Couples or individuals may have personal, religious or spiritual reasons for using natural contraceptive methods. Sometimes there could be medical and health related reasons why artificial means cannot be used for birth control.
Yet others may be reluctant to use hormones as a method of birth control or may think of condoms and so on as being inhibiting to sexual spontaneity and enjoyment.
So what are the different natural contraceptive methods are how effective are they?
The billings method
This is also known as the cervical mucus or the ovulation method that lets a woman understand the signs of ovulation by examining her cervical mucus to gauge when she is ovulating.
Based on this sex can be refrained from (if trying to avoid pregnancy). The efficacy of this method depends upon how well a woman knows her system, how accurate her information is and how precisely her cervical mucus indicates ovulation.
There are also other natural contraceptive methods to identify when ovulation takes place, such as the symptothermal method which makes use of a basal body temperature thermometer to find out when ovulation takes place. The woman also indentifies ovulation based on other symptoms such as breast tenderness, bloating, ovary pain or low backache.
Basal body temperature is a pretty accurate way of indentifying ovulation but the reliability of this form of natural birth control can vary depending on how reliable these other symptoms of ovulation are in each woman.
This is the only one of the natural contraceptive methods that is a hundred percent effective. It is also among the few types of natural birth control that has religious sanction across the board.
The rhythm method
This method of natural contraception refers to previous menstrual cycles to predict when ovulation will take place and then avoid sexual intercourse on those days. This is not a very reliable method of birth control unless a woman has an extremely regular and predictable system.
However most women will at least occasional and marginal changes in their menstrual cycle and this can upset the predictions and calculations.
This method of birth control requires a man to pull his penis out of the woman’s vagina prior to ejaculation. Though the plus points of the method are that there is no need for monitoring cervical mucus, counting days and making calculations, there are several drawbacks to these natural contraceptive methods as well.
For one, there is the need for great self control on part of the man. And even if the actual ejaculation doesn’t take place inside the vagina, the pre-ejaculate fluid that is produced contains significant amounts of sperm as well, and could be responsible for causing a pregnancy.
Except complete abstinence, no other natural contraceptive methods can be said to be really effective. They all have their shortcomings and may be effective or ineffective to a lesser or larger extent. There are other factors such as the woman’s age, the man’s frequency of sexual intercourse, male and female fertility levels that could impact the efficacy.