Natural Contraception

There are many options for contraception and family planning. There are many options, such as natural methods, barrier methods, hormonal oral contraception, implants and injections, mechanical insertions of IUD, and/or the use of surgical sterilization. These methods have different effectiveness, side effects, and relations to the act of intercourse.

Natural Family Planning

Natural family planning is used in many ways, mostly by being aware of fertile times called fertility awareness methods. Abstaining from intercourse during fertile times can be calculated by tracking cycles and the lifespan of the ovum and sperm. For example, knowing that near ovulation, cervical secretion increases and becomes clear and stretchy and the cervix becomes softer and wider. After ovulation, basal body temperature increases due to progesterone.

During the first year, the failure rate of natural family planning methods is 25%, with only a 1-9% of failure rate with perfect use. Most couples use instructors initially to help interpret their fertility signs. Fertility signs are more difficult to interpret in those who have recently been on hormonal contraception, are near menarche or menopause, or who are just postpartum or post-breastfeeding.

Coitus Interruptus

Coitus interruptus is the withdrawal method, when the male withdrawals the penis before ejaculation. This is the primary means of contraception in at least 2% of couples in the United States. The failure rate is 4% during the first year, with a 19% failure rate with typical use. This method has no cost and no side effects. This method requires high motivation and does not protect from STDs.


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Human Reproduction: A Clinical Approach Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Hala Bastawros, M.D is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.