She had finished her workout and stopped at the grocery store.  Filling her cart with organic veggies, hormone-free milk, and vitamins, she loaded the groceries into her recycled canvas bag and stopped at the pharmacy to pick up her birth control pills.

Wait a minute: women today are more cautious than ever about what we put into our bodies and how we treat them.  We try to keep our ‘carbon footprint’ to a minimum and treat the world in a way that will preserve it for our own children.  Why then, does birth control fall so short when we look at these goals?

parents and children sillouette

Like cow’s milk, hormones including estrogen and progesterone are used in birth control pills, patches, shots and implants.  Unlike cow’s milk, these things are not being given to us second-hand through milk, but directly into our systems. According to one report, 21 scientists with the World Health Organization in 2005 confirmed that estrogens in birth control methods are carcinogenic of the number one type (the most dangerous type). “ LONDON — The U.N.’s cancer research agency added hormone pills Friday to the list of substances that can cause cancer.”

Interestingly enough, once this data got out, it was quickly hidden to avoid controversy.

Listen to a commercial for the most widely used contraception choices for women and you will hear the quickly mentioned risks of heart attacks, blood clots, cancer, and even death, as side effects.  In fact, Norplant was pulled off the shelves in 2002 because of lawsuits due to negative side effects and the Ortho Evra patch has been linked to 23 deaths!  There have also been lawsuits against Mircette and Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Yaz and others, due to a reported increase in blood clots (among women using these drugs). (Sourced from Women's Sexual Health and The Chicago Tribune)

Many of these methods also interfere with a woman’s normal fertility cycle, even stopping menstruation for months, a decidedly unnatural thing to do. Combine that with the throw away plastic containers and birth control does not sound friendly to the environment or our bodies. There is another way though.  An all natural way to provide for family planning needs.  This method actually helps women increase their knowledge about their own bodies and promotes increased health and well being.  Natural Family Planning or NFP is used by women across the globe with positive results either in the planning of conception or the postponement of it.

There are two widely used methods of NFP. The first is a sympto-thermal method and the second an ovulation method. Both methods involve charting daily changes in a woman’s cycle, observing cervical mucus changes, and abstaining from sexual activity for a period (generally 5 to 7 days) each month. (The sympto-thermal method also includes daily temperature taking.) These methods have a success rate of 97-99% when taught by a NFP teacher and practiced regularly.

Other than the initial cost of the classes, there is little or no cost associated with practicing NFP, making it a much less expensive form of family planning as well. Using NFP has other natural advantages too. When practicing NFP it increases a woman’s understanding of her unique cycle and how her body works.  This can be important in overall health, planning pregnancies and even recognizing patterns during menopause.

One woman, Mary (not her name)  reported discovering a small cyst on her cervix during her routine cervical check.  Jane (name changed) identified a short post-ovulatory phase which was making it impossible for her to maintain a pregnancy after fertilization. These methods can be followed from a woman’s teens into menopause.  Many women report difficulty conceiving after being on artificial birth control for an extended period of time.  When using Natural Family Planning, if conception is desired there is no need to wean ones self off a method and begin a new one.  The focus is just changed from prevention of conception to achieving conception. Unlike the pill, a breastfeeding mother can safely practice NFP without passing along harmful hormones to her infant.

Another advantage of NFP is that couples practicing it report more satisfying marriages, increased satisfaction with their sex life, and a divorce rate quoted as less than 5%, not the 50% rate of their unnaturally contracepting counterparts.

When the dangers of birth control pills, implants and patches are explored, it begs the question; “Why would women put themselves in such a physically compromised situation?  Would men do the same?” Natural Family Planning is a physically healthy, inexpensive and environmentally friendly way for a woman to plan her family. It is completely natural and works with a woman’s body to avoid pregnancy when desired.  It is reported to increase satisfaction with sex and marriage, as well as, lowering the divorce rate.  Natural Family Planning is the best kept secret for women today.

Copyright 2014, Mary Lou Rosien