This past Sunday was the 50th anniversary of the invention of the birth control pill. Most of us know about the pill and its many benefits. It offers women control over their fertility, preventing unwanted pregnancies and allowing for sexual freedom; it isn't particularly time consuming or difficult to use; and, here in Edmonton, can be obtained for reduced prices at the Birth Control Centre downtown making it fairly accessible for most women. And the pill is not just used as a contraceptive by women - it is also a solution for unwanted heavy periods or hormone-related skin problems among other things. All in all we're glad to have this awesome contraceptive option around. But what about when the pill isn't what you want, has nasty side effects, or if you just want a broader range of options? Here's a list for those who want to see what's out there. Feministing also posted an article on non-hormonal birth-control options. (It also looks like a male contraceptive in the form of an ultrasound treatment is in the works.) Today's mini feature took a closer look at fertility charting, a birth control method that is sometimes called natural birth control.
Fertility charting is 99.6% effective and requires nothing more than careful observation. It isn't the rhythm method, which tries to predict fertility. Instead it's a day to day look at signs of fertility like cervical mucus, body temperature, and cervix position that lets a woman know when she's fertile and when she's not. For more information you can check out:
-Justisse Healthworks - This is a holistic reproductive health care centre here in Edmonton. Their websites has a lot of information on fertility charting for birth control and conceiving as well as info on psychological health and perimenopause. -Fertility Awareness Charting Circle - This is a group that gets together once a month October through April every year here in Edmonton where you can learn how to chart, receive follow-up on your charts, and get hooked up with all the books and material you might find helpful. These meetings are by donation and led by professionals from Justisse. -Books! - Let us know if you know of any other great books to help new charters learn.
Like any birth control, there are drawbacks to fertility charting. There's quite the learning curve and charting can be time consuming. As well, every type of birth control only works when used properly and, with the fertility charting method, this means intercourse must be avoided on fertile days. But some might actually see this as more of a benefit than a drawback as it provided the opportunity to explore different type of sex that don't include penetration during those blocks of time.
Other potential benefit of this method include the possibility of implementation in poor communities or developing countries. Fertility charting requires education but otherwise is accessible and almost entirely free. This means women don't have to pay up to big pharmaceutical companies or even for condoms to have control over their reproduction, they don't need to rely on these products being available, and they don't need a prescription from a doctor either. The method also doubles as a tool for those trying to conceive and, overall, offers a fantastic way to learn more about the body you inhabit.
The piece we played today was a shortened version of a vintage feature - you can listen to the whole show here.