****Just to be frank, I am not trying to control or coerce anyone to do anything. I am NOT a doctor, or nurse. Everyone’s situation is different. My goal here is to inform and tell my story. Do your own research, consult your doctor, and make a decision based on what’s best for you.****
Before I got married last July, I started on birth control. I was actually kind of excited because I felt like a “lady” taking her birth control pills. I laugh at my naïveté now, but back then taking birth control was a big deal for me! You see, before I got married I was told by family members that women on both sides of my family are super fertile and as soon as I have sex, I’ll have a baby! As, a a woman who wasn’t ready to have kids yet (and also a twin!), I was quick to start popping birth control pills. I didn’t understand that women are only fertile for a short period of time (around 6 days) after the date of your last period. While the pill did prevent pregnancy, they destroyed my body in so many ways: I experienced hair loss, I was tired literally all the time which got in the way of my school work, I had deep abdominal pain, I developed a fibroid (a benign tumor), and I was moody a lot.
After doing some research I discovered the pill is associated with the symptoms I had. I recently started reading the book Beyond the Pill by Dr. Jolene Brighten, a nutritional biochemist and leading expert in women’s medicine. Dr. Brighten explains in her book how the pill can wreak havoc on your body and is associated with symptoms like anxiety, depression, low sex drive, fibroids, fatigue, hair loss, and even cancer.
Dr. Brighten also speaks on how to restore your body to its best state after the pill and while you’re taking the pill. Dr. Brighten also details what medical test to take to determine what hormones may be off balance, and provides supplement, food and recipe recommendations for those needing to get their hormones back on track both on and off the pill.
So onto the juicy stuff: how to prevent pregnancy without the help of birth control. Again, everyone is different but I believe the tips I provide can be beneficial to every woman.
Number 1: Track your period!
First things first, you need to track your period. Most women’s cycle lasts around 26-28 days. This is the cycle when the body prepares for pregnancy by producing an egg. This counts as the first day of first period to the first day of the period of the next month. There are multiple apps to track your period, one of the ones I use that is great for any forgetful woman is the health app on the iPhone. It’s great because the app will remind you to track your period if you haven’t started tracking it yet. The app allows you to track symptoms and how long your period lasts. It will then predict when your next period could start and when your fertile days are (super important, keep this in mind for later). Other great apps are the Clue app (in-app purchases), Flo Period Tracker App (in-app purchases), and Period tracker app.
Number 2: Know when you’re fertile days are!
Using your app, plan for when your fertile days are! Again you are only fertile on five to six days after your period ends. Five to six days a month. I was so naïve to think as soon as I have sex without the pill, I will have a baby!
Number 3: Find your method for protection
Now, knowing that women are only fertile for five to six days a month, you could simply not have sex on those days. While the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if used perfectly, and 91% effective, according to Planned Parenthood, if not used effectively which is very good. But, there are other methods you could use. You could combine two effective methods: condoms and withdrawal. According to Planned Parenthood, male condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy if used perfectly, and 85% effective if not used effectively. Another way of protection is withdrawal. According to Planned Parenthood, withdrawal is 96% effective if done perfectly, and 78% effective if not done perfectly. So, one could combine these two methods for more preventative power!
Again, everyone is different, and everyone’s situation is different. So please keep that in mind for your own plans. You don’t have to get on the pill to prevent pregnancy. There are other ways to prevent pregnancy without experiencing the debilitating side effects like fatigue, hair loss, fibroids, or even breast cancer (the pill increases risk of breast cancer by 20-30%). Once I got off the pill two months ago, my cycle was a little wonky for a month but I’ve returned to my regular cycle. And, a lot of my bad symptoms have subsided since I’ve given up the pill.
Explore the resources below for more information!
What Are Fibroids & How to Treat Fibroids Naturally
Birth Control Pill Use