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Natural Ways to Prevent Pregnancy

written by: Diana Cooper • edited by: Lisa Lambson • updated: 4/21/2010

Monitoring your menstrual cycle, temperature, and cervical mucus are natural ways to prevent pregnancy. Although they are not 100% effective, they do have a high rate of working if done correctly.

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    Natural Ways to Prevent Pregnancy

    Menstrual cycle - begins on the first day of a period and ends just before the next period starts.

    There are only a small number of days each month a woman can become pregnant. Ovulation occurs one time during a menstrual cycle and the ovum (egg) can survive about 24 hours. Sperm can survive up to 5 days, so a woman is considered fertile a few days before ovulating.

    If you were to have intercourse on a Monday and ovulate the following Saturday, it is very possible you can become pregnant without having had intercourse since Monday.

    Most women ovulate in the middle of their menstrual cycle, but this does not mean it will always be the same day during every cycle.

    Natural ways to prevent pregnancy include:

    If your menstrual cycles are between 26 and 32 days long, it is very possible you can prevent pregnancy by tracking your cycle and knowing what days you are more likely to become pregnant (allow a few days before and after the anticipated date of ovulation). You can use a calendar to monitor your cycle or you can buy a product that can be more effective, called CycleBeads™ (based on the Standard Days Method™).

    According to research by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, the percentage of women likely to become pregnant in a year using the following contraceptive methods correctly are:

    • Pill <1%
    • Male Condom 2%
    • Standard Days Method™ 5%
    • Diaphragm 6%
    • Spermicide 6%
    • No Method 85%.

    Monitoring your body basal temperature (BBT - temperature in the morning before rising) and checking your cervical mucus are other natural ways to prevent pregnancy.

    • Generally, your BBT is between 97.2 - 97.4° F. When you ovulate, it increases about 1/2 - 1 degrees and will stay elevated for at least 3 days.

    To monitor your BBT, you will need a special thermometer called a basal thermometer (designed to read minute changes). You must monitor and record every day. It has to be done first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Getting up frequently during the night, an illness, traveling, and alcohol consumption can throw off temperature readings.

    • After your period, your cervix produces very little or no mucus. You start to produce more mucus as your cycle progresses. When ovulation is nearing, your mucus becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy.

    The best way to examine your mucus is by inserting a finger into your vagina to collect a sample, and stretch it between your fingers. If it stretches at least 3 inches without breaking, ovulation is about to occur.

    These ways to prevent pregnancy are not 100% effective.

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