There are many types of natural birth control methods. Its use has declined because of more modern and effective methods. Although it requires a lot of discipline, it is still recommended in women that do not want to get pregnant, but suffer diseases such as vascular, metabolic or any other condition in which the use of contraceptives is contraindicated.

In the previous text, temperature method and cervical mucus method were discussed.

The Calendar Method

Also known as the Ogino-Knaus method, consists of calculating the fertile period taking into account the menstrual cycle in a year, minimum 8 months. Most mobile telephones have an app in which you can write down your information and it will keep track of your menstruation.

First, you mark the first day of your period and mark it as day 1. After that, you count the number of days between the first days of each cycle. If your cycle starts on January 1st, and your second cycle starts on January 30th, that would mean your cycle lasts 30 days.

It is important to know that for the calendar to be more effective your cycle should always last more than 27 days for it to be accurate.

Once the number of days are determined, find the shortest cycle on your record and subtract 18 from the number of days in that cycle.  Then, count the number of days starting from the beginning of the 1st day of your cycle and mark that day as the first fertile day. To calculate the last day you are likely to be fertile, you do same procedure finding the longest cycle, but instead you will subtract 11.

Calendar methods may predict mostly the safe and unsafe days, it won’t be accurate to when you are fertile. It is most accurate if your cycles are all the same, more than 27 days and you never miss a cycle. It is more effective when used combined with other natural methods such as temperature and cervical mucus methods. Depending on the regularity of each cycle, the pearl index can vary from 1-47%. Pearl index. will tell how effective it is, the higher it is, the less effective it is.

 All Fertility Awareness Methods are around 76-88% effective. Pearl Index goes around 12-24 percent. Combining the methods make them work even better, so using them should be taken into consideration. Some of the advantages are they are cheap, they have no side effects and are even recommended in women that suffer from other vascular diseases in which it is contraindicated to use hormonal methods.

The disadvantages are that not all women can use it if they have irregular cycles, if they do not keep track of the signs daily, and if they have different sexual partners since it doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases. If your partner is not committed to avoid vaginal sex or use other birth control during fertile days, it is not advisable to use this method.  Certain hormonal changes, vaginitis or vaginosis, and breastfeeding can alter some of the cycles and the recordings so this is a huge disadvantage for you to be able to track your period accurately.

Before you decide which method is most appropriate for you, always seek professional health care givers so that they may answer any of your questions. Also, take into consideration that you shouldn’t start one of this methods right away if you have recently taken hormonal birth control or even emergency contraceptive because the hormonal effects they produce in your body may alter your cycle completely.

References:

  • https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/fertility-awareness/are-fertility-awareness-methods-right-me
  • https://www.birthcontrol.com/options/fertility-awareness-method/
  • https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-get-pregnant/trying-conceive
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1514009
  • picture source: https://pixabay.com
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