Natural Birth Control Options

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideBirth Control Methods, Side Effects, Effectiveness

Birth Control Methods, Side Effects, Effectiveness

Mucus inspection method

The mucus inspection method depends on the presence or absence of a particular type of cervical mucus that a woman produces in response to estrogen. A woman will generate larger amounts of more watery mucus than usual (like raw egg white) just before release of an egg from her ovary. This so-called egg-white cervical mucus (EWCM) stretches for up to an inch when pulled apart. A woman can learn to recognize differences in the quantity and quality of her cervical mucus by examining its appearance on her underwear, pads, and toilet tissue; or she may gently remove a sample of mucus from the vaginal opening using two fingers.

She may choose to have intercourse between the time of her last menstrual period and the time of change in the cervical mucus. During this period, it is recommended that she have sexual intercourse only every other day because the presence of seminal fluid makes it more difficult to determine the nature of her cervical mucus. If the woman does not wish to become pregnant, she should not have sexual intercourse at all for 3 to 4 days after she notices the change in her cervical mucus.

Symptothermal method

The symptothermal method combines certain aspects of the calendar, the basal body temperature, and the mucus inspection methods. Not only are all these factors taken into consideration, but so are other symptoms such as slight cramping and breast tenderness. Some women experience lower abdominal discomfort (in the area of the ovaries) during release of an egg (ovulation).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/26/2015

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