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Why Natural Birth Control Isn’t My Choice

Why Natural Birth Control Isn’t My Choice

I like to think that my lifestyle is very natural and healthy. Iíve detoxified the cosmetics and cleaning products I use, and continue to scope out other areas where I can improve. But thereís one area of my life where Iím not willing to go all-natural, and thatís birth control. Lately Iíve been seeing a lot of online articles touting the virtues of natural birth control methods: Ditch the pill! Rebalance your hormones! Get in tune with your body! It sounds lovely, especially to those of us who value minimizing the chemical burden in our bodies. But, seriously, taking the leap to swap out a pill or IUD forÖ nothing? No, thank you.

Conventional birth control methods are undeniably problematic. The pill has a bad reputation for leaching synthetic hormones, primarily ďethinyl estradiolĒ or EE2, into the environment via human waste, resulting in the feminization of animals. Although itís been shown that agricultural runoff is more at fault than oral contraceptives, itís a big enough problem that the European Union is considering revamping their sewage treatment facilities to deal with it. Then there are the personal side effects, such as depression, suppressed libido, weight gain, heart problems, even nutritional deficiency. Some women blame IUDs for turning them into emotional zombies, flattening libidos and natural fertility cycles.

Despite these serious concerns, thereís a reason why more of us arenít jumping on the natural birth control bandwagon and continue reverting to the pharmacy when it comes to preventing pregnancy: Itís just not that simple. I resent the lightness with which many articles toss around the subject of natural birth control, as if itís an inevitable decision that any truly health-conscious person would make. People write about natural birth control methods as if theyíre choosing a new organic shampoo or paraben-free mascara. Those products are easy to test, but thereís no room for trial-and-error with birth control. Screw up, and you could get pregnant.

Natural birth control methods, such as fertility awareness-based methods (you can read about FABM in this article from The Atlantic), probably are great and effective for certain women under specific circumstances, i.e. women who are monogamous, not concerned about sexually transmitted illnesses, capable of raising any surprise kids, married, comfortable with the possibility of abortion, have predictable menstrual cycles, etc. FABM requires careful attention to oneís body, and doesnít allow for the wide range of sexual freedom that mainstream methods do. To promote natural methods as being good for everyone strikes me as being somewhat regressive, a metaphorical slap in the face to the women who have been fighting hard Ė and continue to fight in many places, even the United States Ė for reproductive rights.

When I first read The Atlantic article about FABM, I thought it sounded fascinating, but I knew Iíd never try it. ďOnce burned, twice shy,Ē they say. After opting to go natural with a diaphragm, I got pregnant at 22 and had my first child. It was a big price for staying hormone-free. Since then, Iíve become a fan of IUDs, which are as close to ideal birth control as Iíve found Ė but they donít prevent STIs and also have low-level hormone disruption.

While conventional birth control methods are far from ideal, I donít think women should be so quick to reject them.

Related
Is Your Partner a Birth Control Bully?
Which Birth Control Pill is Right For You?
Does Using Birth Control Make You Infertile?

Read more: Health, Women's Health, , , , ,

article by Katherine Martinko

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Kara, selected from TreeHugger

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, planetgreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

68 comments

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5:56AM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Typo
It sounds unbelievable but that is what the researchers tell us.

5:55AM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Thanks.
And some extra info:
Recent research( Norwegian 2013) show that IUD removes cancer in the uterus.
It sounds unbelievable but that us want the researchers say...

As a European it is so strange to read of often Americans use the word shame and shaming .
Discussion about different methods of contraception is OK. I have tried several also the 100% natural method that meant taking my temperature , inspect body fluids! feel if the cervix opening is soft or hard like a nose to touch .....


But who is " shaming " others for their choice of birth control ?
Yes I know Catholics have their own rules and regulations about sex and birth control. That is religious held believes and not " shaming" ?
But for the rest of us, non Catholics.
Nobody know what methods you use, it is a highly private matter.
So how can anyone try ( and succeed) to make you feel ashamed of your private choices?
It feel so weird to read the verb shaming be used about absolutely everything .

4:37AM PST on Dec 27, 2013

Very good post. Thanks for sharing.

2:01AM PST on Dec 27, 2013

interesting article. ty

12:41PM PST on Dec 23, 2013

Thank you for this!
Just so true.. errors in contraception are really, really costly.

10:45AM PST on Dec 16, 2013

I used FAM and it worked for me. When I wanted my daughter, there were no problems. It is a great way to get in touch with your own body's cycles and to learn self-care.

10:34AM PST on Dec 16, 2013

The junk they have out is totally not okay.

9:15PM PST on Dec 15, 2013

Let women chose.

7:13PM PST on Dec 15, 2013

Birth control is most certainly a woman's choice. If you want to go completely natural and not have babies is to not have sex or get to get your tubes tied...but then again neither of those things are natural!

7:12PM PST on Dec 15, 2013

yeah..natural doesn't work for everything, some of the natural things I've tried don;t work anywhere near as well as the other products unfortunately, I still use some of them but use non-natural ones as well,with birth control, I wouldn't. You should listen to a doctor on these things..not websites full of people who think they know better than everyone else.

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