Natural birth control refers to any one of several natural methods or techniques used to prevent pregnancy. Natural birth control methods do not include prescription medications (such as birth control pills), topical spermicides, or any type of physical barriers like condoms and diaphragms. Natural birth control techniques can be effective in preventing pregnancy if done correctly and consistently.
One of the most common and effective methods of natural birth control involves calculating your body basal temperature. Body basal temperature refers to your body's core temperature upon first waking up. Your normal body basal temperature is usually right around 97 degrees Fahrenheit. A few days after ovulation, your body temperature goes up by approximately half to a full degree. During this period, your body is fertile, and will remain fertile until your body temperature goes back down, which is usually two or three days later.
In order to use the body basal temperature method to prevent pregnancy, you must take your temperature at the same time every morning, recording the results in a calendar. After a few months, you will be able to accurately determine the days you are ovulating. In order to gauge your body's precise temperature, you will need a special basal thermometer. Using any other kind of temperature may result in readings that may be slightly less precise, and thus less effective. Obviously, the body basal temperature method of natural birth control requires discipline and consistency, so if you decide to go this route, it's wise not to rely on anything less than solidly accurate results.
The mucus method, though it may not sound particularly appealing, is often used in conjunction to the basal body temperature method. The mucus method simply refers to paying close attention to vaginal discharge to gauge whether you are ovulating or not. When a woman's body prepares to ovulate, her estrogen levels rise. This in turn causes a white, sticky mucus-like vaginal discharge. This mucus discharge usually signals ovulation. Thus, you should avoid intercourse when your body is producing this discharge.
One very common natural birth control method is withdrawal. Withdrawal refers the practice of the man withdrawing his penis from the woman's vagina before ejaculating. In practice, this can obviously be very difficult to accomplish. Even if a man manages to withdraw before ejaculation, it is possible that pre-ejaculation semen may have entered the vagina. Thus, withdrawal is not considered to be one of the most effect natural birth control methods.
In order to achieve the greatest effectiveness from natural birth control techniques, it is wise to use each method in conjunction with one another. For instance, a woman who tracks her body basal temperature, knows her menstruation calendar very well, and pays close attention to vaginal discharge is much less likely to become pregnant than a woman who just uses one of these methods.