For a plethora of reasons, women across the globe choose not to use any kind of contraception, especially with hormones, barriers and similar elements. They rather prefer opting for natural birth control methods which aid in preventing unintended pregnancy. Natural methods are some of the oldest forms of contraception and are collectively known as family awareness methods (FAM). These options typically include elements which help in tracking biological changes a woman undergoes throughout her menstrual cycle, while exclusively breastfeeding, making use of a calendar for tracking dates, and so on.
Family Awareness Methods (FAM) is a Contraception Option
According to a study published by one of the leading global healthcare organizations, family awareness methods are some of the most effective and modern forms of birth control. They, when combined with other types of birth control measures, become more effective.
Family awareness methods:
- Help in preventing pregnancy
- Are safe in all respects
- Are based on a complete understanding of human reproductive biology
- Need to be followed according to a defined protocol for correct use
- Have been appropriately tested to assess their effectiveness under various conditions
That said, it’s important to understand that no matter how effective these methods may be, they cannot be classified as foolproof birth control measures. When considering these options, efficacy and failure rates must always be checked to rest assured
Fertility-Awareness Contraceptive Measures Promise Bonus Benefits
Studies and surveys have shown that family awareness methods can be very difficult to use and hence, their efficacy rates aren’t that great – nearly 70-80% only. This also means that women still have a 20% chance of getting pregnant.
The flip side? Efficacy rate must not be the only factor to decide whether or not a particular contraception option is good for you. According to a study published in 2016, family awareness methods have their own set of benefits, which cannot be completely ignored. For instance, they are knowledge-based methods, typically relying on a woman’s understanding of her fertility cycle, breastfeeding practices, and so on. They do not require any clinical intervention, such as intake of additional hormones, insertion of devices, or undergoing procedures. They are the methods which are completely controlled by a woman and her partner.
Different Types of Family Awareness Methods
Here’s a breakdown of different types of family awareness methods.
1. Standard Days Birth Control Method
Women who track their menstrual cycle on a regular basis have an idea about how long their cycle runs. This typically helps them in planning their sexual intercourses. For instance, women whose cycle run for about 26 to 32 days, can prefer this method. They must avoid having sex (or use condoms) from the beginning of day 8 through the end of day 19.
2. Two-Day Birth Control Method
This particular method involves checking vaginal cervical mucus two times in a day, and tracking patterns. Usually, the body secretes mucus when the fertility window opens. Here, the type of mucus secreted ranges from clear and watery to a bit yellowish and thicker in nature. The main purpose of these secretions is to help the body move sperm up toward the ova, and this period of secretion is considered as the most fertile time to plan a baby. If you’re on a pregnancy prevention spree, then avoid having a sexual intercourse, especially during this time,
3. The Cervical Mucus Birth Control Method
As just mentioned above, cervical mucus is released by the body throughout the menstrual cycle in different consistencies. Gynecologists suggest that there are a number of ways to check the consistency, which further can help in analyzing the pattern. It can be done first thing in the morning when you wake up. Either wipe your vagina before urinating with the help of a tissue paper or reach into your vaginal opening with clean fingers to feel the presence of mucus and observe the consistency. Recording such minute details and noting them on a calendar or the app can significantly help in checking patterns during the menstrual cycle.
As a proven fact, menstrual blood hides mucus. This means that period days are the most fertile ones. Once your period ends, the next couple of days are stated as the “dry days” which mark as the least fertile days of your cycle as well. As the body prepares to release an egg again in the uterus, cervical mucus starts to appear again and its color, usually ranges from yellow to white, cloudy, and more or less sticky.
4. Tracking Cervical Mucus plus Basal Body Temperature
This method is typically used along with cervical mucus tracking. It involves noting the body’s basal temperature early in the morning when you wake up. As a matter of fact, the body’s temperature slightly rises when you ovulate. This means that tracking temperature can give you an accurate idea about when to avoid having unprotected vaginal sex.
Amid this, it is also important to understand that several factors can affect your body’s temperature, such as when you fall sick, are under stress, fatigue, involved in smoking and drinking activities and so on. Talk to your gynecologists about how to accurately track your results and understand the best way to read the tracking chart.
5. Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) of Birth Control
Lactational Amenorrhea Method or otherwise abbreviated as LAM, is another natural approach to birth control. Women who are exclusively involved in breastfeeding activity – meaning feeding the baby during the day and at night, not using any artificial means to nurse the baby, and haven’t had their period return for about six weeks after delivery, are least prone to pregnancy for the next coming two months.
The effective rate of LAM is about 98–99 percent, provided the mother follows all the above-mentioned conditions. But, the rate begins to decline once the baby starts eating than just having breastmilk, nurses for a lesser time than before, or her period returns. In such a case, using a second form of contraception, like condoms, can significantly help in preventing unplanned pregnancies.
6. Combined or Sympto-Thermal Family Awareness Method Based Birth Control
Believe it or not, combined or sympto-thermal method of birth control is the greatest hits of all family planning methods. Using a couple of different family awareness methods, such as cervical mucus observations along with calendar planning or basal body temperature charting, the symptom-thermal fertility awareness method enhances their effectiveness and even reduces the chances of failure to about 90% as compared to using a single method alone.