>U Mom Knows Best: The Modern Woman: Contraception as a Lifestyle

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

The Modern Woman: Contraception as a Lifestyle

Though popular, hormonal forms of contraception are not always the best option for an individual. Whether they have had adverse reactions to past treatments or simply choose to lead a holistic lifestyle, many women are beginning to realize the advantages to abandoning western medicine and returning to the traditional practices of contraception through leading one of several "natural" lifestyles.

The only lifestyles known to have 100% effectivity are abstinence or outercourse, meaning sexual activity that does not include vaginal intercourse. Outercourse can describe a plethora of different forms of sexual activity where semen never contacts the vagina. While abstinence is not as common a practice today as it once was, this method also guarantees a conception-free experience.

Additionally, becoming pregnant while breastfeeding is very rare as the hormones needed to produce a significant amount of breastmilk prevent ovulation, acting as a natural form of birth control. If the mother continues to breastfeed on a consistent basis, her body will not ovulate, and periods will not occur. Although this method is 98% effective, it requires a previous pregnancy and is, therefore, an available form of contraception to a small percentage of women.

 As hormonal birth control use is on the decline, more women are advocating for fertility awareness as a form of contraception. This involves tracking your symptoms daily including your discharge, body aches, energy levels, and mood to know when your ovulation window is occurring. Once you are aware of your window, you can simply avoid having penetrative sex during that time, keeping you pregnancy-free 76-88% of the time.

Finally, the method known as withdrawal, or the “pull-out method”, is commonly used to participate in intercourse while reducing the risk of pregnancy. This method is effective about 78% of the time when executed appropriately but can be a risky form of contraception. Even when performed correctly, there is a chance that sperm are present in the male’s precum and can impregnate the female.

If a mistake occurs, or perhaps your own fears get the better of you and you would like a backup to these natural lifestyles, there are two forms of emergency contraceptives (ECs) that have proven to be up to 87% effective when taken appropriately after intercourse. The most common form of EC is Plan B One-Step which is a single hormone pill that is taken by mouth within 3 days of sex to prevent ovulation. These pills can be found in your local grocery store or pharmacy and no prescription is needed. The second form of contraception is known as Ella. While this pill is less popular, it can be effective up to 5 days after intercourse, though its effectiveness increases the sooner it is taken after sex. Ella can be found in pharmacies with a prescription or in clinics that specialize in reproductive healthcare such as abortion clinic Houston, but cannot be found over the counter like Plan B.

With the rise of social media there has also been a rise in the popularity of holistic medicine and natural ways to treat your body. When it comes to lifestyle forms of birth control, remember that only two methods are guaranteed to prevent pregnancy 100%, but also keep in mind that you have other options if something happens, or if you would just like the extra peace of mind.

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