View Full Version : Need Honest and Detailed Advice on Birth Control
11-29-2007, 12:30 PM
I have been a member of this board for a long time and have been on and off raw most of that time. I appreciate the advice, experience, and insight that all of you take the time to share.
Before I get into my situation, I need to explain myself a bit. I am 33 (soon to be 34) years old, am nearly 58 tall and weigh about 178 lbs. People never think I weigh what I do but the scale and how I feel illustrate the truth. I want release weight to the goal of 150-155 lbs I feel and look the best at this weight. I have more of an athletic build and have curves.
Raw has helped me a great deal when I have been disciplined enough to follow through with the diet (everything Alissa says in the book and on this site is true you just need to do it and you will experience major, positive changes). My goal is to enter my 34th trip around the sun much healthier, happier, and committed to permanent lifestyle changes.
I have (relatively) recently become involved with a wonderful man and I am very happy and it is something that is going to be long term. However, I. umm, for lack of better words, lack experience with birth control and the like. But I do not want children and I dont want to become pregnant. It is a decision I made long ago, though I am not ready for a permanent option.
I have never taken any hormonal birth control. With the exception of painful periods and fatigue that was alleviated by raw, cutting out caffeine, drinking plenty of water, and exercising, my periods are normal and always have been.
I went to the gyn last week for my annual exam and received a prescription / packets for the birth control pill Femcon Fe. I have not started the pack yet. I have read up on BC pills on this site and all over the web and I have not heard many good things about them including the one that I have described. The side effects are horrible and, from what I read today, not very effective for the more ample women! Also I really do not want to gain weight!
I want to contact my gyn and see if I could receive the Para guard IUD. It seems, though, that they will not prescribe them for those who have not yet had any children. Again I dont want to become pregnant but I am at a loss in the raw community as well as to what is truly effective for those who do not wish to have children but want to fully experience and enjoy their relationships.
I know that there are a lot of various opinions out there about this topic so this is not being presented to start a debate, etc. However, any advice would be greatly appreciated!
11-29-2007, 12:52 PM
I won't offer anything up for a debate, everybody is different and knows what's best for them :D
I was on hormonal bc for many years. When I went off of it I didn't want to do anything hormonal or medical anymore.
I bought the book:
Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
I used this for a year for birth control, and then when we were ready for little kiddies, I used it to get pregnant.
Highly recommend it if your looking for a non-hormonal/medical way to go about this.
Good luck in whatever you decide!!
11-29-2007, 03:14 PM
the copper kind, not the one with hormone release built in. i used traditional birth control pills since about age 18, and would never go back on them. weight gain, moodiness, not to mention messing with your hormones is NEVER a good idea, hello. ;)
11-29-2007, 03:56 PM
Tubal ligation was a great decision for me. Had tubes tied at 25 years old, now 50 and no regrets.
11-29-2007, 04:06 PM
..thanks for your comments...and sharing your experiences...
11-29-2007, 06:27 PM
You can buy books that teach you how to test your temperature, mucous etc, to tell your most fertile days. You can combine this with things like lunar cycle watching (although this can get complex and you need to know your time of birth) and of course the old not-so-trustworthy pullout method
Me and my fiancé stopped using condoms around 2 years ago, as we decided we were ready for whatever happened although having children is not our full intention right now. So weve researched these more natural methods and theyve brought us 2 years without any pregnancy. Still, its far from guaranteed, obviously i could still get pregnant right now
I have been on bc pills and it was NOT a pleasant experience. My hair fell out, i puked, i felt nauseous and tired and irritable, i bloated up and got rashes.
Sorry i dont have any better advice!
Good luck and good for you for looking for alternatives
11-29-2007, 08:12 PM
I'm kinda in the same predictament (although I want children). Why is the paraguard (without hormones) hard to get?? Curious what the doctor told you.
I've yet to choose a BC option but was leaning towards the paraguard. Although I went to the doctor yesterday after being in serious pain for 2 weeks. I had the same symptoms as either a eponic pregnancy or kidney problems. Ended up being an ovarian cyst. Very painful but according to my doctor, happens more so to people who are condom wearers and not so much to those who are on birth control. So basically, the hormones protect you from those cysts. :mad:
11-29-2007, 08:27 PM
You got your tubes tied at 25? Had you had any children before?
I do not plan on having children...ever (no desire. Zip. And if I had the desire, I would adopt.), but I was wondering if doctors would refuse the operation on someone so young. If you could share your story, that'd be great :)
11-29-2007, 08:32 PM
I have been on Birth Control since I was 19... I'm now 27 and I've never had bad experiences or weight gain. I was on Ortho Tri-Cyclin for years and now for the past 2 years I have been taking Ortho Tri-Cyclin Lo.
Everyone's body is different though, and if you react negatively to one BC, you can try another one... as for the nasty side effects listed, like I said I haven't had any... **putting on my scholar cap** I work in the insurance industry so I am well versed in risk management, and these pharmaceutical companies have to put every possible side effect, even if there's a 1 in 1million chance to try to mitigate some of their exposure to lawsuits from consumers.
Just read up, do research and ask different women in your life what they would recommend.
Good luck!! ;)
Oh and FYI, my sis was on Ortho Tri-Cyclin for years and years, went off it when her and her husband decided to have a baby... and she was pregnant within like 2 months... I only mention this because I know some of my girlfriends were scared about staying on the pill for long periods of time because they were afraid it would take forever to get pregnant once they were ready... but that's not the case.
11-29-2007, 09:13 PM
About 7 years ago I took ortho tri cyclen for about 6 months (prescribed to me for acne). Eeek! Just in that short time, I think the hormones really wacked me out. I was a completely different person, and I gained weight. Not to mention, after going off the pill, the acne came back as giant, deep, painful cysts all over my chin and jawline. Never, ever again!!!
Tootsie - I agree with SmilingRawDancer, it would be great to hear your story!! I am childfree as well.
11-30-2007, 12:57 AM
My advice would be, if you are intending on staying raw and keeping your body clean, DO NOT start on birth control pills. Women who have a history of long term use of birth control pills are candiates for candida.
I tried to use that lunar cycle thingy too (I forget what my kit was called) - it didn't work at all. It was difficult to follow and not very accurate - and I know this because I got pregnant. :( ( saddy face because I don't want any kids).
So, even though, we don't really like to have to use them - condoms are working the best.
11-30-2007, 01:03 AM
I'm in the process of getting a paragard IUD and I've never had kids. Doctors have been reluctant to give them to women who haven't had kids because there was thought to be a higher expulsion rate. However, some recent studies have showed that it is only slightly higher and that they're safe for women without children.
I've read a lot of stories on a livejournal community called iud divas - http://community.livejournal.com/iud_divas
What I found there was that women have had great success with Planned Parenthood centers. They're both willing to give the IUDs to women without kids and they're GOOD at putting them in because they do so many each day.
11-30-2007, 10:21 AM
Howdy SmilingRawDancer et al,
I feel in love when I was sixteen and my first experience with birth control was an IUD...unfortunately, I got pregnant within two months. Got married, and then had a miscarriage at five months along (divorced at 19). Then went on birth control pills and gained a little weight, and had bad skin. I got married (for the second time) at 24, my new husband and I decided together that we didn't want children. Personally, I felt unprepared for what I considered the great responsiblity of raising children, and I love flexibility and freedom. Tubal ligation made a lot of sense to me. I thought the doctor would make me see a Psychiatrist, just to be certain, but it was no big deal to him. I even opted for the most irreversible surgery with cauterization (they did have a more temporary option with something like rubber bands). Now, in hind site, it was the right thing for me to do. These are THE toughest decesions though. Ask for any more details if you want.
Love and kisses,
11-30-2007, 10:36 AM
Scary things in my opinion. I went on them when I was about 21 to help with cramping, horrible periods, etc. I actually lost a little bit of weight and they made my skin awesome.
However, after a while they started to have the opposite effect. I went off of them for a while and when I was about 28 I tried them again. I tried the low doses of hormones and I was rageful and angry most of the time. I gained a lot of weight and always felt bloated and tearful.
One day my poor husband came home to find I had taken a knife to the walls, bashed in the washing machine with a hammer and dumped every bit of laundry in the home at the bottom of the basement steps.
Now, some may call this a case for crazy (which I certainly felt at that time), but once I quit taking them, all of that craziness disappeared. I went back to being calm and rational.
That was four years ago. We also use the not-so-accurate pull-out method and also attempt to time things. But then we're open to a pregnancy if it happens.
My holistic doctor once mentioned something about melatonin being an effective birth control and that we would talk about it some time. I never got back to him on it and I couldn't find much info on the net about it. Maybe now is the time to look into it?
11-30-2007, 11:56 AM
I take my temps daily, sort of I have a little mini computer that takes the temp for me and gives me a red light if I am fertile and a green light if I am not it's called ladycomp (www.ladycomp.com) if I get a red light I usually use a cervical cap which I ordered thru (www.birthwithlove.com) its been working great for my husband and I for over 6 months now, I love not being on BC any more. Good luck!
11-30-2007, 01:36 PM
Another option is to buy some ovulation kits and find out when you are ovulating. A woman can only physically get pregnant 2-3 days out of the month.
Once you know what those days are you can try this method for bc.
Be sure to research this though, because your egg, once released, will last around 12 hours and the male's sperm can last up to 3 days!
So the timing is crucial. You could be abstinent for 2 days and not know that your egg as released and the sperm are sitting there waiting! :D
I recently read up on this topic because I am trying to get prego. :cool:
12-03-2007, 08:10 PM
Well, I'm not much help since you don't want anything permanent. But 6 months ago I had the Essure procedure. Instead of cutting the tubes, they go up thru your cervix and implant 'coils' into your fallopian tubes. After 3 months your body forms scar tissue around the coils and blocks your tubes. I had to go in for an x-ray after 3 months to make sure they were blocked. However, now I can no longer get prego and no surgery, no hormones, no devices, no temperature taking, no mucous checking......I'm so very happy. By the way, if anyone wants more info just go to essure.com.
I'm bumping this in case anyone else has any experience with natural birth control methods. For the first year and a half we were married, I got a shot that was supposed to be pretty effective. After I went raw (last February), I did not continue it.
I have now been without a REALLY effective birth control method for over a year. I have too much traveling and living to do to have an unplanned pregnancy. But I am NOT willing to put hormones in my body if I can avoid it.
Hence, I have made an appointment (well actually 2 appointments) to do some preliminary work and to have the Paragard IUD inserted. The thing is -- it's 10 years and apparently THE only option at my disposal that does not put any hormones in my body.
Is there an option I'm missing? Is this something anyone has experience with?
If it's helpful information, I'm 25 and, again, really not interested in having kids now. I would not feel comfortable/good/right about an abortion, so my goal is to prevent the likely possibility of becoming pregnant before too long.
Thanks in advance. :)
I should also mention that I had to be very clear that I am not willing to put any hormones in. Both offices told me they usually do not do this for someone who has not already had kids. I explained that I don't even take baby aspirin etc. and would likely cause problems to my system if I were to use fake hormones to falsely regulate my body.
May or may not be right, but it seems silly to me to put all of this effort into not taking in unnatural food to then take synthetic hormones!
03-31-2008, 04:50 PM
I have had great results using NFP (natural family planning) for years and it has really strengthened my marriage because it's a team effort. I have also learned a ton about my body and was able to detect low thyroid before any doctor could. It is not difficult once you learn, and we find that having that week or so of abstinence is very good for our communication.
Someone further up on this thread mentioned a book. Here is another website that offers an excellent book plus you can find local classes:
www.ccli.org (no, you don't have to be Catholic! We are, but half of our class was not...)
There are also physicians who practice NFP-only medicine, through a woman's reproductive years and beyond. You can search the NFP directory at:
I've had success both getting pregnant and not getting pregnant using the rhythm or natural family planning method. Birth control pills turned me into a raging lunatic too. With the rhythm method, you really need very regular periods, but you can buy ovulation detection kits that use a microscope through which you look at your saliva or cervical mucous to tell you if you are ovulating, or getting close, which is nice, because you have some warning (hint: that's handy if you're trying to conceive a particular gender). Those kits are also a one time purchase, which is also nice.
03-31-2008, 05:03 PM
Its not for everyone, but we have used Natural Family Planning too...since our last "gift" (Ethan). However it really only works if you are super regular...which I stopped becoming "regular" after giving birth to Ethan. We use the ovulation calculator...and I have to tell you....my dh knows when I will start...before I do. Anyway...that was almost 4 years ago and we have opted to use the NFP way and haven't had any "additions" to the family. I hope you find what you are looking for!!!
03-31-2008, 11:53 PM
I just want to emphasize that NFP is NOT the rhythm method and you do not need to have regular cycles to use it! It is not based on the calendar but on morning temperatures and daily mucus observation. That is why it is so very effective. My cycles are all over the board, from 30 to as long as 100 days and now that we know my ovulation pattern so well, it is very clear when I am ovulating.
With rhythm method, you are going on past information, so if you ovulate earlier (or later) than normal, you conceive. That's why there are so many jokes about it. We are fortunate to have so much more information now to naturally space or delay children. Or to help conceive children.
04-01-2008, 04:46 AM
I dont have personal experience with NFP, but alot of my friends have used it, and if used properly, my understanding is that it is highly effective in planning or avoiding births--though not 100%, but then nothing is... (NFP can also tend to have a different mentality in the sense of that rather than looking at an unexpected pregnancy as a "mistake", it may be looked at as a "surprise pregnancy," which, to me, recognizes and respects the fact that pregnancy is not something foreign to the act of sexual love, but something that is natural to it. I am certainly not trying to suggest that everyone should want get pregnant all of the time, or even that everyone should want children, but just to say that I like the idea of NFP because I think it respects both the natural rhythms of the body and the natural workings of nature. But I guess all of this is just a side point; just my opinion.) NFP is great because it doesnt put anything unnatural into your body and puts you in better touch with your body and its natural rhythms. My friends who use it have said that it can really strengthen the relationship as well, as it requires short periods of abstinence when you are fertile, which then serve to sort of reignite the passion when those periods are over.
04-02-2008, 08:42 AM
I just want to emphasize that NFP is NOT the rhythm method and you do not need to have regular cycles to use it! I am not sure this was directed at my reply...but wanted to clarify that I never mentioned the rhythm was NFP and if you do choose NFP you really do have to have regular cycles not only does use physical signs but also counts days and such...and you have to have a regular cycle for the "days" to be accurate..if you cycle is irregular the times you keep track of days can lead to pregnancy in the long run...anyway....just didn't want any confusion on that! :) ;)
This is really helpful to think about. I was actually thinking more of natural methods I could get at the doctor, but I'm going to think about this too. I have an appointment in 2.5 hours for a pap smear, some testing and conversation about what I'm going to do.
I've already made an appointment for two weeks from now for the actual insertion of the Paragard IUD, but I figure that means I have two weeks to see if there is something better out there for me.
It sounds like the NFP you've all mentioned here could be a possibility. Does anyone have any idea about the efficacy?
I should reiterate that now is NOT the time for me to have any children! I am actually the breadwinner in our marriage, for the most part. And for the last two years, we have had custody of my two stepkids (a surprise for me after two months of marriage), which has meant me being unable to travel as I would like. This, for me, was very stressful. They are back with their mom in Brazil, who just lets the kids run wild. I don't feel good about that, but this whole situation has put a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.
I'm honestly not even sure if I will ever have kids, based on my husband's and my differing views on parenting. His = Let them do whatever. If they don't do their homework or lie, it's ok. They're kids, which means their only job is to have fun. Mine = Fun is great, coupled with expectations and learning the difference between right and wrong and parents following up on that.
Sheesh. Maybe his attitude about what kids' situations should be is WHY I am the breadwinner!!
All that said -- no matter what, I could not fathom having an abortion. So, if I get pregnant... I'm going to have to embrace the idea!
:o Sorry to take this so off subject -- but I guess this IS on the subject in a way!
If you ladies using the NFP method were in my shoes, would you feel like it is effective enough??
Does anyone have experience with Paragard or anything else that does NOT involve synthetic hormones?
04-02-2008, 11:19 AM
As far as how effective it is, gosh our bobies can be such powerhouses it would be hard to say, imo that is. I have so many friends that have used NFP and unexpectedly gotten pregnant, so I am not so sure about the effective~ness of it. I guess it all depends on how you want to use it Its an awesome choice...one that is all yours! ;) I hope you find what you are looking for in your journey...either way its a great one!
04-02-2008, 11:25 AM
My friends who use it have said that it can really strengthen the relationship as well, as it requires short periods of abstinence when you are fertile, which then serve to sort of reignite the passion when those periods are over. I wanted to reply to what Kaybee said...this for my relationship with my husband is very true, with NFP it has become a partnership...both of us are responsible for keeping track of our "fertility" and is has made our experiences "worth waiting for". :o ;)
04-02-2008, 11:45 AM
Eva, I just wanna say thank you for bringing up this thread, as I have the same questions AND I really relate to your situation. I also dont want kids for several years cuz we are currently living abroad and plan to continue traveling the world for a while. I have severe wanderlust and have to get it out of my system before having kids! :) I too, am the primary breadwinner - we both work fulltime but my career pays much more. I feel the same way you do about abortion - not an option, so if I got pregnant I would have to embrace it too. I'm open to having kids someday, although I would be perfectly happy and fulfilled if I never did.
I recently got off the pill and don't ever plan to go back on it - not only did it mess with my moods, it killed my sex drive. It happened somewhat gradually so I didnt put two and two together until I came off and BAM it went through the roof! And now I read that it's a common side effect. So no more messing with my hormones!
I too am looking for an alternative.. using pull-out right now :eek: ANYTHING has to be more effective than that! Can't use condoms - hubs is allergic to latex (tried non-latex and they all broke!) and I'm allergic to the spermicide Nonoxyl-9.
I NEVER thought I would say this, but after reading everyone's comments about NFP, I'm actually considering it! I would like to combine it with a barrier method of some kind, like a diaphragm or Lea's shield on the more fertile days, but do all of them require the use of spermicide? (I know the sponge and diaphragm do).
Again, I really appreciate this thread and will be interested to hear what you decide on Eva, and any other advice anyone has! :)
Christina, I feel like you and I must be kindred spirits! It's fun to see the perspective of someone else who is going through similar things.
I must say I've really gained a lot of insight from this thread.
And after my conversation with the "lady doctor"... I will NOT be getting the IUD. There is a chance that my body would see it as a foreign object and expel it and all sorts of other details. If that happened -- or if something happened later -- I'd have to have surgery to have it removed. No, thanks.
The other reason is that I was unaware just how effective condoms can be when used properly. I had some misinformation in my head, and apparently condoms are pretty effective (i.e. 98-99% if used properly). She was telling me about some recent studies from brothels in Nevada (:o :eek:) where they inspected the condoms after use and apparently not 1 person in the study transmitted any STDs or became pregnant because the condoms were used properly and 100% of the time.
I brought home information about NFP, and I think that we will be using both condoms and NFP. I'm satisfied with that.
Christina -- I talked to her about diaphragms and they usually (if not always) do have spermicide in them. Condoms no longer have spermicides (usually) as they used to, but that doesn't help if your dh is allergic to latex. It might be helpful to know that NFP is 95++% effective if used carefully. Perhaps you could continue the, er, pull-out method in conjunction with NFP?? Between the two methods, you'll be much less likely to get pregnant. Just a thought.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who contributed to this thread. It has been so helpful.
If anyone else has input, I'm sure others would benefit, so don't be shy about continuing. ;) :)
04-02-2008, 03:49 PM
As far as effectiveness, several studies have shown that the symptothermal method of NFP is 99% effective when practiced correctly. In one study in India, Mother Teresa's sisters taught NFP to poor and uneducated women (they still do) and their rate of success avoiding pregnancy was well over 99%. This is just as high as the pill's theoretical effectiveness and significantly higher than the pill's actual effectiveness. But NFP teachers note that using barriers and spermicides during the fertile period would reduce this effectiveness greatly, because the fertile period is designed to be extremely fertile.
We know two couples using NFP who have grave reason NOT to get pregnant (one wife has a heart condition after having 4 children and the other couple has a handicapped child with genetic problems that the parents carry). In the first case, the 4 children were all "accidents" conceived on various birth control - the pill, IUD, condoms...when she was diagnosed with the heart problems, the doctor wanted to tie her tubes but she had a change of heart about messing with her body and the meaning of love and learned NFP with her husband. Now they love it so much and find it so effective that they teach it and have been able to avoid pregnancy for 6 years. Most of the so-called "surprise" pregnancies with NFP are really when couples try to bend the rules and take their chances a day early, etc and so are really not surprises. But true surprises still happen to that 1%
Like a raw diet, NFP takes some learning about your body and some work/adjustments in your lifestyle but it definitely works. While you are thinking about your options, you can call around and search for a teaching couple in your area that you can talk to. If you are a book-learner like I am, then "The Art of Family Planning" is excellent and contains more than you'll ever need to know...
Thanks for the info Clare!!!
04-05-2008, 01:47 PM
Eva, you're right, we're definitely kindred spirits :)
Thanks so much for sharing all that info from your doc. I am gonna try NFP - Living in a heavily Catholic country, so I shouldnt have too much trouble finding lots of good info on the subject :)
I wish you the best of luck on your journey.
And yes, thank you to everyone who shared on this informative thread!
04-07-2008, 10:41 PM
I posted about this topic tonight. I am interested in the NFP if possible, because I do not want to put harsh chemicals in me from the hormones, but also want to enjoy intimacy with my boyfriend.
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