraception - Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs)

Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs)

Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs) - natural contraception method type
Type
Natural contraception methods
Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs) effectiveness
Effectiveness
76 to 88%
Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs) frequency
Frequency of use
Daily
sexually transmitted diseases protection status by Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs)

Protection against STDs

No
Natural contraception - Rhythm or fertility awareness methods (FAMs)
Fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are the methods to avoid pregnancy naturally and considered as one of the preferred contraception methods for family planning. These are the ways to keep a track of your menstrual cycle so that you will know when there is a high chance of getting pregnant. The days near ovulation or the period when ovaries release an egg is a period when you're most likely to get pregnant. These days are considered unsafe for sex without any other contraception methods. Considering your menstrual cycle to be for 28 days, the days between 7 to 21 favors the pregnancy. These are the days when your egg is released, and sperms can easily fertilize them. Once you accurately know your ovulation and fertilization days, you can avoid pregnancy by avoiding sex during these days or use some other contraception methods.
How to avoid pregnancy naturally by fertility awareness methods depends on how accurately you can predict your ovulation and fertilization days. Predicting this accurately is difficult. Tracking your fertility sings needs a discipline and methods to detect the fertility signs. There are three main methods to track the fertility signs. The temperature method where you measure the temperature everyday morning, the cervical mucus method where you check your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge) every day, and the calendar method where you chart your menstrual cycle on a calendar. It is a good idea to use a combination of these methods to effectively detect the fertility signs and increase the accuracy of this natural contraception method.
Advantages
The major advantage of this contraception method is that there is no health risk involved, no hormones or chemicals will enter your body. It does not have any adverse effect on sex life and pleasure. It does not involve any expenses and requires no medical attention and prior preparation to avoid pregnancy.
Disadvantages
How to avoid pregnancy by fertility awareness methods depends on how accurately you can predict your ovulation and fertilization days. Detecting the fertility signs needs skills and discipline. You must really keep a close eye on the calendar and keep track of your menstrual cycle. This option is available to those who have regular periods. As with other contraception methods to avoid pregnancy naturally, this method also does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. You need to use condoms barrier contraception methods to get protected from STDs. It is not very effective if you use this as only contraception method to avoid pregnancy. It is observed that many couples rely on only the fertility awareness method to avoid pregnancy and mostly encounter unplanned pregnancy. If you are using only this contraception method to avoid pregnancy or for family planning, consult the doctor to understand your menstrual cycle and fertility days.
Withdrawal or pull-out natural contraception method

Withdrawal or pull-out contraception method

Withdrawal or pull-out natural contraception method type
Type
Natural contraception methods
Effectiveness of withdrawal or pull-out natural contraception method
Effectiveness
78%
Withdrawal or pull-out natural contraception method frequency of use
Frequency of use
Every time
STD protection status by withdrawal or pull-out natural contraception method

Protection against STDs

No
Withdrawal or pull-out natural contraception method
Withdrawal or pull-out method is another way how to avoid pregnancy naturally. This contraception method works by keeping the semen or sperms away from the vagina. In this method, the male partner will withdraw himself just before ejaculation to prevent sperms from getting into the vagina. So, ejaculating away from a vulva or vagina prevents pregnancy. Pull out must happen before any semen comes out as a single drop of semen may cause a pregnancy.
For the pull-out method to work best to avoid pregnancy, it must be used with other contraception methods like a ring, contraceptive pills or condoms. This way, if there is spilling, you are still protected. Condoms are the great contraception methods which work best with withdrawal. Along with protection in case of spill out, they also protect against sexually transmitted diseases. You can also practice pull-out while using the condoms to learn to pull out in time. How to avoid pregnancy effectively using pull-out contraception method depends on how accurately you can calculate the time. You need a practice and good control. If you are relying only on this natural contraception method to avoid pregnancy or for family planning, it is always better to keep one of the emergency contraception methods handy in case if there is some problem in withdrawal.
Advantages
This natural contraception method does not have any health risk involved, and no hormones or chemicals will enter your body. There is no cost involve and no preparation to be done before or after the sex. If you have good control, then you can use this effectively to avoid pregnancy naturally.
Disadvantages
This method is considered one of the most unreliable contraception methods to avoid pregnancy and has the highest rate of failure. This needs a lot of control and may affect sexual satisfaction. How to avoid pregnancy naturally with the pull-out method is directly connected to your control. Sex is a very active process and there is a very high chance that this method will fail. So, it's highly advisable to use some other contraception methods along with the withdrawal method to avoid pregnancy and for better family planning. Also, note that this contraception method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. So, a condoms are the good option to go along with the pull-out method, it protects from STDs and acts as an extra layer of security to avoid pregnancy.
Breastfeeding as a natural contraception method

Breastfeeding as a contraception method

Breastfeeding as a natural contraception method type
Type
Natural contraception methods
Effectiveness of breastfeeding as a natural contraception method
Effectiveness
98%
Breastfeeding frequency for effective natural contraception
Frequency of use
Every 4 to 5 hours
STD protection status by beastfeeding natural contraception method

Protection against STDs

No
Breastfeeding as a natural contraception method
Feeding the breastmilk not just offers a mental and physical growth benefits to your child, but also acts as a very effective contraception method how to avoid pregnancy naturally. Your body stops ovulating when you exclusively feed your baby at regular intervals. Typically, you need to feed your baby or nurse the baby every 4 hours during a day and every 6 hours at night. No ovulation means no pregnancy and no period either. That's why breastfeeding as a natural contraception method is also called as lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). "Lactational" means breastfeeding, and "amenorrhea" means not having your period.
This natural contraception method won't work if you feed your baby anything other than breastmilk. It also doesn't work if you use a breast pump. You need to nurse your baby if you want to use breastfeeding to avoid pregnancy. It is also important to note that this contraception method can be used for family planning only for the first 6 months after your baby is born, or until your period returns. After this period, this breastfeeding contraception method becomes less effective and you need to consider some other effective contraception methods to avoid pregnancy and for better family planning.
Advantages
Breastfeeding is an effective method to avoid pregnancy naturally. It is an easy, safe and free way to prevent pregnancy. Once you start breastfeeding, it immediately starts preventing pregnancy. This contraception method does not need any doctor's prescription or medical procedure. This method also does not interrupt sex or cause any adverse effect on sex life and pleasure.
Disadvantages
How to avoid pregnancy naturally using breastfeeding has some limitations and disadvantages. The first disadvantage is that you need to feed your baby exclusively after regular interval. You may not have time and energy to do the regular nursing, or your baby may not be good at sucking the milk. The main limitation is that this natural contraception method works best only for the first 6 months after your baby is born. For better family planning, you need to consider and use other contraception methods like condoms, contraceptive pills. If you want to keep good gap between kids, you may also consider long-acting reversible contraception methods. This method also does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms works best with this method which avoids STDs as well as adds an extra layer of protection from pregnancy.
Abstinence natural contraception method

Abstinence contraception method

Abstinence natural contraception method type
Type
Natural contraception methods
Effectiveness of abstinence natural contraception method
Effectiveness
100%
Abstinence natural contraception method frequency of use
Frequency of use
Every time
STD protection status by abstinence natural contraception method

Protection against STDs

Yes / No
Abstinence natural contraception method
Abstinence is complete avoidance of sex. Abstinence is one of the most effective contraception methods and is 100% effective to avoid pregnancy naturally. Abstinence can mean different for different people. For some people, abstinence means not having any kind of sex. For other people, abstinence means only not having vaginal sex, but other sexual activities are allowed. When it comes to preventing pregnancy by abstinence, only vaginal sex needs to be avoided. How to avoid pregnancy naturally with abstinence depends on how effectively you can avoid getting into to sexual activity.
Abstinence prevents pregnancy by keeping semen away from the vagina, so the sperm cells in semen can't get to an egg and cause pregnancy. If you're abstinent 100% of the time, pregnancy can't happen. People sometimes only use abstinence to prevent pregnancy on days they're fertile or most likely to get pregnant. Abstinence might be interpreted differently by your partner. So, it always a good idea to talk about why you don't want to have a sex. Remember that there are many very effective contraception methods you can choose from. So, if your partner is not comfortable with abstinence, you or your partner can use other effective contraception methods like condoms, or contraceptive pills and avoid pregnancy. In long run, it is not a good family planning method. Sex with your partner is an important aspect of the healthy relations. It's not a good idea to rely only on abstinence for family planning and avoiding sex to prevent pregnancy. If you are looking for no-interruption, nothing to remember contraception method, you may also consider long-acting reversible contraception methods.
Advantages
It's a 100% effective method to avoid pregnancy naturally. There is no cost involved in this method and does not have any health impact. This neither needs attention by the doctor nor any medical procedure.
Disadvantages
How to avoid pregnancy naturally with abstinence depends extremely on your self-control. If you are not sure about your self-control or the situation where you might not control yourself, it better to rely on other contraception methods to prevent pregnancy. This does not provide any protection if you change your mind and decide to have sex. This demands to always have access to another contraception methods in case if you lose your control. If abstinence is considered as avoiding only vaginal sex, this method does not fully protect from sexually transmitted diseases. You may get sexually transmitted decease from oral sex or skin-to-skin contact.
Getting pregnant and having a baby is exciting and the best thing that can happen to a woman. Many times, the unplanned pregnancy is undesirable and can bring stress, disturbance in your plans and overall unhappiness about pregnancy. Unintended pregnancy has a major impact on numerous social, economic, and cultural aspects of life. Through a good selection from all contraception methods and appropriate family planning, you can avoid all this and decide when you want to get pregnant.
There are many advantages of using natural contraception methods to avoid pregnancy. No medication, no prescription from a doctor or no medical procedure. These are the natural ways to avoid pregnancy. How to avoid pregnancy naturally depends on how good you are in understanding your body, controlling your sex desires, and how much you are in control during the sex. So, in long run, it is not a good idea to rely only on natural contraception methods. There are so many other contraception methods you can choose from which are easy to use and very effective to avoid pregnancy. So, understand the limitations along with the benefits of these natural contraception methods before you choose any of them.
Sometimes, selecting the best method from all available contraception methods could be confusing. Condoms, contraceptive pills, IUD, there are so many to choose from. It is highly advised to consult the doctor who will help you to choose a contraception method that is best suitable for you. The more you know about these contraception methods and family planning, the more in control you can be of your sexual health. The more you will be in control about when to have children. Motherhood is a life-changing event. Make sure that you plan for it. If you do not want the pregnancy, use appropriate contraception method to avoid pregnancy. Let the pregnancy bring happiness than a stress and worry about what to do next.
Dr. Varshali Mali (MBBS, DNB). Gynecologist & Pregnancy Doctor

About Author

Dr. Varshali Mali is an Obstetrician and Gynecologist. She did her MBBS from Dr. D. Y. Patil Medical College, Pune, and DNB (Obstetrics & Gynecology) from Jehangir Hospital, Pune. She has a number of years of experience working as a gynecologist, pregnancy doctor, and lecturer. Currently, through her clinic located at Life Republic township near Marunji, she provides gynecology and pregnancy care solutions to the women around Hinjewadi, Wakad and nearby area in Pune. In her patient community, she is known for her welcome nature, smiley face, supportive attitude, intelligence and in-depth knowledge about gynecology and pregnancy. Mother of two daughters, she believes that motherhood is the best gift one can get. As her contribution, she puts her best efforts to make the pregnancy journey most enjoyable for her patients.

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