Many people listen to gossip or pop culture instead of consulting doctors regarding family planning. As a result, unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to rise. Moreover, some family planning methods face stigma from society. It makes couples, especially women, feel ashamed to seek help for their reproductive health.
It’s time we change our toxic mindset about family planning. Besides, family planning also helps couples decide how many children to raise. For that reason, it influences every family’s goals, budget, and values.
But not all family planning methods are created equal. You need to consult a doctor to know which one is best for you. Your options include the following:
Natural Family Planning
Natural family planning doesn’t involve pills or devices. It consists of different techniques that help track your fertility. It might be the best method of family planning for you if pills give you side effects.
Below are the different techniques used in this method:
- Rhythm Method
The rhythm method is also known as the “calendar method.” It is one of the oldest ways of family planning. It works by tracking the woman’s menstrual cycle so that you can avoid unprotected intercourse during their ovulation period. A typical menstrual cycle lasts between 28 and 32 days. Ovulation usually occurs around Day 14. But the woman is most fertile from Day 8 through 19.
Every woman’s menstrual cycle is different, though. What’s more, it doesn’t work for all couples. So talk to your doctor to determine if the rhythm method can help you conceive or prevent pregnancy.
- Ovulation Method
The ovulation method is like a simplified version of the rhythm method. Instead of tracking the whole menstrual cycle, the woman will only record her cervical mucus. She can tell by the appearance of her cervical mucus whether she is ovulating or not.
- Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Method
A woman’s body temperature rises by 0.5 and 1 degrees when they ovulate until they get their period. Thus, if a woman checks her body temperature before getting out of bed in the morning, she can see if she is fertile or not. However, the BBT method is often ineffective because the woman is already ovulating when she finds out.
- Symptothermal Methods
This method combines different techniques of natural family planning. It can give women a better idea of how their bodies work. However, natural family planning isn’t as effective as other birth control methods. According to the CDC, it has a failure rate of 24 percent. As such, 1 in 4 couples who use this method and nothing else will get pregnant.
That said, natural family planning is reliable if you are trying to conceive. Such might sound like a no-brainer, but roughly 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. In addition, the national fertility rate in the United States is only 20 percent. So by trying natural family planning methods, couples can understand their bodies more and seek the appropriate treatment they need.
- Levonorgestrel intrauterine system (LNG IUD)
The LNG IUD is a small, T-shaped device a doctor places inside the woman’s uterus. It releases small amounts of progestin that help prevent pregnancy. It can stay inside the uterus for three to six years. As per the CDC, the device’s failure rate is only 0.1-0.4 percent.
- Copper T intrauterine device (IUD)
This IUD is like the IUD above but made of copper. It can stay longer inside the uterus—up to 10 years. But it has a slightly higher failure rate of 0.8 percent.
A birth control implant is a thin rod inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. It releases progestin, like an IUD, for three years. The implant has a low failure rate of 0.1 percent.
- Progestin Shots
Women can also get progestin shots in their buttocks or arm every three months. But this method has a 4 percent chance of failing.
- Oral Contraceptives
Oral contraceptives include two types of pills: the estrogen and progestin pill and the progestin-only pill. Both pills should be prescribed by a doctor and can have side effects and a failure rate of 7 percent.
The patch is attached to the woman’s lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body. They can change the patch once a week or every three weeks. But like the pill, it has a 7 percent chance of failing.
- Male or Female Condoms
Condoms are one of the most effective contraception methods, and they can also prevent STDs. However, the condom must be latex because lambskin and other “natural” materials might not protect against STDs.
Lastly, a couple must have access to safe abortion in an unplanned pregnancy. Fortunately, abortion is legal throughout the United States. An abortion facilitated by a doctor has fewer chances of developing complications. It also allows the couple, especially the woman, to have the procedure done in a judgment-free environment.
There are many ways to conceive easier or to avoid it. But listen to your doctor before trying anything. Don’t risk your health by choosing unreliable sources of information.