advertisement

Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Does Natural Birth Control Work?

What natural methods of birth control can I try? And which ones are most reliable?

A
Answer (Published 3/30/2006)

Reviewed on 3/09/2010

If you're going the natural route, you'll probably be better off combining two methods rather than depending on only one. For example, the cervical mucus method can be 98 percent effective when used in conjunction with the temperature method.

Related Weil Products
Weil Vitamin Advisor for Women's Health - Women's health issues such as menopause, PMS and menstruation can often be effectively addressed through lifestyle, diet, and prudent supplementation. Get your free, personalized recommendation - start now!
  • Cervical mucus: This involves checking the amount and texture of your cervical mucus, a vaginal discharge that reflects estrogen levels at various points in the menstrual cycle. Just after menstruation you probably won't notice any cervical mucus at all. Later, you'll see a cloudy, sticky mucus. When this increases in volume and resembles raw egg white, ovulation is near. As soon as you notice this change, be sure to avoid intercourse until four days after you observe that the mucus is again cloudy and sticky or has disappeared altogether.
  • Temperature: This approach involves taking your temperature with a special "basal" thermometer as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your normal temperature probably will range from 97.2 to 97.7 degrees before ovulation. The hormonal changes prior to ovulation boost basal body temperature; you'll see an increase of 0.5 to 1.6 degrees. When your temperature is elevated for at least two days, you'll know you are ovulating and should avoid intercourse. You can resume having sex when your temperature returns to normal.
  • Calendar Method: If your menstrual cycle is very regular, you could try the "calendar" method, which involves avoiding sex during the week that you believe you're ovulating. To do this right you'll have to first track your periods for a year. Then to figure out when you might be fertile, subtract 18 from the number of days of your shortest cycle in the past year. This is the date on which you should stop having sex. To calculate when you can resume, subtract 10 from the number of days in your shortest cycle. Used on its own, the calendar method has a 75 percent success rate.
  • Withdrawal: This method requires the man to withdraw his penis from the vagina before ejaculation. This is the least reliable of the natural methods: only 60 to 80 percent successful.

You also have the option of using a diaphragm or condoms. Used consistently, diaphragms are 84 percent effective when used in conjunction with a spermicidal cream; condoms are 97 percent effective when used consistently and correctly and have the added advantage of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Follow Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet and save 30%. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Stay Connected with Dr. Weil
Promote the health of your body, mind and spirit - sign up for Dr. Weil's FREE newsletters today!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

 
Copyright © 2016 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here

  

Q & A Library



Q
Does Natural Birth Control Work?

What natural methods of birth control can I try? And which ones are most reliable?

A
Answer (Published 3/30/2006)

Reviewed on 3/09/2010

If you're going the natural route, you'll probably be better off combining two methods rather than depending on only one. For example, the cervical mucus method can be 98 percent effective when used in conjunction with the temperature method.

Related Weil Products
Weil Vitamin Advisor for Women's Health - Women's health issues such as menopause, PMS and menstruation can often be effectively addressed through lifestyle, diet, and prudent supplementation. Get your free, personalized recommendation - start now!
  • Cervical mucus: This involves checking the amount and texture of your cervical mucus, a vaginal discharge that reflects estrogen levels at various points in the menstrual cycle. Just after menstruation you probably won't notice any cervical mucus at all. Later, you'll see a cloudy, sticky mucus. When this increases in volume and resembles raw egg white, ovulation is near. As soon as you notice this change, be sure to avoid intercourse until four days after you observe that the mucus is again cloudy and sticky or has disappeared altogether.
  • Temperature: This approach involves taking your temperature with a special "basal" thermometer as soon as you wake up in the morning. Your normal temperature probably will range from 97.2 to 97.7 degrees before ovulation. The hormonal changes prior to ovulation boost basal body temperature; you'll see an increase of 0.5 to 1.6 degrees. When your temperature is elevated for at least two days, you'll know you are ovulating and should avoid intercourse. You can resume having sex when your temperature returns to normal.
  • Calendar Method: If your menstrual cycle is very regular, you could try the "calendar" method, which involves avoiding sex during the week that you believe you're ovulating. To do this right you'll have to first track your periods for a year. Then to figure out when you might be fertile, subtract 18 from the number of days of your shortest cycle in the past year. This is the date on which you should stop having sex. To calculate when you can resume, subtract 10 from the number of days in your shortest cycle. Used on its own, the calendar method has a 75 percent success rate.
  • Withdrawal: This method requires the man to withdraw his penis from the vagina before ejaculation. This is the least reliable of the natural methods: only 60 to 80 percent successful.

You also have the option of using a diaphragm or condoms. Used consistently, diaphragms are 84 percent effective when used in conjunction with a spermicidal cream; condoms are 97 percent effective when used consistently and correctly and have the added advantage of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.