Natural Birth Control
Let's talk about sex. One of the questions I get asked most frequently is what do I for birth control. If you know me at all you would guess (and be correct) that I do not take a hormonal birth control. I realize they work for many people and that birth control methods are a very personal choice. However "the pill" has never been for me. I am not at all comfortable imposing synthetic hormones on my natural cycle. I am super clean about what I eat, what products I use, and what I clean my house with so why would I pump my body full of hormones? No thank you! In case you need a refresher, this is how "the pill" works.
Many birth control pills contain high levels of estrogen that effectively convince your pituitary gland that you are pregnant (this explains some of the side effects of the drugs) and that you don’t need to ovulate. Because your body thinks you are pregnant, the uterine lining thickens. Once you start the placebo pills, however, your estrogen level drops suddenly, and your body menstruates “normally.”
This abnormal cycle is what millions of women experience every month, and yet few doctors discuss the consequences of taking these prescriptions for year after year.
Some physical and emotional changes take place that are permanent while you stay on the pill. Many of these changes occur as your body’s response to synthetic estrogen.
These changes include:
- Larger breasts
- Weight gain or loss
- Reduced or increased acne
- Slight nausea
- Emotional sensitivity right before your period
- Mood swings throughout your cycle
- Irregular bleeding or spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased libido
Even scarier than the “mild” side effects are the serious health risks that accompany birth control pills. These include:
- Increased risk of cervical and breast cancers
- Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
- Higher blood pressure
- Gall bladder disease
- Benign liver tumors
- Decreased bone density
- Yeast overgrowth and infection
- Increased risk of blood clotting
Scary stuff right? Certainly scary enough for me to seek out natural birth control methods.
My cycle has always been regular and I have been lucky to be able to chart my cycle and predict my fertile and non fertile days using my calendar. This method worked well for me in preventing Hermione's arrival until Doug and I were good and ready to start a family. However, this method can be risky and I would not recommend it to anyone who does not have starting a family somewhere on their radar. Accidents can certainly happen!
After Hermione was born it took 17 months for my cycle to return. This is fairly normal for anyone who exclusively breastfeeds, especially if you do not use bottles or pump at all. Once my cycle did return I wanted to find a fast, easy and dependable way to prevent another pregnancy. Enter my new friend Daysy.
Daysy is a sleek little fertility monitor that uses the Fertility Awareness Method to predict your fertile and non fertile days with 99.3% accuracy. Using Daysy is super simple. Every morning first thing before getting out of bed I take my basal body temperature under my tongue. If I am menstruating I confirm it with Daysy. Daysy then evaluates my data and tells me if I am fertile or not via the colored light at it's center
Red light= fertile day
Green light= not fertile
Yellow light= Daysy is still getting to know me, so best to be careful on this day!
So far Daysy has worked incredibly well for me. It took a little while to get used to taking my temperature first thing but now I find myself subconsciously reaching for Daysy as I wake up.
Days can also be used to help plan a pregnancy so if we ever decide to expand our family I will certainly look to Daysy to help me narrow down the window of days I am likely to conceive.
Again, I realize birth control is a very personal choice and there are many ways to handle it, this is just what works for me!