Today I am going to talk about sex. (Sorry Mum and Dad, if you’re reading this!) Specifically, I want to talk about some options for contraception that don’t include synthetic hormones because we all know what I think about those!
About three months ago, I attended Dr Nat Kringoudis’s very first Debunking Ovulation seminar and I got so much out of it. Nat runs The Pagoda Tree in South Melbourne, which is a natural fertility clinic. She is a doctor of Chinese Medicine and an acupuncturist, and is an expert in all things fertility. Basically, when Nat gives you advice, it would be wise to listen.
The Debunking Ovulation seminar did exactly what the name implies: it helped us to understand exactly how our ovaries really work and why you don’t actually need a hormonal contraception method to make sure you don’t accidentally make a baby. I highly recommend going if you are unsure about exactly how that all works, you are experiencing irregular periods or, really just if you have ovaries.
I won’t go into the detail of what Nat talks about because I’m not an expert (and don’t want to be responsible for any unexpected babies!) but one of the take-home messages was that we ovulate exactly once between periods. Only once. That means that there is only a period of about three days where you can actually fall pregnant each cycle. The key is understanding your body well enough to be able to know when you are ovulating.
OK, here are my top three non-hormonal contraception options:
I thought it made sense to start with what I’m sure is going to be the least popular option. I know, I know. Condoms kill the mood, they interrupt the fun and can dull sensation. There’s nothing new there. But, they are an effective method of contraception for when you are ovulating and they have come a long way in recent years. There are so many ‘ultra-thin condom varieties that they have almost made their regular counterparts redundant. They also protect against STDs and, hey, no-one wants to have that conversation with their doctor and, subsequently, their new partner.
The Withdrawal Method
Before you all shut your laptops in disgust that I could be so irresponsible, hear me out. The withdrawal method is actually very reliable if you use it correctly. By that I mean that the guy must pull out before he starts ejaculating. ‘What about pre-cum?’ I hear you ask. It’s a misnomer that pre-ejaculation contains live sperm. This fluid is simply there to clean out the pipes before the real action begins. The only footnote to this one is to make sure your guy pees first if you are planning on heading into round two.
The Cervical Cap
The cervical cap is something that I am really keen to find out more about. I first heard about it a while ago and then completely forgot about it. Nat talked about it at the seminar and spoke about how it works. It’s basically a new-and-improved version of the diaphragm. It’s a small silicone cap that you insert prior to sex. It sits flush against your cervix and acts as a barrier to sperm. You can put it in a few hours before sex, which means it won’t interrupt the moment. You just have to leave it in for six hours after sex, so you can just take it out when you get up in the morning (if you’re a nocturnal love-maker). You can pick up a cervical cap from your chemist and find out more from your GP.
One final note: if you are interested in finding out more about ovulation but can’t attend one of Nat’s seminars, you’re in luck! Debunking Ovulation is just about to be made into a podcast.