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

Ovulation indicator testing kits

A woman can use an ovulation prediction kit to determine when she is most likely to ovulate. This is a special kit that measures the amount of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine. Because luteinizing hormone promotes the maturation of an egg in the ovary, the amount of LH usually increases 20 to 48 hours before ovulation. This increase is called the luteinizing hormone surge, which can then be detected in a woman's urine 8 to 12 hours later. The ovulation prediction kit is designed to measure the amount of luteinizing hormone in the urine.

There are a number of ovulation prediction kits sold at pharmacies which range from simple to complex. In the simplest, the woman urinates onto a test stick and the amount of luteinizing hormone is indicated by a color change. The intensity of the color is proportional to the amount of luteinizing hormone in her urine. A woman begins testing her urine 2 to 3 days before she expects to ovulate based upon the dates of her previous monthly cycles.

The optimum days for fertilization are the two days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation. The greatest chance of becoming pregnant is if intercourse occurs within 24 hours after the luteinizing hormone surge. Ovulation prediction kits are used primarily to increase the chance of a woman becoming pregnant, but they can also indicate to the woman that she is about to ovulate and should take appropriate contraceptive precautions.

Withdrawal method

Using the withdrawal method, the man withdraws his penis from a woman's vagina before he ejaculates so that the sperm released from his penis does not enter her vagina. Withdrawal is also called coitus interruptus.

There are problems with using withdrawal as a contraceptive method. First, a man may release small amounts of sperm before actual ejaculation. Secondly, a man needs self-control and a precise sense of timing to be able to withdraw his penis from the woman's vagina before he ejaculates. Because this can be difficult for the man to complete successfully, the withdrawal method is only about 75%-80% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/26/2015

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