Just a heads up: this post contains topics that may be considered ‘taboo’ or ‘icky’ but I feel they need to be shared and normalized!
Tired of your current form of birth control? Learn about my form of natural birth control and why I made the switch!
I’ve been on varying forms of birth control since I was 16. The pill, the shot, the ring, the IUD… They all worked fine and I never had any major side effects like some women.
But about seven years ago, I started getting chronic, horrible yeast infections. I tried everything! OTC meds, cutting out dairy, sugar, gluten, only wearing cotton underwear, sleeping naked, raw garlic straight up in there, home made essential oil suppositories… On and on… Nothing helped! I was miserable! Constantly raw and itchy…
I came across articles and blog posts by women who talked about how their birth control was causing their yeast infections. Doctors of course would never admit that birth control would cause a yeast infection (but we all know how I feel about doctors).
So, in November of 2017 (after almost 6 years of yeast infections) I decided that my Mirena IUD (which I had in for almost 5 years at this point) had to be causing my yeast infections. I wanted that thing OUT!
But, how would I keep myself protected from pregnancy while not on birth control? Would I have to use condoms all the time? What about the ‘Rhythm Method’? Isn’t that super ineffective? There is very little information available about ‘alternative’ forms of birth control.
That’s when I discovered FAM: the Fertility Awareness Method of Birth Control. I found YouTuber Victoria of FemmeHead. She opened my eyes to the amazing world of natural birth control!
Basically, FAM uses 3 body signals (basal body temperature, cervical fluid, and cervical height) to confirm whether you are fertile or not. Because believe it or not, women aren’t fertile 24/7, men are! Women can technically only achieve pregnancy for 24 hours out of the whole cycle! But we are fertile for about a week leading up to ovulation because our vagina makes itself “more hospitable” for sperm to live long enough to fertilize an egg.
I won’t get into specifics because there’s a few very important rules to follow to avoid pregnancy. But if you’re interested, I would definitely suggest reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler and checking out FemmeHead.
In February of 2018 I finally had my Mirena removed and started charting my cycle. I learned SO much about myself and my body when I started charting. And the best thing of all: my yeast infections disappeared as soon as I had my IUD taken out!
To answer a few frequently asked questions:
The rhythm method assumes that every woman has a normal 28 day cycle and ovulates on cycle day 14. This is highly inaccurate and has a very low efficacy rate. So, to use me as an example, I have ovulated as early at cycle day 11, and as late as cycle day 17. My cycle is generally 25 days long, but stress can delay ovulation. If I had been using the rhythm method, I could have potentially gotten pregnant.
FAM uses a triple check system that uses science to read the natural hormonal fluctuations that an ovulating woman has every cycle.
Yes, I do have unprotected sex.
I have a clear sign that both Derek and I can see to non-verbally communicate whether we are on a ‘red’ day or a ‘green’ day. On a ‘red’ day we use a condom and on a ‘green’ day there is no need.
No, I never worry if I’m pregnant.
I have learned to read my body signs to determine if I am potentially fertile or not. I know my markers and I know my cycle. We have been successfully avoiding pregnancy naturally for almost a year and a half (20 cycles).
FAM changed my life
It does take some getting used to. The main thing is remembering to take your temperature every morning when you first wake up, without fail. I’m lucky and can take it anywhere from 2:30-5:30am and I won’t notice much fluctuation, but some women are a lot more sensitive and even a half hour later they notice a huge jump in temperature.
The other thing that some women might find difficult or ‘icky’ is that you actually have to stick your fingers in your vagina daily. You have to check your cervical mucous and cervical height to determine whether you are in your fertile window or not.
You also have to make sure that when you are in your fertile window, you use condoms or abstain from sex.
So, if you can’t see yourself being comfortable with any of these things, this method isn’t for you.
I have no problem checking my mucous and cervical height daily, but I’ve always been pretty comfortable with my body. No shame!
I honestly am fascinated by the ebbs and flows my body goes through during my cycles. Since I’ve allowed my body to go back to it’s natural hormonal state, it’s been incredible to witness the subtle changes in emotional state, energy, as well as my social behavior. I feel things more and am more in touch with my feminine flow. It’s pretty magical to experience such things!
Also, I just love the fact that this is a natural birth control! No artificial hormones! Yay! And also, it’s FREE!
Does this method sound like something you’d be interested in trying?
Have you had any crazy side effects from your birth control?
Leave a comment and we can compare stories!
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