In theory, avoiding unplanned pregnancies seems like an easy task. Basically, just avoid having unprotected intercourse when fertile. However, we all know in practice, this is obviously anything but simple.
At Avenue Women’s Center, we understand. If you are looking into natural birth control because you are concerned about getting pregnant or have experienced an unplanned pregnancy, Avenue Women’s Center is here to help. We provide free medical grade pregnancy tests that are accurate just 10 days after possible conception. Make an appointment at one of our five DuPage County locations and put your mind at ease today.
First, to lay some groundwork, we need to take a brief look at reproduction physiology. On the average, women of childbearing age release an ovum (egg) every 28 days . When that ovum is released from the ovary, it travels down the oviduct to the uterus, a trip that requires from six to ten days. If during that trip it is encountered by a living sperm cell, and fertilization occurs, the resulting embryo can—but doesn’t always—implant in the wall of the uterus and begin development. It is at that point, according to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, that pregnancy begins.
When women reach childbearing age and begin menstruation, they become capable of pregnancy for, on average, about six days out of every 28. Birth control involves efforts to prevent that process from occurring.
There are a number of birth control methods available. None of them, except for total abstinence from sex, is guaranteed to be 100% effective, so decisions are typically made based on various other factors. If you’re looking into natural birth control, you may have factors that include cost, effectiveness, health, and your partner.
Fertility awareness is one of the most common forms of natural birth control. This involves efforts to determine when during the woman’s menstrual cycle she will be fertile and to avoid unprotected intercourse during those times. The main challenge of fertility awareness is determining when those periods of fertility occur.
There are, in fact, physiological signs that can be used to determine when fertility occurs during the menstrual cycle. The three most common are:
- Standard days
- Cervical mucous changes
- Basal body temperature changes (BBT)
Here is a brief discussion of them:
Standard Days: Typical instructions for Standard Days, assuming a regular menstrual cycle of between 26 and 32 days, suggest that days 8 through 19 be considered possible fertility days and days to avoid unprotected intercourse.
Cervical Mucous Changes and BBT: Cervical mucous changes involve observing any modifications in the appearance and texture of cervical mucous. Basal body temperature involves consistently measuring your baseline body temperature and observing any changes that occur around the time of ovulation. Both of these signs are sufficiently complex and should involve research and input from a professional in family planning.
If you had been trying to use natural birth control and are worried that you might be pregnant, contact Avenue Women’s Center today. We have worked with women over the past 36 years to provide free pregnancy tests, private consultations and options information to those facing unplanned pregnancy. We would love to hear from you.
- The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. (2015, April) Fertility Awareness Based Methods of Family Planning. Retrieved from: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Fertility-Awareness-Based-Methods-of-Family-Planning
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.