In light of the recent news, I’m sharing how to prevent pregnancy without hormonal birth control. Once you align with your menstrual cycle, you’ll be inspired to take your fertility into your own hands. Knowledge is power. There are a variety of contraception methods, but understanding your cycle is the best place to start. Without further ado, let’s dive into the menstrual cycle. Plus, learn basic forms of natural contraception.
Mastering Your Menstrual Cycle
There’s power in appreciating the female body—everything it does. However, we often take our physical being for granted. In turn, we get caught up in unhealthy behaviors: too much (or too little) exercise, inadequate rest, chronic stress, and under-nourishment. Our bodies deserve the same care we give to others—especially as women. Often overlooked, self-care is deeply rooted in the menstrual cycle.
4 Phases of the Menstrual cycle
At certain times of the month, our energy rises and falls. We may crave more solitude at the start of our period, then feel more abundant and social once it ends. Just like the seasons, a woman’s menstrual cycle has four distinct phases.
• menstrual: the start of your period
• follicular: 7-10 days leading up to ovulation
• ovulatory: 3-5 days of ovulation
• luteal: 10-14 days before your period
Keep in mind that every woman’s cycle is different. It is normal for lengths to vary. Your cycle may be longer or shorter than the phases listed above. If your cycle is irregular or absent, read this guide.
When can you get pregnant during your cycle?
To some degree, this varies. Once you start tracking your cycle, you’ll figure out when you’re ovulating. This usually occurs 12-14 days before your next period starts. However, every woman’s cycle is different. Some women ovulate before the 12-day window, and some ovulate after. To confirm, use LH strips to test when you’re ovulating! While it’s unlikely to conceive just after your period, it can happen. After all, sperm can live for up to five days in the female body. The highest pregnancy rates occur within 4-6 hours of ovulation.
Please be mindful of which period tracking app you’re using, if you choose to use one!
Time safe sex to avoid pregnancy
After an egg is released from one of your ovaries, it lives for less than 24 hours. If you have sex after the egg dies, you can’t get pregnant. That said, sperm can survive for up to five days. If you want to prevent pregnancy without hormonal birth control, abstain from sex five days before ovulation, as well as 2-3 days after you’ve ovulated.*
*These are estimates. Every woman’s cycle is different. It is normal for lengths to vary. Therefore, your fertile window may be longer or shorter than what’s listed above.
Fertility Awareness Methods
When it comes to how to prevent pregnancy without hormonal birth control, look no further than fertility awareness methods (FAMs). Also called “natural family planning” and “the rhythm method,” FAMs help you track your menstrual cycle. By tracking, you’ll know when your ovaries release an egg (ovulation)—aka, your most fertile days. Couples use FAMs to prevent pregnancy by avoiding sex or using another birth control method (like condoms) on fertile days.
How to Track Your Fertility
There are a few different FAMs that help track your fertility signs. You can use one (or more) of these methods to predict when you’ll ovulate:
- The Temperature Method: take your temperature every day, immediately after you wake up in the morning (before getting out of bed).
- The Cervical Mucus Method: check your cervical mucus (vaginal discharge) every day.
- The Calendar Method: chart your menstrual cycle on a calendar (I use an app to do this).
It’s most effective to combine all three methods.
BEST PERIOD BOOKS
Last but not least, below are my favorite books for mastering your menstrual cycle. Use these to empower you to prevent pregnancy without hormonal birth control.
This is all about discovering that your power lies in the rhythm of your menstrual cycle. Through this book, you’ll connect with your body on a deeper level. In turn, finding healing, balance, and wholeness.
New to understanding your period and how the rest of your lifestyle impacts your cycle? Read this.
Transform your periods using all-natural solutions like diet, vitamins, and hormone-balancing nutrition. Consider this an all-encompassing period repair manual.
A phenomenal resource for women of all menstruating ages. This book is packed with well-researched and accurate information. You’ll be surprised by how much we were never taught about the female body!
Trying to get pregnant? I have a variety of articles for you: Natural Ways to Boost Your Fertility in Your 30s. Vitamin D Impact on Pregnancy. Electrolytes During Pregnancy. We can also work together to increase your chances of conceiving!
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider.