Why I Stopped Using Birth Control
Like many women my age, I took birth control religiously. If I missed a day, I panicked and immediately pop two pills at once.
By the time I was a Junior in college, I had switched my method/brand of birth control three times. I had experienced all most ALL of the symptoms of being on hormonal birth control:
You name it!
It wasn't until I started taking a "chewable" birth control pill (which tasted horrible btw) that I began to experience SEVERE mood swings.
After days of questioning my sanity, I realized that my bouts of intense sadness and anxiety were brought on by my birth control. Needless to say, I stopped taking them immediately and apologized to my boss for having to leave work because I could barely contain my tears.
I was so nervous about being off of birth control because I thought that my debilitating cramps would come back with a vengeance but I just couldn't bring myself to continue taking any form of a hormonal contraceptive.
After doing a great deal of research on alternative methods of birth control, I came across Natural Family Planning (NFP) and decided to give it a try.
I'll be honest...
Though it made complete sense (in theory), I was still nervous that it would be too hard to keep up with and that I'd ultimately have to bite the bullet and make an appointment with my OBGYN to discuss birth control options.
I decided to go ahead and start becoming familiar with what to look for every month and I began to really become in tune with my body.
I tried countless apps but it wasn't until I came across Kindara that I was hooked. Once I knew what to look for and how to track it, keeping up with my fertility signs became second nature.
According to the "Couple to Couple League" website:
So let's get down to the nitty gritty. But first:
DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. Please do not use this as medical advice. Always discuss your concerns and any questions you may have with your Doctor!
In order to practice NFP, you need to know the three major fertility signs:
- Cervical Mucus (AKA the good vaginal discharge)
- Basal Body Temperature
- Cervical Position
1 Cervical Mucus
Cervical mucus is a type of discharge that women naturally produce more or less of over the course of their menstrual cycle.
Around the time of your menstrual cycle (before and right after) your body produces less cervical fluid, however, during ovulation, your body produces a lot more cervical mucus varying in texture according to how imminent ovulation is.
Initially, this can be tricky to track but once you get the hang of it, it becomes like a sixth sense.
Plus, if you're a beginner and need something to refer to, there are dozens of sites with photos of the change in cervical mucus over the course of a woman's menstrual cycle- I ain't posting it here.
2 Basal Body Temperature
Basal body temperature (BBT) is your temperature when your body is completely at rest. Once you begin tracking, you'll learn what a normal resting temp looks like for you and be able to recognize potential causes for outlying temps.
Things such as alcohol, ovulation and not getting enough sleep can cause your temp to be higher than normal.
Around the time of ovulation, your BBT rises steadily. Once ovulation has past, your temperature will return to its lower BBT temp pattern signaling that aunt flow is near.
If you are pregnant however, your BBT will remain high long after ovulation and it's likely that you'll experience a missed period around this time as well.
When I first began to explore NFP, I was using a super cheap BBT thermometer that I found at Wal-Mart, but then I came across the WINK by Kindara and I absolutely LOVE it. It makes it so easy to keep track of my temps without having to remember to put them in my phone.
Plus once it takes your temp, it does a soft vibration to let you know it's done and sends the temp directly to your phone via Bluetooth!
3 Cervical Position
Cervical position refers to the current physical state of your cervix during your menstrual cycle. When tracking cervical position, you want to pay attention to how high or low, wet or soft, and open or closed your cervix is.
Around the time of ovulation, the cervix is typically soft, high, open and wet (SHOW). After ovulation has occurred, if you aren't pregnant, your cervix will then become hard, low, closed and dry(sorry, I don't think that there's an acronym for that one).
Cervical position is one of the trickiest signs to track because the cervix position fluctuates throughout the day. So When tracking cervical position, it's wise to track it at the same time each day for the most accurate observations.
I know what you're thinking...
"I might as well take the birth control if I'm gonna do all that."
But be patient and trust the process. I know it seems like a lot but after about two months, I was pretty comfortable tracking and became well acquainted with what I should look for month-to-month.
So far, natural family planning has been working for us for a year and counting!
I now am able to confidently predict when I'm ovulating and I'm also able to predict my upcoming periods- almost down to the day!
Are any of you trying of Natural contraception or NFP as an alternative to birth-control?
If so, how has it been working for you?