consider your partner’s needs as equal to your own) must make their own choices and have their own realisations about what is right for them at any particular time of their life. But any such choices made should be fully informed ones. Up until the age of 32, I considered I was fully informed about all the contraception options, but it wasn’t until I discovered natural fertility awareness, that a whole new world of possibili-ties in this area opened up.
I have included below a brief summary of the commonly available methods of contraception. The choices we can make about the appropriate-ness of any particular contraceptive method, are guided by many factors. For some women the main concern might involve an ethical dilemma about inhibiting or destroying a new life. For others it might be the convenience factor, the side effect factor, the cost factor, the spontaneity factor, the reliability factor, the “can it be undone” factor! All contraceptive aids and devices work in slightly different ways but most are designed to work with the least amount of consciousness and the most amount of effectiveness.
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The Triphasal Pill
The Triphasal pill is a three pronged cocktail of synthetic hormones that work to override naturally occurring reproductive hormones by (i) inhibiting ovulation, (ii) making the mucus secreted by the cervix hostile to sperm and (iii) altering the endometrium so that if fertilisation does occur, an embryo is unable to implant and the pregnancy does not proceed.
The menstrual period a woman has when taking the pill is not true menstruation, but simply breakthrough bleeding which is allowed to occur because 7 of her 28 daily pills are actually sugar. This bleeding allows for some level of uterine cleansing and also mimics the bleeding phase as a psychological support so that a woman can still feel “womanly”.
Over the months or years of pill usage, there is no ovulation or natural endometrium build up and break down, therefore natural cleansing and rejuvenation of the womb suffers. During this time the ovaries remain dormant. Often it takes quite some time after a woman stops taking the pill for the ovaries to recover and recommence the process of ripening and releasing ova.
The pill was once hailed as the panacea for all the ills of women’s fertility and menstrual hassles. Its introduction in the 1960’s was greatly welcomed by most women and men to allow greater sexual freedom without fear of unwanted pregnancies. It allowed couples to plan their family according to financial and career aspirations. It “normalised” the short and the long cycles. It was just a pop-in-the-mouth, futuristic medical solution come true.
But the cost of that freedom has been very high. Many women have lost touch with the inner workings of their bodies. Their regularity is imposed from outside them, and therefore they have little idea of the sorts of lifestyle fluctuations which can powerfully affect them. Many mothers consider there is less need to educate their daughters about how their cycle works. Much of the communication and trust in the husband-wife relationship has been undermined because, with the pill, contraceptive responsibility rests totally with the woman. Other downsides of artificial hormone contraception are higher rates of cancer of the breast, vagina and liver; increased susceptibility to hypertension and diabetes; and an increase in fertility problems the longer motherhood is postponed(5).
If you have been using the pill and are thinking of embarking on natural pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood, you should stop taking it right now. But do not aim to conceive for a minimum of 3 months. In that time you should follow a daily yoga program for hormonal re-balance. See Prescriptive Yoga Program – “Irregular Cycles” on page 2016.
The Mini Pill
(Progesterone Only Pill or POP)
Since the introduction of the original pill, due to all its unforeseen side effects and the reactions it was causing with many women, the designers have figured out that blocking ovulation for many years wasn’t such a good idea after all. So then they came up with this so-called “softer and safer” version. The mini pill works by (i) thickening the cervical mucus to make it hostile to sperm, either killing them or trapping them at the mouth of the uterus and (ii) altering the endometrium so that if fertilisation does occur, an embryo is unable to implant and the pregnancy does not proceed. Such a method may raise moral concerns for some, as it is not always made clear that fertilisation may occur but pregnancy won’t. This technically makes the POP an early abortifacient. Although this is a fine line, it is not often explained to women when considering their contraceptive options.