Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Contraceptives

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Health » Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Contraceptives

While I’ve primarily dedicated this website to the everyday experience of being a mama, not everyone wants a large family. Some women feel their family is complete and it’s not in their plan to become pregnant again (or at all). Here are the non-hormonal birth control options I’ve used in my own family planning.

Birth control is common these days for a variety of reasons. According to the CDC, almost 25% of women aged 15 to 49 currently use a hormonal contraceptive. These include “the pill,” a diaphragm, or intrauterine devices (IUDs). 

So it’s no surprise that I’ve gotten dozens of requests for natural birth control options. Women are constantly asking for natural alternatives to hormonal contraceptives. As an introvert, I tend to shy away from controversy. Still, I decided to tackle this head-on.

How Do Hormonal Contraceptives Work? 

I have a plethora of non-medical reasons for avoiding hormonal contraceptives. But there are some solid medical/scientific reasons to make this decision, too. Hormonal contraceptives are artificial hormone-like substances that mimic the effects of naturally-occurring hormones. According to the FDA, these contraceptives work by: 

  • Interfering with ovulation. Estrogen and progestin in the pills stop the ovaries from releasing eggs.
  • Thickening the cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from reaching the egg in the fallopian tube.
  • Disrupting the ability of the fallopian tubes to move fertilized eggs from the ovaries toward the uterus. 
  • Preventing the buildup of the uterine lining which, inhibits implantation of a fertilized egg. 

For me, the possibility that you could conceive but the fertilized egg wouldn’t implant is disturbing. It’s enough to keep me from ever wanting to use hormonal contraceptives. And there’s a long list of other reasons. But it turns out artificial hormones also damage women’s health.

(They also damage environmental health when they end up in the water supply). 

Why Avoid Hormonal Contraceptives?

There are plenty of health reasons to avoid hormonal methods of birth control. Hormonal contraceptives impact way more than your hormones. Using them can undermine your health over time or even lead to new health conditions.

May Cause Nutrient Depletion

Many medications affect how we absorb nutrients, which can cause deficiencies. Hormonal contraceptives are no different. Researchers have found these medications deplete key vitamins and minerals. This can be detrimental to reproductive health, bone health, the brain, the immune system, and more. 

A 2011 randomized controlled trial found hormonal contraceptives deplete certain nutrients. This includes vitamin B6, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. These deficiencies can lead to other health problems thanks to the important role these nutrients play.

Vitamin B6 and magnesium are critical for hormone balance. The minerals zinc and selenium are crucial for the immune response. Phosphorus makes strong bones. 

Another hormonal birth control method is a transdermal patch. This method delivers synthetic estradiol directly into the bloodstream. It may cause significantly lower levels of coenzyme Q10 and alpha-tocopherol. When the body is low in these nutrients, it can lead to increased oxidative stress, inflammation, and calcification. 

Besides depleting these nutrients, the pill can also lead to an excess of copper, calcium, and iron. This can then exacerbate deficiencies in other nutrients.

May Cause Depression or Anxiety 

Depending on the type of pill and its ingredients, hormonal contraceptives can cause or worsen depression or anxiety. This seems to occur more often in those with a personal history of mood disorders or a family history of mood disorders.

May Lead to Low Libido, Sexual Dysfunction, and Infertility

While women often take hormonal contraceptives to help them enjoy sex risk-free, it doesn’t always turn out that way. The use of these pills may compromise your sexual health. A 2001 study in Human Reproduction found hormonal birth control may decrease your interest in sex.  

A 2014 study reports it may also cause issues down there that decrease pleasure. Plus, if you decide you want to have a baby down the road, it may be more difficult. 

May Cause Blood Clots

Blood clots are a significant risk of certain pills. While blood clots from taking the pill are rare, they’re a big deal because they can be fatal. Yaz and Yasmin in particular have been linked to blood clots. According to a 2011 warning by Health Canada, a woman using Yaz has a 1-½ to 3 times increased risk of blood clots compared to other birth control pills.

May Contribute to Cardiovascular Disease

Women who use low-dose oral contraceptives have double the risk of a fatal heart attack compared to those who don’t. A 1990 review found ladies who use oral contraceptives and smoke have 12 times the risk of fatal heart attacks. Their rate of fatal brain hemorrhages is three times higher.

The British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology conducted a clinical trial of women with a history of migraines.  They found that those who take combined oral contraceptives have 2-4 times the risk of stroke compared to those who don’t take the pill.

May Lead to Blood Sugar Issues

A 2003 journal article found oral contraceptives may aggravate insulin resistance. This is because they decrease insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. As a result, these medications may increase your long-term risk of diabetes and heart disease.

May Increase Your Risk of Cancer 

A study by the World Health Organization tied contraceptive use to cervical cancer. Women who have HPV and have taken the pill for five to nine years have a higher cervical cancer risk. They’re nearly three times more likely than non-pill users to develop cervical cancer.

HPV affects a third of all women in their twenties. And women with HPV who have taken the pill for more than ten years are four times more likely than non-users to develop the disease.

Scandinavian researchers looked at women who use the pill after age 45. They found this age group has a 144% greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who have never used the pill. That’s 144 percent! 

With all these potential problems, are hormonal contraceptives worth it? Is it worth risking cancer to regulate your cycles and improve the look of your skin? Thankfully there are much better options!

Taking The Pill For Balanced Skin and Hormones?

Many women use hormonal contraceptives to help “balance hormones,” or “regulate their cycle.” They may even use them just to prevent acne. The problem is that this treats the symptoms but doesn’t address the root cause. The body naturally moves toward balance, so if hormones are out of whack, it’s not from a contraceptive deficiency. It’s that the body isn’t producing optimal levels of natural hormones.

Treating some symptoms of hormonal imbalance with these medications fails to fix the root of the problem. It can also lead to more significant health issues in the future. The underlying imbalance can still cause other problems in the body.

I used to have horrible acne problems! Clean eating and the oil cleansing method really helped clear up my skin. If hormone balance is the goal, check out this article to learn many ways to balance hormones naturally. 

Supplements For Hormone Balance

I’ve also found some supplements that help a lot. 

  • Maca – This hormone-balancing root has a long history of use in Peru. It can help with fertility, reduction in PMS, and better skin and hair. It can also boost male fertility. Maca is a good source of minerals and essential fatty acids so I like using it in smoothies or coffee. You shouldn’t take it during pregnancy though. 
  • Magnesium – This mineral is vital for hundreds of functions within the human body. Most of us are deficient, but there are several different ways to get magnesium. I like this magnesium powder, especially for staying regular. Ionic liquid magnesium or magnesium oil are both really good.
  • Vitamin D – A pre-hormone that supports hormone function. It’s best to get it from the sun if possible, or you can take a D3 supplement. Ideally, get your serum Vitamin D levels checked to track your levels.
  • Gelatin or Collagen – A great source of minerals and necessary amino acids. These powders support hormone production and digestive health in various ways. Gelatin powder can actually “gel.” It works well in recipes like homemade jello and probiotic marshmallows. Collagen powder doesn’t gel but easily stirs into soups, smoothies, coffee, tea, or any other food.
  • Natural Progesterone Cream – Menstrual troubles are often due to hormone imbalances, like low progesterone. Progesterone cream is especially helpful for those with short cycles. It can also help if you have a short second phase of your cycle (ovulation through the start of menses). If you do use progesterone cream, do your research. Opt for soy-free and only use it during ovulation through menses. Check with a doctor or healthcare provider before using any hormone supplement.

Which Birth Control Methods I Don’t Recommend

There are some non-hormonal birth control methods I don’t recommend. This is due to their potential toxicity, effect on the body, or potential for miscarriage. 

Birth Control Sponge

The contraceptive sponge is non-hormonal but it has chemicals. It’s made of polyurethane — a squishy plastic. Then it’s doused with a chemical called Nonoxynol-9. This chemical can irritate your vagina, increasing your risk of infection. Nonoxynol-9 is considered safe for use in personal care products in the United States. But for some reason, the European Union has banned them… 

Copper IUD

Gynecologists often recommend copper IUDs as a natural type of birth control. While they’re technically non-hormonal, copper has a major effect on hormones. Copper, when it gets out of balance with zinc, can cause all kinds of health problems. Some of these include estrogen dominance, PCOS, and breast cancer.

Tubal Ligation or Vasectomy 

Tubal ligation and vasectomies are both forms of sterilization. They’re 99% effective but can come with risks.

Women often refer to tubal ligations as “getting your tubes tied.” Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that blocks or removes a part of your fallopian tubes. It prevents eggs from your ovaries from meeting up with sperm in the fallopian tubes. That’s where they would otherwise be fertilized and implant themselves in the uterus.

A vasectomy is also a surgical procedure of blocking or removing tubes. In this case, the small tubes in a man’s scrotum are blocked or removed. The result is sperm cannot leave the body and cause a pregnancy.

Vasectomies can increase the risk of prostate cancer and autoimmune disease. And women with tubal ligations have a higher chance of dangerous ectopic pregnancies.

Any Form of Emergency Contraception

Copper IUDs are sometimes used as emergency contraception. Emergency contraception, whether it’s a Plan B pill or a copper IUD has abortion-inducing properties. While it is a non-hormonal birth control option, I don’t recommend copper IUDs as emergency birth control.

Why I Don’t Recommend Herbs For Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Some herbs can work as contraceptives, but I will not list them or recommend them for several reasons:

  • Many have abortifacient properties that can lead to early miscarriage.
  • Most also impact the body in the same way that hormonal contraceptives do. So, they can cause similar problems for the mother as well. Herbs are effective and potent, and should be used with care. It’s important to avoid certain herbs for these reasons.
  • None of the “contraceptive” herbs are 100% effective. They have side effects, and many can cause birth defects if conception does occur.

Natural Ways to Prevent or Delay Pregnancy 

Artificial hormones aren’t something I want to take. But what if balancing hormones isn’t the reason for taking hormonal contraceptives? Maybe you truly need to delay or prevent pregnancy. In that case, there are better birth control options.

The following methods of contraception are much better for your body.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control: Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Natural Family Planning (NFP) or Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM) are natural methods of pregnancy prevention. But they can also help you get pregnant. They do this by focusing on natural hormonal cues.

These methods carry no side effects and help women get to know their bodies better. Some women discover problems (endometriosis, anovulation, etc.) from practicing these methods. A side benefit is that they help women be more in touch with their natural hormonal cues. 

While these methods get a bad rap, they have come a long way from the Rhythm Methods of the past. Many are now as effective as hormonal methods (and more effective than barrier methods) when used consistently. It’s non-hormonal birth control that can either delay or achieve pregnancy. So if you decide to get pregnant, you don’t have to worry about infertility, birth defects, or delayed fertility after discontinuing.

The basic concept is to use cues to predict ovulation and avoid sex when you’re fertile. These are things like basal body temperature (using a basal or BBT thermometer), mucus production, and cervical position. You can also use an ovulation calculator to find the fertile window in your menstrual cycle.

There are classes teaching how to practice these methods across the country. But for those who can’t find a class, there are websites like Fertility Friend. This free website allows users to chart their symptoms and pinpoint ovulation. There are even apps and mobile features for easy tracking.

High Tech NFP 

After one of my pregnancies, I decided to go high-tech. I used a computer to do the NFP tracking and calculation for me. Thanks to emerging technology, there are several excellent options available now (I might use all listed):

  • The Kegg fertility monitor relies on electrolyte level changes in cervical mucus so it’s more accurate than basal body thermometers alone. You can use their free app to look at your daily readings, trends, and fertility predictions. It only connects with the app via Bluetooth once it’s outside of your body, so there’s no EMF exposure.
  • You can do NFP without a computer. All you need is a simple Basal Thermometer. Then you follow the method manually.
  • Methods like ClearBlue monitors measure Luteinizing Hormones and estrogen to pinpoint ovulation. Though cheaper upfront, these require buying more ovulation strips, which you use daily. So, they can be more expensive in the long run.
  • Fertile Focus – This is a simple and inexpensive fertility detector. The basic idea is that this microscope shows changes in saliva before ovulation. By examining saliva each day, you can predict when ovulation occurs.

Check out my complete reviews of these different fertility monitors here.

Good Old Fashioned Condoms 

Male condoms are still the most popular form of non-hormonal birth control around the world. People like condoms because they’re both simple and effective and available over the counter. But they need a proper fit. To ensure a good fit, have your partner go to myONE Perfect Fit to find one that fits well. They have ten lengths, nine sizes, and 60 total options.

While condoms are a popular option based on medical information, they may not be a good option based on your faith or religious beliefs. 

Caya Diaphragm for Non-Hormonal Birth Control

Using a diaphragm is another type of hormone-free birth control to look into. It’s a reusable cup that fits inside the vagina and over the cervix. The idea is to create a barrier between the uterus and sperm.

Most diaphragms are latex, which some people have allergies to. The Caya Contoured Diaphragm is silicone. Because it’s one-size-fits-all, it doesn’t need to be fitted by your doctor. You can buy it directly online or get a prescription from your pharmacist. It’s eco-friendly and gives you the option of occasional protection. It just requires a water-based spermicide. There are natural versions like lemon juice and others.

Be aware that because diaphragms can put pressure on your urethra, they are linked to urinary tract infections (UTIs). 

Cervical Cap

A cervical cap is similar to a diaphragm in that it fits inside the vagina and over the cervix. The one available in the United States is called FemCap® and is made of silicon. For the best performance, it should be combined with a spermicide of some kind. Again, you can use a more natural version of this non-hormonal birth control.

Withdrawal or “Pull-Out” Option

If you prefer unprotected sex, you can have your man pull out his penis before ejaculation. You have to make sure to do it correctly every time. That is likely why it has a 22% failure rate. This form of non-hormonal birth control is popular but risky. You can make it more effective by combining it with a male condom.

What do you think? Ever used natural methods for balancing hormones or delaying pregnancy? Have other suggestions? Share below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


233 responses to “Natural Alternatives to Hormonal Contraceptives”

  1. Jane Romano Avatar
    Jane Romano

    I love your site! I’m a conservative hippie Catholic Hippie Mama to 4…soon to be 5 ! I am about 12 weeks pregnant… We practice NFP and I charted while using the Lady Comp… We followed all the rules and this little bundle of joy was a major surprise. The Lady Comp miscalculated my day of ovulation by 4 days (according to my chart based on my early thermal shift). In addition to my early ovulation, my husband’s sperm had to live for at least 6 days… It’s no wonder… I was pumping him full of gelatin, liver and FCLO before he left for deployment… I guess we have no hope for a boy with this late conception…So far we’re blessed with 1 boy and three girls… Thoughts??

  2. Chantel Lawliss Barber Avatar
    Chantel Lawliss Barber

    I went off the pill a few years ago and have used an ap on my Android phone called MyDays to track my cycle.ever since. It has worked thus far! 🙂

  3. Alissa Avatar

    I used the LadyComp for 3 years before we stopped to have our son and LOVE it! It is expensive, but I feel like the cost is more than made up for over time, considering what you would spend on birth control pills (not to mention medical bills from the higher risk of cancer, which was a big factor for us). I didn’t know that it still worked while breastfeeding though so thanks for that info! I’ll be pulling it out again soon!

  4. Noelle Avatar

    Thank you so much for this wonderful and informative post Katie! I completely agree that most women don’t know the many risks of hormonal contraceptives and that there is a natural alternative. For those women who aren’t sure, my husband and I have been using NFP successfully for the last 9 months of our marriage to postpone pregnancy, so I can vouch for its effectiveness. I use a free app on my phone called “Ovuview” where you input your symptoms (basal body temp & mucous observations are used, called the sympto-thermal method) and these predict what fertility phase you’re in, when you ovulate, and your next menstrual cycle using various methods. It’s really pretty neat and I’ve found it to be extremely accurate and super convenient since I travel a lot – no need to carry a paper chart around! We also supplement that with the clearblue fertility monitor, which as Wellness Mama mentioned can be expensive but it helps me know with a higher degree of certainty when I’ve ovulated. The fertility monitor is not meant to be used to prevent pregnancy, but using the Marquette Model of NFP it CAN be used (see and this has been great for us. Just wanted to throw out some other options! There are so many great resources out there and I learned a lot from this post and all the comments about even more options available so thank you again for sharing all this great information!

  5. jennie Avatar

    Congrats to y’all on the birth of your baby. 🙂 I, too, recently gave birth to our fifth baby. I read the website of ovacue and it says not to use it during the postpartum period as there is no ovulating, however you say you will be using it. Will you advise me as I would like to easily anticipate the return of my fertility. Thanks so much for your blog and all the information.

  6. kiyah Avatar

    I was using birth control in college but it made me nauseous but condoms worked fine and my husband and I use the pull out method now since we don’t have to be so cautious

  7. natalie Avatar

    My husband & I have used the withdrawl method effectively for 8 years. We have had two planned pregnancies. I also pay attention to my own body & know when I’m ovulating (more or less 🙂

  8. Sarah Avatar

    Thank you Katie for writing such a wonderful, informative post! And not being afraid to offend people with such a controversial topic. Most women need to be better informed about the harmful effects of contraceptives, not to mention the moral implications. Thank you for being brave enough to speak the truth in your posts!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      One other thing – I was on the pill for 2 years in high school and 1 1/2 years in college to treat my PCOS. It only helped my problem while I was on it. Once I came off the medicine, my symptoms all eventually came back, sometimes even worse than before. Right before I got off the pill forever, I realize I did not feel like myself anymore – I was constantly moody and felt incredibly out of control. I decided then I needed to stop taking the pill. Since then I relied on alternative methods of treating my menstrual problems like acupuncture, herbs and eventually changing the way I ate. I never ate the SAD, but I grew up eating a lot of pasta. I discovered real food about 2 years ago and ever since then, my cycles have continued to improve and are almost normal, without symptoms! I am thankful to God for directing me towards a healthy lifestyle. ~Sarah

  9. Meghan Mohler Avatar
    Meghan Mohler

    I am and avid reader and this is my first comment. I have PCOS and my cycles were 40 to 50 days long. I started taking magnesium and maca and now my cycles are exactly 31 days. I refuse to take Bcp, against the advice of my doctor. I switched to the diaphragm and LOVE it. No hormones!

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Just a side note that doesn’t have anything to do with this post, but thank you for sharing what your cycle length was and how you fixed it. I’ve been freaking out because my cycle as of now is 40+ days and counting. I’ve definitely been putting the blame on being 18 and still having things figuring themselves out to put my mind to ease, but it is a very short term ease. Of course that could be part of it, but it’d be nice to get it somewhat regular.

  10. Kristen Avatar

    Thank you for this article. As a midwife and herbalist (and a Christian), I have shared the health risks (and possible abortifacient risks) of hormonal contraceptives with many women who have sought my counsel. I have shared this article on my business page, Whole Family Herbals!

  11. Audrey 'Huss' Charba Avatar
    Audrey ‘Huss’ Charba

    Thanks for the post! I’d like to add candida overgrowth to the list of harmful side effects of hormonal BC (here’s a well documented article and also offer another effective NFP method: Ecological Breastfeeding (not to be confused with what is considered normal nursing in the US) great book on the subject:
    The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding: The Frequency Factor (sorry for the big font! silly cut and paste…)

    1. ALyssa Avatar

      Yes!! Doctors will not admit that the pill causes yeast infections, but I have suffered through as many as two a month for two years. Finally told a DR I have this problem and he tests me for.. are you ready… HIV!!! Are You KIDDING?! Total BS. Went off the pill for a year and had no infection for a year… went back on for 1 month and got an infection right away… Yeah.

    2. maree Avatar

      Ecological Breastfeeding can be an excellent choice for many women, I’d definitely recommend the book, it isn’t expensive. I used this after our last child, it has worked for 13 months for us. Although I have started cycling now, but I got very sick for 10 days (tummy bug) and ran my milk supply down to basically nothing, otherwise it probably would have worked for longer. We will do a little bit of NFP (looking into LadyComp) as we would prefer a 2 year gap this time (last time without ecological breastfeeding or NFP the gap was 14 months between children). So a little more break would be nice 🙂

  12. Jess Avatar

    Great post! I agree with all the points you make. We have used NFP for 3 years and it has been a great. I think there needs to be more awareness of hormonal contraceptives. Thanks for bringing this to light.

  13. Colleen Flynn Free Avatar
    Colleen Flynn Free

    have been using NFP for 20 years and love it. However, I would never recommend the temp only method, simply because I have seen from personal experience that lots of things can affect temps, and alone, they have not been a totally reliable indicator for me. They have been great to confirm mucous observations. I strongly recommend going to an NFP practitioner to be trained in the method (we used the Napro-Technology method), because it can be tricky, especially when breastfeeding, and especially when you have irregular cycles or constant mucous.

  14. Catherine Peisher Knight Avatar
    Catherine Peisher Knight

    I used the Lily app for iphone to help me concieve. I can use it to help prevent the next one while I am still breastfeeding. I know breastfeeding can delay fertility, but I don’t want to take the chance.

  15. Elliot Love Avatar
    Elliot Love

    No discussion of condoms (male and/or female condoms) or other barrier methods?

    Pulling out, where the male pulls out before he ejaculates, is also an excellent method of birth control. It has to be practiced consistently and reliably, of course, so it’s best for guys who are familiar with their body’s reactions and signals so they recognize when they need to pull out.

    1. Colleen Flynn Free Avatar
      Colleen Flynn Free

      Unfortunately, pulling out is not effective, because even the pre-ejaculatory fluid contains plenty of sperm to get the job done. And if you happen to be a Catholic who follows the Church teachings, it’s not a morally licit option, either, and neither are barrier methods.

      1. Rob Avatar

        Pre-ejaculatory fluid comes from the cowper’s gland. Not the testicles where sperm comes from. There is no way in that regard that pre-ejaculatory fluid could have sperm or impregnate your partner.

        Pre-ejaculatory fluid can have sperm in it IF the man ejaculated before engaging in intercourse and didn’t flush out the possible leftover sperm with urination. This is where misconception arises about pre-cum causing pregnancy or not.

    2. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I was only talking about methods I’ve personally tried. As a Catholic, neither of those methods is morally permissible for me so I have no experience with them and can’t personally encourage them 🙂

      1. Rob Crampton Avatar
        Rob Crampton

        I’m curious. Why are condoms not morally permissable? At least with being a Catholic in your mind?

        1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

          There are moral reasons I personally don’t use them (though those would need a post of their own) but condoms have a 15% failure rate… much higher than the methods listed above 🙂

          1. Clarissa Avatar

            The 15% fail rate comes from user error. If used correctly, their fail rate is 2%. So the fail rate for condom use is 12-15% with typical use but with perfect use, it’s 2-3%. I’m a sex educator and I just had to point that out. 😉 They’re a really great option for those looking to prevent sexually transmitted infections as well as pregnancy but they need to be stored and used correctly every time.

          2. Clarissa Avatar

            Rob, the Catholic faith believes that it is intrinsically wrong to use contraception to prevent new human beings from coming into the world. This includes sterilization, condoms and other barrier methods, spermicides, coitus interruptus (withdrawal method), the Pill, and all other such methods. Essentially, the Catholic church believes that contraception violates the design God built into the human race, often referred to as “natural law” and the natural law purpose of sex is procreation. Sexual pleasure and strengthening intimacy and marriage bonds are additional blessings from God. It’s pretty easy to educate yourself about other faiths via friends, the Church, or the Internet.
            Katie, totally. Condoms are a personal choice and can be a good option for people who are having sex outside of a monogamous and/or STI-free relationship. I was just correcting the numbers; trying to spread condom positivity for others. 🙂

          3. Maria C Avatar

            Hi Katie! I been reading your blog for a while and love your natural and non toxic aproach to things. However, I can’t stop myself from sharing my opinion on this topic: I understand that your religion keeps you from using any kind of birth control, but please! Think of this just a bit: one of the biggest problems that we’re facing as a species is overpopulation, and eventually this Will trigger some major problems that Will compromise the enviroment ass well as our life quality. Please think beyond you’re beliefs just for a minute. You always talk about making a better World for all of us, but having children non-stop Will certanly have the opossite effect. I know is your life and your choises, all I say is that if you make changes in your life for the sale of caring for our planet and improving the World we live in, overpopulation is a big subjetc to consider. If every one would think the way Catholics do, just imagine the consecuences population-wise. I sorry if I sound rude, its not my intention, I’m just someone who worries a lot about the future, our natural resortes, and our life quality and tough I absolutly love (mostrar) of your ideals and your blog in general, I need to get this off my chest. Hope I didn’t offended you or any one too much.

          4. Wellness Mama Avatar

            I understand where you are coming from and I’m certainly not offended, but you make two assertions that I don’t agree with factually. For one, my religion is one of the reasons I avoid hormonal contraceptives, but this doesn’t mean I (or any other catholic) has to have a lot of children, only that we use non-hormonal methods of avoiding pregnancy. Secondly, I”d make the assertion that hormonal contraceptives are a tremendous part of the problems we and are children will face. There are measurable levels of these hormones in the water supply that can’t be filtered. Between these and estrogenic plastic compounds, we all are at higher risk to face hormone problems and this will only get worse. Long way of saying, hormonal contraceptives are harmful for women and the environment and I say that from a health perspective as much (or more so) as from a moral one.

      2. Kris Avatar

        A thought provoking quote from Venerable Fulton J. Sheen (paraphrasing): Those who believe in birth control, believe neither in birth nor in control. Harsh? Offensive? Probably some would say yes. True? Well the very nature of birth control is to not be saddled with birthing a child, yet not relying on self control to limit pregnancy. Granted some pregnancies occur due to abuse (rape, incest, etc.); but we can’t deny generally speaking, the population of consenting adults has the attitude of “having our cake and eating it too” as it pertains to sex.

        The abortion rate in some countries is so high that statistics show that one woman, on average, has had more abortions than children I have carried to term and birthed. But something is wrong with my having children to many onlookers. I find it curious amongst the natural health crowd that many consider artificial birth control and even natural methods of BC as ok. If we really want all natural, women’s bodies were naturally made to reproduce. Hindering that artificially, isn’t natural. Hindering it naturally would require self control and abstinence.

        I began following this blog because of natural wellness especially in the home (cooking, baking, eating utensils, body products, etc.) Didn’t realize you (Katie) were Catholic. This post, I thought was pretty informative from your usual natural standpoint. I think, however, there are a plethora of people for whom the natural negative effects of BC are not enough to avoid all of them. On a moral and religious note, contraception use amongst Catholics is pretty high. And NFP, though promoted and suggested by the Catholic Church is still heavily abused, as its use was intended for GRAVE reasons, which are determined by a sound confessor, of which in my opinion is hard to find. This was something I did not realize nor know 2-3 children into my marriage. My reasons for use were illegitimate or not grave at the time. It’s my hope other Catholics are informed of that when being taught Creighton or any other NFP method.

        Thank you for taking this subject on as objectively as you can. Not a coincidence in my opinion that violating natural law often leads to big health risks and consequences.

        Overpopulation was also mentioned. Here’s a video debunking that. As fertility rates plunge in the world, some countries are having to provide incentives for their citizens to procreate.

        I’m sorry and saddened that a big portion of the world seems to have a tendency to demonize having children, especially more than 3, and view fertility as a disease.

    3. Virginia Miner Avatar
      Virginia Miner

      If you are using NFP, you can know when you need to use barriers etc. and when there is no physical possibility of pregnancy.

    4. Chris Avatar

      We’ve done this (po) a lot over the past 9 years and have never had a problem or unexpected preg. Occasionally we use condoms and once again never had a problem. Although we’d prefer neither.

      1. Queenie Avatar

        This really interests me. I guess I’m a little nervous to not use any type of contraception and to only rely on when I “think” I’m not ovulating. Especially because I’ve heard so many stories about women getting pregnant when they didn’t think they were ovulating. I’m curious, when you say you occasionally use condoms, is that often or more like once a month? Because if it’s more often then not, couldn’t it just be the condom preventing you from pregnancy and not really the NFP? I’m disputing anything, I’m just genuinely interested in the validity of NFP…is it worth the risk?

    5. Vanessa Avatar

      Wow, your my hero! Most men just put all of the responsibility on the woman and they can be insensitive at that!
      Thanks for standing up for the real men out there!

  16. Tapes Avatar

    Props to you, Wellness Mama, for having the courage to tackle such a controversial topic! I have been using the “low-dose” hormonal IUD (Mirena) for about 8 months now, and it’s horrible! I have been bleeding non-stop and my gynecologist says “there’s no way to know” when/if it will stop! They wanted to put me on strong antibiotics to see if that would help, but I cannot (due to breastfeeding) and will not take them for no reason! I am considering the copper IUD, as I just don’t think I or my husband could do ovulation prediction. The risk of becoming pregnant again isn’t one we are willing to take, and we certainly can’t afford any sort of devices or classes that might help us with natural birth control methods. 🙁

    1. Elizabeth Doucette Avatar
      Elizabeth Doucette

      In my experience it is not very expensive to find an NFP class. In fact, my husband and I took ours for free through our church before we got married. Ask at the local churches (especially Catholic) and you may be able to find a class for far less than it costs to be on birth control. 🙂

    2. Cy Avatar

      I’d second Elizabeth’s comment. I learned Creighton/NaPro for about $40 (and supposedly would need to continually buy stickers – but I started using an app instead).

    3. Emma White Avatar
      Emma White

      With the coil it can take up to a year for the bleeding to stop, it is quite common for woman to bleed heavily for up to a year! Be patient with it, and after a year if your symptoms persist definitely try the copper coil, as it doesn’t release hormones. Hope this was some help 🙂

      1. Leslie Avatar

        I have the copper iud it’s a non hormonal bc and I love it and have had no issues I did nfp for 2 years after my son was born but my hubby and I libido came back full force thos past 8 months and I just had a feeling I needed alittle more protection I’m a college student and don’t want anymore children until I graduate I’m 28 now and I’m fine with my one sweet baby boy

        1. Loulou Avatar

          Just wanted to share my copper IUD experience. I opted for a non hormonal method because I am so sensitive to the pill that I developped Dermographism, along with other skin issues. Unfortunatly, the copper IUD experience was horrible. Not the insertion (that was not a big deal *note I have given birth vaginally a few months before*) but the months following the insertion. It basically made my body think it was pregnant again! No periods, lots of nausea and cramps for FIVE months! Non-stop! I had multiple tests done to find out if I was really pregnant during these five months, but every time the results were the same: Not pregnant. I decided to remove it because I could not take it anymore. I did not like tricking my body like this.

    4. Chris Avatar

      Been there had the same thing bled for 6 months then it fell out, had to spend a lot of $ making sure it didn’t shift UP in my body with xrays and ultrasounds and now my cycle is extremely heavy where it was really light. I can’t afford anything else and really with all the side effects of everything I’m not doing another one.

  17. Fanny Avatar

    Thank you for that article regarding birth control pills. I was previously told that these pills could cause a miscarriage/abortion. I wasn’t sure if this was true but felt the responsibility to stop taking the pills. Your article did confirm that the embryo could be aborted because of the pill. Knowing this fact, would make me responsible for the murder of my baby. I don’t think most women know this fact.

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I agree, I don’t think it is widely talked about or explained, and I feel the same way personally.

      1. Stephanie Avatar

        The moment I learned that birth control pills can cause abortion I became accountable. If I ignored what I had learned and used birth control anyways than I was no better than the woman who aborts her baby in the 9th month of pregnancy. The thought of being responsible for my own baby’s death was enough to strengthen me in saying no to the pill. But not many people understand, even amongst pro life supporters. It does surprise me.

        1. Hana Avatar

          Birth control pills DO NOT cause abortion. They prevent ovulation.

          1. Wellness Mama Avatar

            The pill (and many other types of contraception) does not prevent ovulation, but instead keeps the fetus from implanting after conception has already occurred, so yes, it can actually cause an abortion. (Ever known anyone who has *accidentally* gotten pregnant while on birth control? This is how that happens, the pill did not actually stop the implantation from occurring.)

    2. Mack Avatar

      About 30% to 40% of fertilized eggs naturally fail to implant, even without artificial assistance. If you are responsible for “murder” by taking a pill, or an herb, are you also responsible for “murder” if you are stressed out or have been eating too much chocolate, or whatever it was that kept all those other eggs from implanting? If it hasn’t implanted, pregnancy has not been established, and therefore there can be no abortion, spontaneous (miscarriage) or otherwise. In fact, if you miss a period, come up positive, and take a Plan B, nothing will happen. You might feel ill, but your pregnancy will remain intact. Since Plan B is basically an overdose of birth control pills, and it won’t end a pregnancy, it is false to say that birth control pills are abortifacients. They prevent pregnancy, they don’t end it. This article would have been of more use if it had stuck to health issues and alternatives, and omitted the moralizing about “ending a life” when many people have differing beliefs about when life begins in the first place.

      1. Wellness Mama Avatar
        Wellness Mama

        I have to disagree… science has shown that a newly conceived embryo can fail to implant due to the effects of the contraceptives. In fact, there are studies backing that up in my sources. I understand that people have different opinions on “when life begins” but as this is my blog and I know that many of my readers share mine, I felt it important to include.

        1. Mack Avatar

          I’m not disputing that zygotes can fail to implant due to contraceptive pills – that is how many of them are supposed to work, others work primarily by suppressing ovulation. I was taking exception to the terminology used by Farm to Family, characterizing a failure to implant as a “miscarriage/abortion”. I thought it was important to point out the high percentage of fertilized eggs that never implant without any intervention whatsoever anyway. Stress or any number of other things (or complete happenstance) can likewise make the uterine environment inhospitable to implantation, and these are not called “murder”. If contraceptive pills were abortifacients, Plan B would end a pregnancy, but it is ineffective for that purpose. If one were calling RU-486 an abortifacient, one would be correct, but Plan B/contraceptive pills are not the same thing.

          1. Cy Avatar

            If we dump chemicals into the water we will potentially kill some cute baby sea turtles. However, since many cute baby sea turtles die before adulthood anyway it’s OK for us to dump the chemicals. Does this argument work? Discuss.

          2. Noelle Avatar

            The difference is that a newly conceived embryo that fails to implant due to happenstance or some other unknown cause to the mother is a miscarriage; a newly conceived embryo that is unable to implant because the mother took a drug that caused her endometrium (uterine lining that is meant to nurture the new embryo) to shed itself is abortion. Scientists have clearly shown that life begins at conception (not implantation), so the argument that pregnancy begins at implantation is not valid in defense of hormonal contraceptives that have the purpose of destroying a newly conceived life. One is intentional, the other is not.

          3. Denise Ward Avatar
            Denise Ward

            Why do women let scientists, or anyone else, decide when life begins? If something is connected to a person’s blood supply, that becomes a part of his/her body. Life begins at first breath. That is the only sane way to define life. Anything else becomes convoluted. It’s not so cut and dried, as we also don’t have a clear definition of when life ends.

          4. Larissa Avatar

            I think everyone is missing the point here. One uses birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Whether that be through prevention of fertilization, travel, or implantation, the end result is the same: no pregnancy.
            A cell or two dying is not “murder” any more than scratching your arm is murder. Hundreds of cells die everyday as part of life. Your uterus is no different.

          5. Noelle Avatar

            You need to confront reality if you think life doesn’t begin until birth! Scientists don’t decide when life begins, they discovered it. That life begins at conception is a fact, not opinion. Also, the unborn baby’s blood supply never touches the mother’s – this is why you may have a different blood type than your mother’s. Furthermore, the unborn child also has it’s own unique set of DNA that are distinct from the mother’s. Yes, the unborn child is inside the mother and receives sustenance from her, but he or she is still a unique person capable of surviving outside the womb after 24 weeks. Based on your logic, a 24 week old fetus that was born prematurely would have his life begin 16 weeks earlier than most infants, while a full term baby’s life wouldn’t begin until he was born at 40 weeks. The only difference is geography.

  18. Katharine McClellan Avatar
    Katharine McClellan

    I have been considering going off bc for about three months now, at least trying to. I have tried quiting in the past, and orginally started due to intolerable cramping and a very heavy period, I have always gone back because I cannot function during that week. Do you have suggestions on how to herbally treat the side effects?

    1. Sarah Avatar

      Hey Katharine – I used to have the same symptoms. The main changes I made that helped me overcome these symptoms was adding lots of saturated fat and meats back into my diet and eating a lot of real food! I have also been taking maca powder for the past couple of months and it has almost eliminated my cramping and all the other symptoms I generally suffer from! I hope this helps.

    2. Noelle Avatar

      Katharine, I’d recommend reading the book, “Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition” which can help pinpoint your cycle irregularities and recommend dietary changes/nutritional supplements to help alleviate them. The book is meant for women who use NFP and want to treat menstrual issues naturally so I’d definitely recommend it for you!

      1. Hana Avatar

        Thanks for the recommendation as well, would love to read this!
        Been doing NFP for the past two years and love it. It has become second nature, but would love to have more bearable menstrual cycles.

    3. Chantel Lawliss Barber Avatar
      Chantel Lawliss Barber

      I still have a pretty heavy period but I spray the magnesium oil on my abdomen and drink tea with red raspberry leaf and that seemed to help alleviate the cramps some.

    4. Lauren Scalf Avatar
      Lauren Scalf

      I agree with maca as mentioned previously. I went on bc for the same reason and taking maca and cod liver oil helped sooooo much. It was even better than the bc. Additionally, it also helped with my blue moods as well. I notice more and more that I wake up with a smile on my face lol. I have only been taking it for two months also!

  19. Sarah Avatar

    Thanks for this honest and informative post. Way too many women these days are given misinformation about contraceptives or pressured into them as if they’re just part of womanhood. I know from personal experience the immence pressure women are placed under to use contraception…especially post partum! The nurses were flabbergasted that I said we wouldn’t be using any!

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar
      Wellness Mama

      I understand about the nurses…. had the same experience 🙂

      1. sue rogers Avatar
        sue rogers

        It may be two years too late to comment, but as a nurse of a good many decades, one that has not only done postpartum care, family care, and now public health, I find your attitude towards nurses rather condescending in and of itself. Many of us are quite well educated, bachelors, masters, etc. We have a strong science background – at least a year of chemistry, anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, etc. Like any profession, we are human, but I do suggest a bit of introspection at your own narrow, dismissive attitude. While this “informative article” contains a list of sources, none are properly cited, some are questionable “science” so one cannot tell where the alleged facts came from and how they were applied to the subject at hand. Further, “balancing hormones” doesn’t mean anything. What particular endocrine disruption are you referring to? We have a lot more hormones than the average person is even aware of. If that isn’t identified, you haven’t gotten to the root of the problem, and thus have no idea what you’re treating in the first place.

        1. Wellness Mama Avatar

          Hi Sue, I’m curious what part of this post you found condescending toward nurses as this certainly was not my intention and after re-reading this post I can’t figure out what part you take offense at. My brother in law is a nurse as are several of my close friends and I have great respect for nurses. Certainly, I have had less than ideal experiences with nurses (often in labor) and with my mother in law (who was a nurse 40 years ago) but in general I respect the very hard work that nurses do. While my sources are not cited as they would be in a research paper, I’ve chosen to list them this way to make them easier to access for my readers and I list 17 additional sources at the bottom. Again, I am sorry if you were in some way offended by this post, though I truly struggle to see what part you found condescending toward nurses.

          1. sue rogers Avatar
            sue rogers

            It is your response to Sarah “I understand about the nurses…had the same experience (smiley face)” Rather than responding supportively as you allege to be regarding nurses, such as “it’s their job to offer contraception following birth, or at least start the conversation.” As nurses, we have no idea what a person is thinking until we ask. Many women aren’t aware of all the contraceptive options. Sometimes they are undecided and have questions. Sometimes women are abused and kept pregnant as a means of control (yes it happens) and we have no way to know which women those might be, therefore contraception may be welcomed. Abuse defies socioeconomic status, appearance, etc. Also, as nurses, at times we have less than ideal experiences with our patients. Unrealistic expectations, rude, demanding, hostile, yet really we just want the most positive outcome for all involved. As for references, typically the facts are connected to the specific reference so one doesn’t have to sort through them to find where it came from. If they are not connected, it doesn’t make it easier to locate the source, and reduces credibility. It’s done the way it is for a reason. I noticed some of your other commenters expressed scepticism regarding some of the stats. They do seem a bit off, but there’s no easy way to find out which source they came from.

          2. Wellness Mama Avatar

            Hi Sue, I actually responded to this comment yesterday and then we had a database issue and had to revert to a backup so both comments got removed. It wasn’t in prolonged moderation and I wasn’t trying to censor it. I understand that nurses are often required to offer contraception as part of their job but I have just had more than one encounter where it went much beyond offering. When I refused contraceptives in the hospital, one nurse asked if I was getting my tubes tied or if my husband was “getting snipped.” When I said no, she asked with blatant disdain “you actually want more children?” There is a difference between offering contraception and making judgements about my choice to have more children (it is my choice after all). This was with my third child. It sounds like you are kind and respectful of women and we need more nurses like you, but just as not all patients are kind, all nurses are not either. If it is a nurses job to offer, she should also be respectful when a patient refuses and I’ve not seen any medical reason for comments like “you actually want more children?” as this would not help her gauge any medical issue I may have or if I was being abused, etc and if anything makes a patient unwilling to talk to the nurse. As for citations, I understand your point and they actually were linked to specific parts of the article and I think a plugin change removed those notes. I’m planning to write much more on this topic soon anyway and will work on re-adding those.

          3. sue r rogers Avatar
            sue r rogers

            I see you didn’t post my response to yours, or it is in prolonged moderation? Holding up to even the most minimal scrutiny is hard thing, but very important when dispensing health advice.

          4. Wellness Mama Avatar

            I am not dispensing health advice, but I just responded to your previous comment. It wasn’t in prolonged moderation but we had a database issue yesterday and had to revert to a backup. I”d actually already answered your other comment and have just re-answered it. I’m just a mom who runs this blog in my “free” time, so I’m not always able to answer comments immediately, especially when a database issue requires that I re-answer them.

        2. Marcie Avatar

          Sue, have you ever heard the saying, “Remove the rafter from your own eye before you try to remove the straw from your brother’s?” The purpose of this blog is to give free ideas to those who choose to read it, on health and wellness. Wellness Mama shares with her readers her own experiences and more! I have learned much from her, and I am also a well educated person. This is not a medical journal nor does it need to be written as such to be helpful. In fact, you’re the one that has been condescending to Katie.You took her own personal experiences and her blog and tried to rip them to shreds. It was very unkind and rude of you to do so. You obviously have underlying issues about yourself if you feel the need to pick on someone as innocent as Katie who uses her free time to help others. If you don’t have kind and non condescending words to share here than I suggest you move on and find another audience for your behavior.

          1. Breonna Avatar

            Marcie, I truly applaud your reply. I am a licensed nurse and I know how some nurses can be…just like I know how some patients can be. Ms. Susie’s replies were borderline bully behavior. Thank you for taking a stand. Also, thank you wellness mama for this site. I appreciate you

    2. Chris Avatar

      Yep, honestly I lie and just say we’re using condoms. Normally I would be totally against that but I really don’t need the lecture.

    3. Amy Avatar

      I’m very grateful for my Ob/midwife clinic. The head OB and his coleagues are devout catholic. They do not ever prescribe bc or do sterilisation procedures. They teach the Creighton model. Although I’m not catholic myself, I have been using NFP for around 12 yrs now. I have 5 children that I wanted. Thankful that the only time I’ve ever been treated by medical profeesionals with condescension was when they hear about my four homebirths.

  20. Angela Avatar

    Thank you for this post! Another great ‘high-tech’ method of NFP is the Creighton Model FertilityCare System and NaProTechnology (Natural Procreative Technology). Education and personal charting, paired with medical diagnosis and treatment for avoiding, achieving, health, monitoring, infertility, etc – in any reproductive category! Check out for more info, local teachers and doctors, and more.

    1. patricia niles Avatar
      patricia niles

      I would like to know a little more about using coconut oil for vaginal dryness, could you tell me more. I am 68 and find sex hurtful because I am so dry.

      1. SImon Avatar

        Try reading Dr John Lee’s books, on hormone balance,
        also, as you get older, you don’t make collagen and elastin as well as you should, your body is 30% collagen, eat more chicken skin, it can make you live 20% longer, google ‘glycine lifespan’ to see why. also take vit C daily, google vit C and collagen strength to see why, and do some HIT exercise if you can, I eat lots of coconut, but I suspect it might be a growth medium for bad bacteria if used as a topical

      2. Jamie Avatar

        Just use it! It’s the best. It’s naturally anti fungal and anti bacterial. I haven’t had a yeast infection since I started using it. You’ll love it, and never go back.

      3. Evalaizia Guzman Avatar
        Evalaizia Guzman

        Grapeseed oil is always recommended as a lube. I tried coconut oil but I feel it obsords too fast. I used grape seed but I think I’m allergic patch test first 🙂

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