Tuesday, April 5, 2011

C is for Contraception

***  WARNING: EEW FACTOR AHEAD!!  ***

Okay. If that and the word "Contraception" didn't scare you away, then off we go!! LOL

A little background: I have been using an IUD (or intrauterine device) for contraception since my youngest was born, 5 years ago. Conveniently, the lifespan of said device is 5 years. So, it was time for me to either get the thing replaced or find an alternate method of birth control. With 4 children already between the two of us, Jeffrey and I would definitely prefer not to have another baby!

For a variety of reasons (which I am happy to discuss in detail if anyone wants to know), I elected not to get the Mirena replaced. After taking it out myself about two weeks ago, I am certain I made the right decision. However, I have previously used about every birth control method known to man - and have very poor tolerance to any of them. My body just doesn't like outside intervention or hormonal interference. ;) So, the most appealing method to me came up as Natural Family Planning!

This method of contraception has gotten a seriously bad rep over the years, but it goes beyond simply 'being careful' - today's NFP includes checking your BBT (basal body temperature), cervical position and mucus, and other symptoms - actually being aware of and charting your own body's cycles and rhythms using scientific indicators for ovulation and fertility. If done correctly and cautiously, it has about a 99.5% efficacy rate in preventing pregnancy - which is on par with an IUD or even tubal ligation. It is also pretty darn helpful if you are trying to GET pregnant!

Okay, I get paying attention to when you ovulate - but not all women know when they ovulate. How do you tell? Well, beyond the ovarian pain, general crankiness (or horniness), and other obvious symptoms, your body goes through some measurable changes. One of those is a slight temperature spike during and for a few days after ovulation, and the other is a change in cervical mucus and position(thus the "eew factor" lol). Becoming familiar with how to track these signs is a challenge of its own!

Fortunately, there are tools and resources to make it easier, such as:

So, now the challenge for me is to re-learn my body's symptoms and cycles. Having been without a period for almost 5 years, dealing with PMS and ovulation and menstruation is a bit strange! Being able to track my own fertility and prevent pregnancy? Priceless. I'm also planning on teaching my daughters (one of whom already menstruates) this knowledge - that they may grow up more aware of their bodies (and the repercussions of their actions) than I did! :)

11 comments:

  1. Bravo! Thanks for posting this. Many girls are taught to be ashamed of their bodies and the natural cycles that they go through. By talking about this in a positive light maybe others will take it up and we can start a discussion based on trust and love of our bodies. Thanks!

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  2. So cool and good luck to you with all the changes. Not always fun, but glad you're able to approach it all in a positive way.
    Just started learning about the many uses for neem oil - apparently it has uses in this realm as well.

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  3. FAM rocks! :D I've been using FAM for somewhere around 5 years now, and I can't fathom doing it any other way. I think the best book I've read on the subject is definitely Toni Weschlers, and I don't think there's a phone app for it yet, but the accompanying software by Ovusoft is worth its weight in gold! Fertility Friend is another freebie web-based charting software, but its not as reliable because its heavily slanted *toward* TTC rather than avoiding conception.

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  4. Excellent information. Thank you for having the courage to share such a touchy subject for many. :)

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  5. One of the best books I have ever read on this subject is called "Taking Charge of Your Fertility" by Toni Weschler. I bought it 14 years ago when we were trying to conceive and having fertility issues. It is amazing how much grown women (myself included before I bought this book) don't know about their own bodies... I think this should be required reading for all teenage girls!

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  6. Thank you so much for sharing so openly information that I feel every woman young and old should be aware of!! If we know our bodies then we are in charge of what does or does not happen to them!! Thank you this is wonderful!!

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  7. Great Blog! Its to bad that so many people are too scared or ashamed of their bodies, for whatever reason, that they have no understanding of how it works. I think health education is seriously lacking in too many areas. It's just a matter of paying attention to what your body says! BB :)<3

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  8. I concur, brava and kudos to you for posting this! I've always been uber sensitive to all contraceptives and finally found a friend in a copper IUD (no hormones). It was good for 10 years but after 7, it didn't like me as much any more. I did go with the Mirena and I absolutely adore it. However, I am intrigued by you NFP and applaud (with a standing ovation) that you are giving your daughters such powerful information--not to fear their own bodies.
    If you check out my blog, and particularly the one titled Strong Enough about my novel, you'll understand better.
    Cheers,
    Ellen
    http://mymotherstuttered.blogspot.com/

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  9. I'm just like you Bri, I can't tolerate most contraception. I was fine on the combined pill, but after I had my son I was advised to go to the progesterone-only pill as I was over 35. That sent me seriously loopy. I can't have the implant or the mirena coil as it uses the same synthetic progesterone that sent me fruit-loop. I get a contact allergic reaction to latex, so it's a case of finding non-latex condoms (which are a: expensive and b: not the most sensitive of things) or go for NFP. NFP it is, then! I love letting my body have the freedom to have its natural cycle!

    Hope it works out as well for you Bri! (And well done for taking such a proactive stance with your daughter - it's wonderful to see young women empowered by knowledge about their bodies, and not fear of them.)

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  10. I am glad to hear so many positive stories! Thank you also for the book and blog recommendations, as well - I will be sure to check them out!

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