any problems developing with the foetus is no greater than for a normally conceived child. There is the slight inconvenience of the woman needing to break into a spontaneous love-making session to insert the diaphragm.
For men, a condom is the barrier device, which is a rubber sheath placed over an erect penis during love making. Condoms have undergone a revival over the last twenty years with the discovery and spread of HIV / AIDS, and with men becoming much more compliant in the use of them. Many couples now choose to use condoms as their main form of contraception to help take the onus off the woman always being the responsible one. Whilst a diaphragm can be inserted before planned sex, a condom has to wait until the penis is erect and this can disturb the flow of the event.
Whilst neither of these devices has any major physical side effects, a small number of users are sensitive to the rubber. Barrier devices can inhibit full intimacy and expression of sexuality. As we know, when a woman becomes aroused, part of that preparation to receive the man is the softening of the cervix and an increase of mucus which is inviting to the sperm. This thin mucus is also the vagina’s natural lubricant. A diaphragm reduces the flow of a woman’s sexual fluids into the vagina which causes a drier than normal intercourse. Well, then a lubricant could be used. Yes, but that is just the introduction of another substance taking the awareness further away from the natural processes of our bodies. Also, some men comment that a condom reduces the natural sensitivity of the penis, so there are upsides and downsides to every option.
Tubal Ligation is a surgical operation of cutting and tying, cauterising or clamping the fallopian tubes which prevents the egg travelling down or any sperm swimming up. Often reputed to be infallible, it actually carries a failure rate of 1.5 in 1000. Although it was once considered permanent, there is now an operation which can (usually) restore the tubes to normal functioning.
To choose such a serious disconnection in her fertility cycle, a woman must be very clear about not wanting any more children. Such a decision should be based on a realisation of her destiny, that she has truly fulfilled her maternal desires and needs, so that no other change of circum-stances (for instance change of partner or loss of a
living child) would be likely to alter that realisation.
There are risks and side effects associated with tubal ligation, the most common being heavier than usual menstrual bleeding. There is the risk (for some) of undergoing a general anaesthetic, or of the ovaries being damaged during the operation giving rise to other problems. It is also possible that the fallopian tubes (which are actually a bundle of tiny filaments and not just one hollow tube), can grow back together over time. If this happens, unexpected pregnancy can occur with a far higher likelihood of it being ectopic (where the embryo implants in the fallopian tubes rather than in the uterus), which then requires emergency surgery, usually resulting in the loss of both an ovary and a fallopian tube. This loss of the ovary can subsequently cause hormonal imbalances. Some women who undergo tubal ligation can have after-feelings of incompleteness in their womanhood.
The rhythm method is based on calculations using the overall length of your particular cycle and the known length of the luteal phase (usually 14 - 16 days each month regardless of overall cycle length) to predict the likely time of your ovulation and thereby avoid sexual intercourse at that time. Using the rhythm method as the only form of contraception is not very reliable, particularly if you experience irregular cycles. Also, it has been ascertained that many women can have occasions of unexpected fertility outside of the predicted time. (See discussion on “Lunar Fertility” previously).
When making calculations the figures of both the longest and shortest cycle of the past year are used. For example, if the overall length of your cycle is consistently 28 days, then the time of ovulation can be accurately calculated to within 2 days, requiring only 5 days abstention. But if your cycle varies from say, 24 days to 32 days then the time of ovulation can be much less accurately predicted, thereby requiring a much longer time of abstinence, indeed 13 days. This arrangement is not very conducive to confident sexual relations! The rhythm method can still be of some value for women with a reasonably regular cycle when used in conjunction with mucus observation and temperature charting. (See “Natural Fertility Awareness“ previously, and “Natural Contraception” following).