Disclaimer: This blog post contains information that could be sensitive. Referral websites for further information will be listed at the bottom of the post for your own further research. A lot this is from my own personal experience, and includes my own personal opinions. Feel free to leave your comments below, but bare in mind everyone’s experience is different.
This blog post speaks all about natural contraception methods that do not change the bodies hormones.
Hormonal Contraception: Contraceptive Pill, Implant, Injection, IUD etc.
I was so excited when I came across the concept of FAM (fertility awareness method) as a form of natural contraception. I’m someone who hasn’t ever enjoyed the idea and concept of hormonal contraception even before I knew the negative impact it can have. I heard of FAM after I went vegan and started switching to a natural lifestyle. This was about a year before I purchased my Natural Cycles subscription. This isn’t a sponsored post, but I really wanted to share this method with you as, if you’re like me and dislike hormonal contraception, then there is another option.
What Is FAM?
As mentioned above, FAM is the fertility awareness method. This is a method of contraception that involved tracking or “charting” your cycle. It often gets confused with the Rhythm method, but they are very different methods. From my current understanding, the Rhythm method tracks ovulation based on the average 28 day cycle. However, not every females cycle is 28 days. A healthy cycle can vary between 24-36 days, and not everyone’s cycle is regular. Many things, including stress, can alter the cycle. The fertility awareness method tracks the female cycle using 3 methods: cervical position, body temperature, and cervical fluid.
- Cervical Position: Read how to check this here.
- Body Temperature: This can be done using a basel thermometer.
- Cervical Fluid: “In the days before ovulation the fluid becomes smoother and you may start to feel “wet.” It’s rather creamy, or lotion like, and a good clue that ovulation will happen shortly and you are becoming fertile.” (Natural Fertility and Wellness.)
The website and book: Taking Charge of Your Fertility (linked here) shares how to chart your cycle correctly, and how to monitor these 3 things. In all honesty, I don’t chart my cycle on paper. I use two apps (Natural Cycles and MyFlo) and pay attention to my body. What I do do is use the Natural Cycles thermometer to track my bodily temperature in the morning as I know this to be safe and accurate, more information further in the post.
When I was a teenager I was unaware of my full female cycle. I knew that once a month I would get my period for 4 days, and thought that was it. However, from research in my 20’s I have learnt that the female cycle does not actually end. There are 4 stages of the cycle: Follicular, Ovulation, Luteal, and Menstrual. (Stages taken from the MyFlo App. For more information on these, download the MyFlo App.)
- Follicular: Phase Two: 7-10 days.
- Ovulation: Phase Three: 3-5 days.
- Luteal: Phase Four: 10-14 days.
- Menstruation: Phase One: 3-7 days.
A life changing piece of knowledge that I have also learnt, and that seems obvious to me now, is this: A female can only get pregnant whilst in ovulation, and not at any time during the month. This is why, for me, it is important to track ovulation.
“Natural Cycles plays a huge role in women’s lives, which humbles us. So we always have their best interest at heart in every decision we make.”
-Elina Berglund, CTO & Co-founder of Natural Cycles
Natural Cycles is an effective method of contraception. From the app, you can learn more about your body, and begin to understand your cycle. It’s a contraceptive method that works, but doesn’t have any side effects. This product was created by Elina and Raoul who were on the search for an alternative method of contraception. This method of contraception has an effective percentage of: 99% for perfect use and 93% for typical use. When used accurately, it is more effective than the contraceptive pill.
How Does it Work?
Natural Cycles is both a basel thermometer and a mobile app that take and tracks a females fertility. A female can only get pregnant for 6 days during her cycle and this app creates an algorithm that analyses the body temperature to tell you exactly where you are at in your cycle, and when you need to use protection to prevent a pregnancy. (Natural Cycles.)
Basically, all you have to do is measure your temperature before you get out of bed and type that temperature into the app. The basel thermometer is important as is measure a 2 decimal temperature for an accurate reading. You place the thermometer under your tongue, press the button, and wait for it to start beeping. Then bingo, you have your temp!! Once you type this temperature into the app, it gives you a red or green day. Red = use protection and Green = won’t get pregnant.
“You measure your temperature first thing in the morning before you get out of bed. This reading is an indirect measure of your hormone levels and the information the app needs to effectively analyse your cycle and calculate your red or green day.” – Natural Cycles.
The website is full of information, and the app gives you tips a few days out of the week. Click here.
My Contraception Journey
My contraception journey actually started when I was around 14 because of my acne. It is very common to be prescribed a contraceptive pill during puberty as a method of helping teenage acne, and irregular period. I know now that this doesn’t actually cure either. It just does something to your hormones that makes your issue step until you come off the pill. I actually don’t know the science behind this so I won’t pretend to. What I do know is this: I have been on 4 different contraceptive pills, all possible anti-biotics and even accutane and my acne still exists.
Anyway, I digress. As I mentioned, during my teenage life I was on 4 different types of contraceptive pill and I came off all of them after 3 months for the same reasons: low mood/depression and consistent headaches. It’s strange when I think back to this time because even before I knew there was any issue with these medications, I had a gut feeling that I shouldn’t take them. It’s like my mental and physical body rejected them.
Following on from here, I tried the implant. This was for actual contraceptive purposes and not for my acne, but my thoughts and side effects around it were the same. I had it removed after a month. I felt like I was micro chipped. My 4th pill was after the implant and it was the mini pill. Apparently better for you than the combined pill, but I still had headaches and refused it.
That pretty much ends my hormonal contraception journey, and that leads me on to something I would not recommend: the “pull out method”. As someone who is responsible, this isn’t very responsible, HOWEVER, when you don’t take anything hormonal your body generally regulates its cycles. Well, mine did. I am so grateful to have had a regular cycle for 10 years, (I started my period when I was 11) so I could roughly estimate my ovulation as I got older and learnt more about my body. That’s why I was so happy to find out about Natural Cycles because it fitted into my lifestyle perfectly, and helped me measure accurately what I had essentially been winging for about 2 years.
I am so thankful to myself for not ever being consistent with hormonal birth control. I know most people are, and so many people come away from hormonal contraception and turn to Natural Cycles. This is all my own journey and I know everyone is different, but I know how long it can take to find a method of contraception that suits you. There are so many different pills, and I know so many people who have complained about the side effects of the implant or the weight gain from the injection. Tracking your cycle doesn’t have side effects. That’s why I love it.
* sidenote: does not protect against STIs.*
Natural condom brand: here.
Why Natural Cycles Over Other Basel Thermometers?
- Many Basel Thermometrer options including: Daisy etc are very expensive as a one time purchase. These products are great options, but I wanted something more affordable.
- This is a very affordable option that has a pay monthly deal. It also has a yearly offer of £39.99 that include the thermometer.
- There is obviously the app that tracks your fertility, and tells you if you are having a red or green day. I makes the process very easy to use.
- This company also sells ovulation LH tests to improve accuracy of your ovulation period. These are sold on the same Webshop, and are linked further down this blog post.
- It is a completely natural and up to 99% accurate way to use contraception.
- It doesn’t have any negative side effects.
- It is very easy and understandable to use.
This blog post has touched on, and mentioned that hormonal contraception can have side effects and a negative impact. There is of course a place for hormonal contraception. It is also completely personal to an individual what ever method of contraception they choose, if any. What is mentioned is true for my experience, and if it is also true for yours then I have listed sources below to give you more information about this natural alternative and switching from hormonal to non-hormonal. I don’t feel comfortable speaking about negative issues hormonal contraception can have as I am obviously not qualified, but I highly recommend choosing natural if you can. It is so great having a contraceptive method that matches a natural lifestyle.
- Natural Cycles
Other Natural Products:
- Condoms: Sustain, Sustain UK
- Lube: Sustain
- Tampons: TOMS, Natracare
- Sanitary Pads: Natracare
- Menstrual Cup: OrganiCup