Birth Control vs. Fertility Awareness


When it comes to preventing pregnancy – there will always be something to give up, regardless of which method you choose.

The popular options are hormonal birth control/implanted device, barrier methods, or a fertility awareness based method.

NONE are 100% effective.

Hormonal birth control 

The Upside: 

-Although there is a routine that must be remembered and adhered to, you gain the ease of a relatively mindless daily procedure.

-Intercourse can occur at any time – even if goal is to avoid pregnancy.

-It decreases the risk of some forms of cancer.

-It is often covered by insurance; easily accessible.

-Sometimes you gain symptom relief (when applicable).

The Downside: 

-You may gain other unwanted symptoms and put yourself at risk for severe side effects like blood clots, stroke, and some forms of cancer.

-You may lose libido.

-You lose valuable health information that our bodies provide via a functioning system and the ability to treat any underlying cause (when applicable) because the action of the synthetic hormones is to shut down the fertility system.

-There is a risk of causing permanent infertility.

-It only gives the user one benefit (out of 3), which is avoiding pregnancy; it carries no knowledge useful for achieving pregnancy or health.

-If and when the user changes her intention in use of the method, it requires time and planning; advised to wait 3-6 months after ceasing the pill to increase chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy.

-Cost is ongoing.

-It can terminate a pregnancy without a woman knowing she’s pregnant.

Implanted device

-Same as above, but add the possibility of migration of device through organs inside the pelvic cavity.

-Remove the daily procedures of taking a pill, but add the more invasive process of implantation and removal. There is a “shelf life” and at some point, they need to be replaced.

Barrier Methods

The Upside

-There are no synthetic hormones introduced into the woman’s body and no severe side effects.

-A woman can change her mind regarding intention in use whenever she chooses.

-Intercourse can occur at any time – even if goal is to avoid pregnancy.

-Possible to use in conjunction with a fertility awareness method (FAM).

The Downside

-No relief from symptoms (when applicable).

-It requires “suiting up” for sex; requires barrier to be present.

-Can effect pleasure/be uncomfortable/requires clean up and/or disposal.

-It requires some knowledge of “suiting up” correctly to be effective.

-Chemical reactions are possible when using condoms.

-Intercourse occurs during times that are considered infertile anyway if fertility awareness method is not understood (barrier is wasted).

-It is a less effective means of avoiding pregnancy.

-If used in combination with a mucus-only method, it can cause additional discharge that will effect accuracy of observations.

-It only gives the user one benefit (out of 3), which is avoiding pregnancy; it alone carries no benefit of knowledge useful for achieving pregnancy or health.

-Cost is ongoing.

Fertility Awareness Based Method

The Upside: 

-All methods are safe with no risks or unwanted side effects.

-Intercourse can occur at any time. (Pregnancy is likely to occur if a day of fertility is chosen for couples with normal fertility).

-Awards the individual with knowledge of self and an array of health benefits, including possibilities of treatment depending on the needs of the woman/couple.

-There are 3 benefits in one (avoid, achieve, and health).

-The woman can change her mind regarding intention in use whenever she chooses.

-It often facilitates more communication between the couple and encourages them to seek growth in other areas of intimacy

-Cost can be a factor, but for many methods is front-loaded and decreases over time.

-HSA/FSA often reimburse. Insurance companies are beginning to cover services more often, but with specific requirements.

The Downside: 

-If the intention is to avoid pregnancy, intercourse should only take place outside of the fertile window.

-There is a learning curve and requires time taken to form and incorporate new habits into daily routine.

-You must acquire a large amount of knowledge (also an upside).

-Time is required to research which method works for individual woman/couple. Sometimes multiple methods must be tried before finding the right one.

-Cost can be a factor; hard to find insurance coverage.

Although it has nothing to do with avoiding pregnancy, there are some who use no method at all. It is worth comparing this as well:

No Method

The Upside

-Intercourse can occur at any time. (Pregnancy is likely to occur if a day of fertility is used for couples with normal fertility).

-No extra time is needed to learn a method

-There is no need to remember daily procedures.

-It is safe with no side effects.

The Downside

-No knowledge of body is gained.

-It carries no health benefits (which are helpful for health of the woman, but also to help achieve healthy pregnancy that can be maintained).

-If a need arises to have an intention on avoiding or achieving pregnancy, time and resources must be available to do so.

What are you willing to give up?

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