Non-Hormonal Birth Control
Updated: Aug 13, 2022
Family planning is important to discuss because we know that an estimated half of all pregnancies are unintended "surprises!" A lot of women are curious about non-hormonal birth control options and there are a lot of good options available now. I really like the website www.bedsider.org to explore ALL the different forms of birth control. We think that combined hormonal birth control leads to B-vitamin deficiencies and can cause unwanted side effects so some women wish to avoid hormones entirely. As an integrative gynecology office, we understand the importance of discussing family planning and we offer all forms of non-surgical contraception.
Here are my favorite effective Non-hormonal Birth control options:
1) Natural Family Planning - there is no better way to get to know your body than to chart and explore your menstrual cycle every month with all its Ups and Downs. A great book to explore this is Taking Charge of Your Fertility (see: https://www.tcoyf.com/downloadable-charts/ for free charts!). You will learn how to chart your cycles using basal body temperature (BBT) measurements, and be able to predict when ovulation is, as well as explore the normal changes in cervical mucous that you experience with changing hormone levels. Some women love to do NFP in conjunction with condoms or other barrier methods that will increase effectiveness. The effectiveness of NFP is dependent on YOU! Some NFP is referred to as "Digital birth control" or "FemTech." A $500 device called Lady-Comp does the same things for you as a simple thermometer (see: https://lady-comp.com/us/en/accuracy/). If you just chart cycles on an app it won't be as effective as doing BBT measurements and checking changes in cervical mucous and position.
Perfect use: 95 - 99.6% effective
Typical use: 77-98% effective
2) Phexxi® is a hormone free birth control prescription vaginal gel that is FDA approved to prevent pregnancy, and you use it only when you need it. This is worth looking into as it works by changing the vaginal pH and the ingredients are just lactic acid, citric acid, and potassium bitartrate.
Phexxi is 86% effective at preventing pregnancy with typical use.
3) Copper IUD - ParaGard IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control (99%!) and can last 10 years. This is such a great option for women who are not planning on having more children but would like to keep the option open and not have any irreversible surgery like a Tubal ligation or vasectomy for your partner.
Perfect use: 99.4 - 99.9% effective
Typical use: 99.2 - 99.9% effective
4) Diaphragm - this is a silicone cup that you place before intercourse and sits on the cervix during sex. You typically leave this in about 8 hours after sex. These have been around for YEARS (my Grandma used them in the 1950s!) but they have fallen out of favor due to newer and more effective forms of birth control. Using the diaphragm in conjunction with a spermicide greatly increases the efficacy.
Perfect use: 84% effective
Typical use: 83% effective
5) Condoms - These forms of barrier contraception come in all shapes and sizes (and flavors...) There are female condoms which are inserted into the vagina or male condoms which cover the penis. Condoms protect against the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as prevent pregnancy.
Female condoms: Perfect use: 95% effective
Typical use: 79% effective
Male condoms: Perfect use: 98% effective
Typical use: 87% effective