Advantages and disadvantages of natural methods of birth control

Natural methods of contraception

What are the natural methods of contraception?

Natural methods of contraception are considered "natural" because they are not mechanical and not a result of hormone manipulation. Instead, these methods require that a man and woman not have sexual intercourse during the time when an egg is available to be fertilized by a sperm.

The fertility awareness methods (FAMs) are based upon knowing when a woman ovulates each month. In order to use a FAM, it is necessary to watch for the signs and symptoms that indicate ovulation has occurred or is about to occur. 

On the average, the egg is released about 14 (plus or minus 2) days before a woman's next menstrual period. But because the egg survives 3 to 4 days (6 to 24 hours after ovulation) and the sperm can live 48 to 72 hours (up to even 5 days in fertile mucus), the actual time during which a woman may become pregnant is measured not in hours, not in days, but in weeks.

FAMS can be up to 98% effective, but they require a continuous and conscious commitment with considerable monitoring and self-control. Although these methods were developed to prevent pregnancy, they can equally be well used by a couple to increase fertility and promote conception.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of natural methods of birth control?


➧ Natural methods are typically very inexpensive compared to other methods of birth control unless a woman chooses to purchase ovulation test kits.

➧ A woman does not need to take medication or use hormonal manipulation.

➧ No procedures or fittings by a physician are required.


➧ It can be difficult to estimate or know precisely when a woman is fertile, allowing increased chances for unplanned conception.

➧ Natural methods are not as effective as some forms of contraception.

➧ Ovulation test kits are used by some couples using natural methods of contraception, and the cost of these kits is another potential disadvantage.

➧ Being unable to have intercourse at certain times of the month is a disadvantage for some women.

NB: Unfortunately, no birth control method, except abstinence, is considered to be 100% effective.

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