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Natural methods of birth control do not rely on the use of hormones or devices.
These methods include Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs), Lactational Amenorrhoea Method (LAM) and withdrawal.
Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs) utilise awareness of the fertile phase in the menstrual cycle to indicate when sexual intercourse should be avoided to prevent apregnancy.
Methods of predicting or calculating the fertile phase include:
A woman is fertile from a few days before ovulation until after ovulation has occurred. As sperm can survive in the uterus or Fallopian tubes for up to 5-7 days, women are most likely to become pregnant if they have sex in the week before ovulation.
FABMs require a woman to calculate and record fertile days by:
During the fertile days a couple need to abstain from sexual intercourse or use a barrier method.
Depending on the individual, sex may need to be avoided for 7-14 days during each menstrual cycle.
The effectiveness of these methods relies on motivation to prevent a pregnancy, length of time in using the method, and the type of method used.
If used correctly every time, these methods are 75-99% effective.
This means that if 100 women used these methods, between 1 and 25 could become pregnant in a year.
It is more successful for couples that have undertaken training with FABM educators.
This method is most suited to women who have a strong preference for natural methods because of health or religious reasons.
Partner cooperation is also an important factor in the success of this method.
Some situations can make FABMs more difficult to manage. For example:
Those interested in developing a detailed understanding in the use of this method and requiring individual support are encouraged to contact local FABM educators.
Further information and local contacts can be found on the Australian Council of Natural Family Planning website.
LAM is the use of breastfeeding as a contraceptive method by women who fulfil the following criteria:
Breastfeeding has an effect on the production of hormones that reduces the probability of ovulation (egg release) occurring, therefore reducing the chance of a pregnancy.
If all three criteria (see above) are met this method is 98% effective.
Natural methods of birth control information is available from True clinics as well as gynaecologists and some general practitioners.
Contact a True clinic or your general practitioner (GP) for more information or advice.
Withdrawal is a method of contraception where the man takes his penis out (withdraws) from the woman’s vagina before he ejaculates (comes). It is also known as coitus interruptus.
Very little research has been done into the effectiveness of this method. Many people find it difficult to use withdrawal effectively. As sperm can be present in pre-ejaculation fluid there is the risk of pregnancy even if a man withdraws before ejaculation.
Other methods of contraception offer greater effectiveness. However, some couples have used it successfully for many years and find the method acceptable.
Contact a True clinic or your GP for more information or advice.