Finding the right birth control for your lifestyle and individual needs can feel like an overwhelming task—especially if you want to minimize side effects. In this post we’ll explain the different side effects of various birth control options, and share one option that is side-effect–free.

The Birth Control Horror Stories and Why You May be Reconsidering

You’re not thrilled with the low-dose birth control pill you’re currently on. It’s causing annoying spotting and you are definitely more depressed. Yet a lot of what you’ve read about the side effects of other options really gives you pause. Young women have died from using the birth control pill. Other women have had to have their uterus removed because of blot clots linked to the types of hormones in their birth control pills. And others have experienced extreme mood swings, heavy bleeding, and weight gain arising from the “estrogen storm” that often occurs when Depo-Provera is discontinued. The popular IUD is also not as safe as you might think. Yes, the horror stories of insertion pain, months of heavy bleeding, and uncontrollable moods with the hormonal IUD, are true. 

Do all birth control options have horrible side effects?

So you decide to google “birth control with the least side effects.” But to your dismay, the entries that come up present a dizzying array of information, and no clear way forward. It seems every method has some side effects, and many authors fall back on the safe – but not terribly helpful – advice that each woman is unique and may react differently to the various types of birth control. Or they remind you that the purpose of birth control is to prevent pregnancy – which all the hormonal options do a good job of – the unspoken implication being that, well, side effects are just the price to be paid to achieve this.

What about the vaginal ring?

One option that some authors say has lower rates of side effects than most others is the vaginal ring. Yet even this can cause vaginal irritation and infection, as well as all the symptoms associated with other hormonal types of birth control, even if in fewer women.

And then there are birth control’s troublesome effects on the environment

If you’re passionate about global warming, you may also have read some pretty scary stuff about birth control’s effects on the environment. Consider what happens when the synthetic hormones in birth control wind up in our water. Think about it. What happens after birth control is excreted by women using the pill or other hormonal methods? The synthetic hormones don’t just disappear. There are now reports of “intersex” fish and frogs that can no longer reproduce. There is also the possibility of mammals’ fertility being affected. Talk about carbon footprint!

Is there a birth control option that doesn’t cause so many negative consequences?

There is. It is modern fertility awareness. Modern fertility awareness known as fertility based awareness methods (FABMs) has zero side effects, is 100% safe, AND very effective. In short: it’s a GREAT alternative to hormonal birth control.

Fertility awareness works with a woman’s natural physiology

Fertility awareness–based methods (FABMs) of birth control build on the established facts that:

  1. You can only get pregnant when a viable egg meets up with viable sperm.
  2. The ovaries release an egg (or, rarely, two eggs) just once in each monthly cycle. 
  3. An egg can be successfully fertilized for only 24 hours after it has been released.
  4. Your partner’s sperm can live inside you for at most five days after intercourse.

Fertility awareness is easier than you think: A little effort and self control is all it takes

Simple math makes clear that there quite a few days in each monthly cycle when it is impossible for pregnancy to occur, and when you can enjoy unprotected sex. And if you know when ovulation is going to occur, and then document that it has occurred, you can then determine just when those days are.

Let your body tell you when you’re fertile: Just read the signs

Luckily, a woman’s body provides clear clues that can help her know ovulation is imminent, and also when it has occurred. FABMs use daily monitoring of these “fertility signs,” along with evidence-based algorithms or protocols – to help women reliably interpret these signs and identify the days when they can and cannot get pregnant. And becoming familiar with the awesome way in which your body works can have the unexpected additional benefit of increasing your feeling of femininity throughout your cycle.

Absolutely no harmful chemicals or side effects (ever)!

Since FABMs are based on simply observing what your body naturally does, and involve the ingestion of no chemicals or other substances, nor the insertion of foreign objects, there is no possibility of even minor side effects.

But how well do FABMs work – really?

When looking online for information on birth control methods, you may well have seen the 2-23% pregnancy rate that the CDC reports for FABMs – or you may have heard this figure from your doctor. But it’s important to know that to arrive at their data, the CDC grouped together women using the older, and far less effective, rhythm method together with those using more modern, and far more effective FABMs. In fact, 86% of the women whom this “pregnancy rate” reflects were using the calendar rhythm method. 

Here’s accurate data about the effectiveness of natural FABMs

Reliable current data on the more modern and sophisticated FABMs show that they have effectiveness rates ranging between 83% and 98.4% with typical use. That is just as effective as birth control pills, for which the CDC reports an effectiveness rate of 91%.

So which birth control method has the least side effects – and still works? It’s clearly FABMs.

It’s common sense. With FABMs you are not putting any foreign objects in your body. You are also not putting any synthetic hormones. Therefore, the good news is: you will not experience the horrible side effects that you would with other methods. It’s important to know that your phsyiological makeup is super unique. Every woman’s body and cycle is different. There is no tried and true way of predicting whether or not you will experience the worst of the worst side effects from birth control. However, with FABMs, you will be managing your fertility in a way that is more complimentary to your natural physiological makeup. Your food has to be organic so why not your birth control too?

Additional advantages of modern fertility awareness

In addition to the natural ease and high effectiveness rate of FABMs, you can also enjoy these noteworthy advantages:

•FABMs have been shown in studies to enhance a couple’s relationship 

FABMs can improve a woman’s self-esteem and enhance her sense of womanliness by developing her appreciation for the beauty of her fertility.

•FABMs are free or very low in cost.

•FABMs are instantly reversible should a couple decide they want to get pregnant.

•FABMs have zero effect on the water supply, on marine life, or on any other part of the environment.

If you would like to learn more about FABMs, some helpful websites to check out include: