Natural contraception encompasses all methods of contraception and contraceptives that do not require hormones or physical intervention. The special feature of natural contraception is that it is free of side effects.
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What is Natural Contraception?
Maybe you’ve been looking for an optimal contraceptive method for some time now for you and your partner and you’re not really satisfied with any of them. With condoms you may lose the fun, diaphragm and cervical cap are complicated and pill, contraceptive injections, etc. will disrupt your hormonal balance. With the copper IUD or the copper coil you have concerns about possible pain, and sterilization is out of the question as you may be planning a pregnancy later on and want to start a family. In all these cases, natural contraception can be the solution for you. The trend is clearly towards natural methods. These do not interfere with the body’s natural processes and hormonal balance.
What Natural Methods are there?
A comparison of the methods of contraception shows that in addition to contraceptives with hormones, natural methods are also available. In our comparison you will find a clear overview of contraception without hormones, which includes contraception protection without the use of chemicals or hormones.
The safest method is the symptothermal method. With this method you combine the measurement of your basal body temperature with the evaluation of the cervical mucus or cervix. These are indicators for the time of your ovulation and fertility. Depending on your fertility status, you can either have carefree sexual intercourse with your partner or use condoms, for example.
The symptothermal method is a method of Natural Family Planning, also known as NFP. Another method of Natural Family Planning is the temperature method, in which only the temperature and not, for example, the mucus is evaluated.1
How Does Natural Contraception Work?
The basis of natural contraception is to determine your fertile and infertile days as well as your ovulation. This is not that difficult if you know that these phases can be recognized by certain signs. If you want to prevent a pregnancy naturally, it is enough to know on which days there is a risk of pregnancy – so you can see at a glance on which days you can have carefree sex with your partner and when you have to watch out and if necessary use barrier methods.
Natural contraception – isn’t that complicated and cumbersome to learn? No, not really. You need to acquire some knowledge, which is not complicated and cumbersome but rather natural and cyclical.
Natural Contraceptive Aids
Most natural contraceptive methods require only a few tools. A suitable basal body thermometer is important. For the analysis of cervical mucus for the application of the symptothermal method no tools are necessary. Technical devices such as a mini-computer can facilitate the evaluation and thus the calculation of the monthly fertility phase.
Natural Contraception: Which Thermometer?
For natural contraception, or to be more precise, to measure the basal body temperature, a correspondingly accurate analogue or digital thermometer with 2 decimal places is required. The measured temperature can then be entered in a cycle sheet, for example. The approximate time of ovulation and thus the fertile phase can then be evaluated by means of certain rules.
Which Computer for Natural Contraception?
All this sounds convincing to you, but complicated? It’s not! There are some small practical helpers who will take care of the analysis. Contraceptive computers have an integrated basal body thermometer and perform the evaluation.
Do you know cyclotest myWay? It is a contraceptive computer that helps you to measure temperature and evaluate the data. Entering additional cycle characteristics is as easy as pie, even if you’re not a technical freak.
A cycle computer is particularly suitable for women who are still uncertain as beginners in natural contraception, as it automatically records the essential cycle data via morning temperature measurement.
- Make cyclotest myWay your Cycle Companion!
- Make your temperature in the morning before getting up – the thermometer is integrated.
- See what the cycle computer shows you today: Fertile or infertile?
Who Should Use Natural Contraception?
Many women are uncertain when it comes to natural contraception: is it suitable for women of all ages and in all relationships? When can I enjoy carefree sexual intercourse?
Natural Contraception for Women who Care about their Health
Natural contraception is first and foremost very helpful for women who want to have sex without hormones and without interfering with their bodies, without the risk of pregnancy. These include in particular women who use the contraceptive pill or other hormonal methods and only discover that it is unsuitable for them, for example, due to side effects of the pill. You can switch to natural contraceptive methods without hesitation.
Natural contraception is also interesting for women who don’t really need contraception because they do not live in a committed relationship. In this way, they not only get to know their cycle and body better, but also develop an awareness of their ovulation. In contrast to hormonal alternatives, this method of contraception can be used as needed without side effects.
How Safe is Natural Contraception?
The reliability of contraceptives and methods is indicated by the Pearl Index. The lower it is, the safer the method of contraception. Natural contraception, especially the symptothermal method, can achieve good results in terms of safety.
Natural contraception also for young women?
Contrary to the prejudice that teenagers are too young and inexperienced for natural contraception, they should of course gain experience with this method – because it is only through practice that one learns this method and gets a better understanding of what happens in one’s own body. Our guest author Sanara – herself the mother of a daughter – has dealt with the whole topic in detail and comes to the conclusion in her article “Hormone-free Contraception for Young Women” that it does not necessarily have to be accompanied by hormones, but can also be completely natural. It’s a good thing when teenagers have a reference person who accompanies them on this big issue.
Natural Contraception & Me – Does that Fit Together?
It is important that you feel comfortable with the chosen method of contraception – this also applies to your partner. Below we have put together some important points for you. Ultimately, it is a very personal decision, which is sometimes determined by the sensitivity for one’s own body and the relationship with the partner. The requirements are individual and often change over the years. What stage of my life am I in? How intensively do I want to study contraceptive methods? Are there any health problems?
Effective, reliable: 38 %
Easy, practical, convenient: 31 %
Few side effects: 17 %
Reasons for choosing a particular contraceptive. Based on: population practising contraception aged 18-49 years in Germany. Multiple mentions possible. Source: Federal Centre for Health Education: Contraception Practices of Adults in Germany. Results of a representative survey. Cologne. 2011.2
The following points speak in favour of natural contraception:
Are you interested in getting to know your body better?
This is an important point if you are interested in natural contraceptive methods. In order for it to work, you must learn to perceive and correctly interpret the signals of your body and for your ovulation. It’s not difficult with practice. Mini-computers can support you in this process, as they automatically record and evaluate the resulting data.
Do you have problems with the side effects of birth control pills?
Are you thinking about going off the pill for health reasons? In this case you should try this method – it can help you to return to a natural cycle.
You want a child – not now, but later?
Natural contraception does not affect your ovulation, fertility or cycle. You can practice it as long as you like – and if you want to have a child, you can easily change over and try to become pregnant in the next cycle. Incidentally, the likelihood of pregnancy can be significantly increased if the fertile days are known and used.3 And all the information about ovulation and egg cells that you have collected before can be of benefit to you in your desire to conceive.
You long for more naturalness?
If you are bothered by hormones, condoms, the IUD and other methods, natural contraception can be a benefit for your partnership. You do not need to take hormones or the pill, nor do you need to use any foreign bodies such as the IUD or the copper coil. If you are in the cycle phase when it is not possible to become pregnant, you don’t have to worry about anything else. This opens up new freedom for you and your partner: You don’t need a condom or other contraceptive and you can have spontaneous sex on infertile days – and be sure that nothing happens.
Should your partner assume responsibility?
In natural contraception, communication with your partner is important.4 This is no longer a woman’s sole responsibility, your partner must also follow the female body’s own cycle. What sounds like a restriction, however, can enrich sex and deepen the partnership. Natural contraception can also be suitable for strengthening and intensifying the partnership, as this type of contraception can also involve men taking responsibility, e. g. during the fertile phase.
When is natural contraception not recommended?
You travel a lot
If you travel frequently and often, possibly with time zone shifts and jet lag, this method cannot be used reliably. A certain regularity of sleep patterns is essential to interpret the ovulation signals correctly.
Changing early/late/night shifts
If you have an early/late and night shift job, you should choose one of the other contraceptive methods.
Very irregular cycles
Few women have a cycle pattern in which certain events always occur at exactly the same time. After all, we are not machines! In the case of an irregular cycle with extreme fluctuations in the fertile phase, however, the use of a natural method, including the symptothermal one, could be difficult. In this case, a different alternative should be used if necessary.
1 Malteser Arbeitsgruppe NFP (ed.): Natürlich und sicher. Das Praxisbuch. 18th edition. Stuttgart 2011.
2 Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung (ed.): Verhütungsverhalten Erwachsener. Ergebnisse der Repräsentativbefragung. Köln 2011.
3 Gnoth, C. et al.: Time to pregnancy: results of the German prospective study and impact on the management of infertility. Human Reproduction 18: 1959–66. 2003.
4 Raith-Paula, E. et al.: Natürliche Familienplanung heute. Modernes Zykluswissen für Beratung und Anwendung. 5th edition. Heidelberg 2013.