Pros and Cons of Natural Family Planning (Part 3- Final)

photo courtesy of acoupleofcatholics.com

photo courtesy of acoupleofcatholics.com

“Natural family planning” is any method of fertility management that uses natural methods to determine the time of the month when a woman is most fertile.  These methods help a woman to learn and recognize the changes to her body around her fertile time, and make decisions about having sex in accordance with if she is trying to postpone or achieve pregnancy.  As with any birth control method, there are things about it that you may feel are advantages or disadvantages to you personally.  Below are some things about natural family planning methods to keep in mind. Continue reading

User Effectiveness Rates

the patch birth controlIn a recent post, we discussed the difference between the effectiveness of a birth control method versus the effectiveness of its use.  Method effectiveness is defined as the effectiveness with perfect use.  In other words, the number of unexpected pregnancies which occurred when the method was correctly and consistently used over a period of time.  On the other hand, user effectiveness, or typical use, is defined by the actual practices of the couples using the method, both correctly and incorrectly, over that same period of time, which is usually one year.

As a review, the chart below describes some common birth control methods, along with their method and user effectiveness rates, based on 2,000 users and one year of use.  For comparison, having unprotected sex with absolutely no method of birth control used results in pregnancy 85% of the time.

Birth Control Method Typical Use Failure Rate Perfect Use Failure Rate
Today contraceptive sponge 32% 20%
Diaphragm with spermicide 16% 6%
Male latex condom 15% 2%
Combined oral contraceptive pill 9% 0.3%
NuvaRing birth control ring 9% 0.3%
Birth Control Patch 8% 0.3%
Depo Provera birth control shot 3% 0.3%
Intrauterine device with copper 0.8% 0.6%

 

As you can see, the typical use failure rates for some of these methods are staggering, and much higher than the more commonly known perfect use failure rates.  The Center for Disease Control is dedicated to public awareness regarding birth control methods, and goes into great detail regarding typical use failure rates on their website.  However, many birth control users remain unaware of just how significant the difference in protection can be if you do not follow the method’s instructions to the letter.

With so much on the line, do you think that condoms and birth control medications should have the consequences of imperfect use right on the packaging in giant bold print?  Do you think more should be done to educate the public on the proper use of birth control?  We want to hear your opinion!  Please share it with us in the comments below.

Birth Control Post-Baby

photo courtesy of womeninbalance.org

photo courtesy of womeninbalance.org

If you have recently given birth, sex may be the last thing on your mind, but birth control actually should be.  A female who chooses not to breastfeed will ovulate for the first time between 25 and 72 days after giving birth, making it difficult for you to guesstimate.  Additionally, despite popular belief, breastfeeding your child is not an automatic protection against pregnancy.  You must breastfeed at least every four hours during the day, every 6 hours at night, be providing 90 to 95% of your baby’s food through breast milk, and breastfeed for more than six months before you can remotely rely on breastfeeding as birth control.  Otherwise, your chances of pregnancy are reduced, but not eliminated.

After you have just had a baby, hormonal birth control may not be your best option.  Breastfeeding women will want to avoid it because the hormones can actually be secreted into the breast milk.  The hormone estrogen, which is found in many brands of birth control pills, is known to impact both the quantity of breast milk produced, and the quality of the milk. Estrogen actually decreases the protein, nitrogen, and lactose content of the breast milk, making is less healthy and satisfying for the baby.  Additionally, those not breastfeeding must wait until four weeks after delivery to use any form of birth control containing estrogen, because the hormone increases risk of blood clots in early postpartum weeks.

Out of concern for your health as well as your baby’s health, you may choose to use barrier methods of birth control.  These include condoms, the diaphragm, or the cervical cap. (Please note that if you were using a diaphragm prior to giving birth, you should have it resized postpartum, as childbirth impacts the size and shape of your vagina.)  Another option is Lady-Comp, an intelligent fertility monitor that will predict your fertile days with 99.3% accuracy based on the information you provide it.

 

Sources:

http://www.ehow.com/list_6859260_effects-estrogen-breastmilk.html

http://www.parents.com/parenting/relationships/postpartum-birth-control/postpartum-birth-control/

http://www.babycenter.com/0_birth-control-choices-after-you-have-a-baby_3755.bc

 

Method Effectiveness vs. User Effectiveness

photo courtesy of Birdsandbees.org

photo courtesy of Birdsandbees.org

When discussing the effectiveness rates of various methods of birth control, you should be aware that there is a difference between the effectiveness of the method and the effectiveness of use.  Method effectiveness is defined as the effectiveness with perfect use.  In other words, the number of unexpected pregnancies which occurred when the method was correctly and consistently used over a period of time.  On the other hand, user effectiveness is defined by the actual practices of the couples using the method, both correctly and incorrectly, over that same period of time, which is usually one year.

The chart below describes some common birth control methods, along with their method and user effectiveness rates, based on 2,000 users and one year of use.  For comparison, having unprotected sex with absolutely no method of birth control used results in pregnancy 85% of the time.

Birth Control Method User Effectiveness Failure Rate Method Effectiveness Failure Rate
Male latex condom 15% 2%
Combined oral contraceptive pill 9% 0.3%
Diaphragm with spermicide 16% 6%
Intrauterine device with copper 0.8% 0.6%
Birth Control Patch 8% 0.3%
NuvaRing birth control ring 9% 0.3%
Depo Provera birth control shot 3% 0.3%
Today contraceptive sponge 32% 20%

 

The number one reason for the difference between the user and method effectiveness rates is simply failure to follow the given instructions for the item.  For example:

  • Birth control pills should be taken at the exact same time every day.
  • Condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place at all times prior to use, and should never be used if they are past the expiration date.
  • Diaphragms and cervical caps must completely cover the cervix.
  • IUD users should conduct a monthly check to make sure the device is properly in place.

The takeaway is that whatever birth control method you choose for yourself, it is important to be as educated as possible about it for the best results.

Please keep in mind that our effective rating is 99.3% effective and best explained on our website.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_birth_control_methods

http://ccli.org/nfp/effectiveness/methodvsuser.php

http://womenshealth.about.com/od/birthcontrol/a/contraceptive_failure.htm

Barrier Methods of Birth Control

photo courtesy of  jayativoria.com

photo courtesy of jayativoria.com

As a Lady-Comp user, if you are currently not trying to conceive, you may be looking for a form of birth control to use on your fertile days.  If so, one option that may interest you are barrier methods, which are various forms of birth control that block sperm from entering your uterus.  The types of barrier methods include the male condom, female condom, diaphragm, sponge, and cervical cap.  Any of these methods can be strengthened by also using a spermicide, which will kill most of the sperm as it enters your vagina, leaving fewer sperm for the barrier method to block.

The following are some advantages of using barrier methods.

  • No pre-planning is required. They can be put in place at the time of sexual intercourse.
  • They are temporary methods which have no long term effects on the fertility of either partner.
  • They are safe to use while you are breastfeeding.
  • Unlike hormonal birth control, they cannot aggravate medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
  • They are available without a prescription.

The following are some disadvantages of using barrier methods.

  • Aside from the male condom, other forms of barrier methods have little to no effectiveness in preventing sexually transmitted diseases.
  • The combination of diaphragms and spermicides has been linked to causing urinary tract infections.
  • Some people suffer from allergies to nonoxynol-9, which is the primary ingredient in most spermicides.
  • Condoms may tear or fall off due to improper size or placement.
  • Some people suffer from a latex allergy, in which case they must use condoms made of polyurethane, which is slightly less effective.
  • Some people may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed interrupting foreplay to implement the use of a barrier method.

Ultimately, the method you decide to use is a very personal decision.  If you are trying to decide which is right for you, talk with your physician and your partner.

 

 

Source: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/barrier-methods-of-birth-control-19059

Being on the Pill Could Make You Choose a Boring Lover

Photo courtesy of FrenchTribune.com

Photo courtesy of FrenchTribune.com

It’s a common misconception that women who choose not to take hormonal birth control have boring sex lives due to the fear of pregnancy.  In actuality, with so many alternative contraceptive methods available, this is simply not the case.  However, a 2011 study revealed that things may actually be the other way around, and that taking hormonal birth control can lead women to choose boring lovers as partners.

In the study, which was published in the October 12, 2011 edition of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers surveyed 2,5000 heterosexual women who had one child, and asked them questions about the child’s biological father.  Approximately 1,000 participants were taking hormonal birth control, while the other 1,500 were not using hormonal contraception.  The results showed that women who were taking hormonal birth control were less sexually satisfied overall.  They found their lovers less attractive and were generally more likely to initiate a separation.

The researchers developed a theory on why this might be true.  Other studies have shown clearly that a woman’s hormones fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, and these fluctuations actually impact the way women react to men as candidates for dating and mating.  The closer a woman is to ovulation, the more drawn she is to masculine men.  However, women on hormonal birth control do not experience these hormone fluctuations throughout the month, and are therefore more likely to be drawn to factors such a person’s financial stability, rather than to their raw physical attractiveness.

However, the results were not entirely negative.  The researchers found that women on hormonal birth control found their partner to have excellent paternal traits, such as being caring and reliable.  They also found their relationships lasted two years longer on average.

Sources:

http://www.news-medical.net/news/20111016/Women-on-birth-control-may-be-dating-sexually-boring-but-otherwise-caring-men-Study.aspx

http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2011/10/13/8290413-women-on-the-pill-pick-boring-lovers-good-partners-study-claims

Hormonal Birth Control and Breastfeeding

photo courtesy of thedailygreen.com

There is a longstanding rumor that it is not possible to become pregnant while you are breastfeeding.  However, it is simply not true.  Breastfeeding does generally decrease your fertility, and therefore you may find that you do not menstruate for months after having your baby.  However, the body will typically release its first postpartum egg about two weeks before you experience your first post-baby period.  Therefore, it is very possible that you can become pregnant while you are still breastfeeding.

At that point, with all that your body has just been through, you may not want to become pregnant again immediately.  Initially, abstinence is recommended.  Doctors will usually tell women who have just given birth to put off having sex until their six-week postpartum examination, at which point the progress of their healing can be checked and they can be medically cleared.  However, once given the green light, hormonal birth control methods are not the best option for breastfeeding women. First, oral contraceptives containing estrogen are known to suppress milk production.  Second, any type of hormonal birth control will enter into the breast milk you are feeding your child.  Physicians still do not know what type of impact these hormones have on children’s long term sexual and reproductive development.

Therefore, non-hormonal forms of birth control are ideal for the nursing mother.  This can include the use of condoms, diaphragms, sponges, or cervical caps.  However, these forms of birth control are subject to human error in usage that can decrease their effectiveness.  Women have an affordable, accurate, and all-natural alternative for fertility control with Lady-Comp. Lady-Comp is a computer which will determine your ovulation with 99.3% accuracy based simply on the data you provide and your daily morning body temperature.

During the time of reduced fertility immediately postpartum and the initial stages of breastfeeding, Lady-Comp shows yellow.  Just try to take your temperature as often as possible. Your temperatures are a typical zig-zag pattern.  Lady-Comp plus a barrier method like the condoms, diaphragms, sponges or cervical caps are the best choice during this time.

Once you and your baby reduce the frequency of breastfeeding, your body starts to produce hormones inducing ovulation (FSH).  You will notice a change in the pattern of cervical mucus – sometimes being more fluid.  During this time you are potentially fertile.  Lady-comp still shows yellow, but your wake-up temperatures drop to a lower level with fewer disturbances.  This is the time to be extra cautious when making love.

As soon as your first ovulation has taken place, Lady-Comp will notice a significant change in your temperature pattern and show green when it is sure you are definitely infertile.  About 8 days later you will have your first menstruation and Lady-Comp will be able to predict future ovulations.

Be aware that only the change of temperature can show you for sure that you ovulated. The mucus pattern comes and goes like waves – thus it’s a sign of being fertile, but not good enough to establish that ovulation has definitely taken place.

 

Birth Control Expenses

Cost-Cutting-Pig-300x1972014 has ushered in a new era of health care for women with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which requires health plans to provide contraceptives and related services to women without a copay.  Unfortunately, this does not apply to all women, as exceptions have been made to certain grandfathered health plans, as well as group health insurance coverage sponsored by certain religious employers.  Considering the fact that 36% percent of sexually active Catholic women in America use birth control, we know that there are a vast number of U.S. women who are paying completely out of pocket to do so.  Unfortunately, the expense is overwhelming.  The chart below shows what an uninsured woman can expect to pay for birth control over her lifetime, assuming she starts usage at age 18 and discontinues usage at age 51.

Method What’s Included Lifetime Cost
IUD Doctor’s visit, device, insertion, and follow up care, every 7.5 years $8,178
Implanon Doctor’s visit, device, insertion, and removal, every 3 years $19,601
Injections Doctor’s visit, follow-up care, and four injections, every year $32, 496
Birth Control Patch Doctor’s visit and an annual supply of patches, every year $66,644
Vaginal Ring Doctor’s visit and an annual supply of rings, every year $66,644
Surgical Sterilization Doctor’s visits, surgery, and follow up care; one time cost $6,000

If you are one of the many women who do not have their birth control covered under the Affordable Care Act, you will be pleased to know a birth control method exists that is both less expensive and more natural than those mentioned above.  Lady-Comp is an intelligent fertility monitor that learns, analyzes, and indicates your fertile days with 99.3% accuracy based on your daily body temperature and data you provide.  At just $485, it is an investment that will save you thousands of dollars over time.

 

Sources:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/the-claim-that-98-percent-of-catholic-women-use-contraception-a-media-foul/2012/02/16/gIQAkPeqIR_blog.html

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/calculator-birth-control-expensive-really-cost

A life changed by Lady Comp…what it feels like to be natural

“I just want to say how much Lady Comp has changed my life.  Approaching my wedding back in 2011 I spent months trying pill after pill, side effect after side effect with no luck.  I felt stuck, stuck with going to have to deal with the side effects.  Like a lot of girls I didn’t know much about natural birth control methods.  I had always been fed the “you have to go on the pill” line.

After trying pill after pill I ended up on the mini pill because I couldn’t take estrogen.  The mini pill wasn’t as bad but over time I continued with side effects and they seemed to get worse every month.  I was on the mini pill for almost 2 years and frankly tired of it.  My body couldn’t handle the hormones anymore.  I had so many side effects including spotting all the time, headaches, exhaustion, complete loss of libido, anxiety, and constant dizziness.  I even got to the point where I would get sick and feel completely weird if I ate too much sugar or salty foods.  I felt like I couldn’t eat anything anymore.  I also started having random reactions that got pretty scary and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  At that point I felt like this was going to be my life forever or until I decided to have kids.

So I started searching.  I knew there had to be something else.  I wasn’t about to try anything like the nuva ring or IUD’s.  I wanted a natural option.  That’s when a friend of mine recommended the Lady Comp.  She said one of her cousins used it and loved it.  At first I was pretty skeptical and thought how could that work…  I debated it for months trying to figure out if I wanted to chance it and pay the expense to try it.

After a lot of debate I broke down and decided to get one, and it was great to have the option of making payments to pay it off!   I have to say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life!  Going off the pill was like getting back to who I was.  I lost myself being on all those hormones and being so depressed from being sick all the time.  It took a few months to get back to a normal cycle and for the Lady Comp to start being able to tell me about my cycle but once it did it worked great!

My cycle isn’t a normal cycle like most girls.  I seem to have longer cycles like 35-40 days and ovulate later than most.  I was afraid the Lady Comp wasn’t going to work for me.  But boy was I wrong!  It has been amazing to know when I ovulate and I can almost pinpoint to the day when I’m going to get my period.  Which was a huge change from being on the mini pill, I never knew when I was going to get my period and sometimes didn’t get it for 3-4 months!

Taking my temperature at the same time every day isn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.  I keep a chart along with the Lady Comp, which is optional, but for me it’s been a great learning process.  I’ve learned more about my cycle in the last 8 months then I ever knew.  I think so many girls are led to believe that you have to be taking hormones to prevent pregnancy, but it’s just not true.

This method isn’t for everyone understandably but for many like me it’s wonderful!  If you’re trying to find a natural method and learn more about your cycle Lady Comp is the way to go.  Even though the price is a bit high it’s worth every penny.  Lady Comp gave me my life back. I was never myself on the pill and I was so glad to be rid of it.

I’ve now been using the Lady Comp for about 8 months and I absolutely love it!  I also love knowing when I ovulate so one day when my husband and I do decide to have kids it can be a big help and we have the option of switching to the Baby Comp.  The Lady Comp customer service is some of the best out there!  They are so helpful and caring!

Thank you Lady Comp for letting me get back to a healthy natural life!”

~ Brittany

Hormonal Birth Control Can Decrease Your Sex Drive

All too frequently, doctors prescribe the birth control pill not just for its intended purpose, but as a cure-all for acne, irregular cycles, and the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome.  However, they often fail to discuss the potential negative effects the infusion of synthetic hormones (either estrogen and/or progestin) can have on your body.

shoe_romance_007One of these effects is a decrease in libido.  The reason behind this result is that the birth control pill works by raising your levels of the sex hormone-binding globulin protein.  This protein binds to the testosterone you naturally produce, and when it does so, that testosterone is no longer available for your body to use.  The causes reduced testosterone, which can decrease masculine features in your body, such as acne, hair growth, and sex drive.

In a 2010 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the University Hospital Heidelberg studied the sex drives of more than 1,000 women.  They found that for the patients complaining of lower levels of arousal and sex drive, they were able to isolate other variables potentially involved (such as stress and relationship status) and pinpoint the pill as the cause.

If you are wondering why taking the pill results in decreased libido in some women and not others, the answer lies in their individual hormone receptors.  Approximately 1/3 of all women have inefficient hormone receptors which require more hormones to function properly.  It is women in this category who experience difficulty with birth control pill.  Even worse, if they remain on the pill, it can cause their glands to start shutting down, creating not only low libido, but thinning of the vaginal tissues and shrinking of the clitoris and labia.  The result is severe vaginal dryness and painful sex.

If you believe the pill is lowering your sex drive, please know you are not alone.  You should speak with your doctor as soon as possible about alternate fertility methods.

 

Sources:

http://thehealthyelements.com/the-pill-your-sex-drive-how-to-start-reclaiming-your-va-va-voom/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/05/17/is-the-pill-killing-your-sex-drive.html