Birth Control Options

A reader recently asked us to address the issue of birth control because it is an important part of a couples sex life. It is my hope to present a non-biased approach to sharing what I have found in my research of different birth control methods. Please discuss these options with your OBGYN to determine which method will be best for you.

My husband and I found that it was very difficult to decide on birth control methods over the years. Nothing seemed to really be perfect and we just made due with the best possible option at the time.

There are a variety of different forms of birth control and so many variables to consider when deciding on the one that is right for you. I wish to overview a variety of popular methods with a description of each one. For more detailed information on these methods you may find these websites helpful:

Please keep the following in mind:

I do not promote or encourage any form of “emergency contraception” as I believe that the moment an egg is fertilized that a life has started. Apart from my moral conviction, I also believe it is very unhealthy to interrupt a pregnancy. Therefore I will not make mention of them in this article. However, keep in mind that most hormonal methods would pose some risk to an embryo if an unexpected pregnancy were to occur.

I am not promoting one of these methods over another. The best idea is to pray about which option is right for you and keep in mind that God may lead you and your husband the change methods over time. God surprised me with some of the things He told me when I prayed about the options so I’m really glad I took the time to ask Him.

Educate yourself extensively on the methods you are considering so that you can make a well informed decision. You can not always go by what other women have experience as our bodies can respond differently to the hormonal methods and we all have different preferences, but do take the time to talk to other women as well, if you can.

Hormonal Methods

Birth Control Pills ~ a pill is taken orally each day (sometimes with the option of skipping the week of your period) which you can get that either contains both estrogen and progesterone or progesterone only and primarily functions to keep a woman from ovulating.

Birth Control Patch ~ works similarly to birth control pills, but a patch is worn on the abdomen, buttocks or upper body rather than taking a pill daily. The patch is changed once a week and kept off the week of menstruation.

Depo-Provera ~ an injection of progestin that prevents ovulation in a similar way to the way progesterone would.

Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) ~ The Mirena IUD is different from other IUDs because it actually contains a hormone that is highly effective in preventing pregnancy as it blocks sperm from reaching your egg and makes the lining of your uterus thin (this may also result in benefits like less menstrual bleeding over time). Unlike other IUDs, this device is not primarily intended to keep a fertilized egg from implanting. For more details about Mirena, you can visit their website.

NuvaRing ~ it is inserted once a month for a three week duration. It contains estrogen and progestin which will result in preventing the ovaries from developing mature eggs. For more details about NuvaRing, you can visit their website.

Implants ~ no longer available. If you are currently using this method, you will need to consider your other options once it expires.

Barrier Methods

Male or Female Condom (option of adding spermicide for increased effectiveness) ~ a sheath is placed over the penis or in the vagina to contain the ejaculate and prevent sperm from remaining in the vagina.

Cervical Cap, Shield or Diaphragm (option of adding spermicide for increased effectiveness) ~ a dome-shaped device is used to cover the entrance to the cervix. Most of these methods require that the device be inserted hours before intercourse and remain in place for hours afterwards.

Contraceptive Sponge ~ the Today Sponge is primarily a barrier method, but also contains a spermicide.

Natural Methods

Fertility Awareness Method ~ charting your basal body temperature, cervical fluid and position of cervix, and typical menstrual cycling in order to prevent or encourage pregnancy. Abstinence or a barrier method is used on fertile days. A great reference for this method can be found in the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility.

Withdrawal ~ the man withdraws his penis just before ejaculating. Be aware that the pre-ejaculate liquid can contain semen and there can be a higher risk of failure in using this method, especially if the man is not fully committed to the method or if he is not well aware of his sexual function. i.e. he doesn’t know when he is about to ejaculate.

Breastfeeding ~ exclusive breastfeeding can help to prevent pregnancy if the baby is not receiving any formula and feeds every few hours, but does pose a higher risk of failure as some women will begin ovulating after only a few months even with exclusive breastfeeding. Thoroughly research and understand this method if you wish to incorporate it. You can also combine breastfeeding with the mini pill which contains progestin only.

No effort made to prevent pregnancy ~ continuing with usual sexual involvement without any attempt to avert conception.

Total Abstinence ~ refraining from intercourse completely (not a method I recommend in marriage under normal circumstances).

Permanent Methods

Vasectomy (Male sterilization) ~ Cutting, tying or sealing the vas in a male’s testicles so that sperm can not transfer through the penis with the ejaculate.

Tubal Ligation (Female sterilization) ~ Severing and sealing a woman’s fallopian tube so that the egg and sperm can not meet, thereby preventing conception.

Essure System (Female sterilization) ~ a metallic implant is inserted in the woman’s fallopian tube resulting in scarring that blocks the tube, again, preventing conception.


  1. I used depro when I first got married – BEWARE. Read up on this before you do it. My doctor (who had me on anti-depressants earlier, mind you) neglected to tell me that it’s risky for anyone who’s suffered from depression. Got it right before my wedding… and for the life of me I could NOT get out of the dark deep hole of depression I was in. I finally thought to look up the birth control… lo and behold, no one with a history of depression should be on it. Hmmm….
    Another thought if you are going to get married soon – try to figure out how to start your birth control method (if that’s what you decide to do) early enough before the wedding that your emotions are not in full swing. Any of the first hormonal methods will mess with your mind and emotions – you don’t want that leading up to your wedding! 🙂

    Just my experience and two cents 🙂

  2. As with ALL these methods, it bears repeating, research them thoroughly.

  3. I just wanted to add that hormonal birth control methods can often decrease your sex drive. I began taking birth control pills several months before I got married and after marriage my sex drive was practically nonexistent. About a year later I finally thought to research the pill and found out it was the culprit. After a few months off the pill, my sex drive was back to normal. I believe this has been mentioned before on this blog, but just something to keep in mind.

  4. Smoothie, that’s exactly my fear with attempting hormonal BC.
    Between the possible impact on sex drive (which mine is fantastic and dont want to mess with it!) as well as the possibility of affecting my emotions (again, I’m very even keel)…it’s scary to try it.
    I’m newly married and would love to use this since it makes our sex life so much easier but those two risks really turn me off to even attempting.
    We dont like condoms at all and I’m not much into having to stick foreign objects inside me for BC methods…especially when you need to combine them with spermicidals! Yuk…and I’ve heard the taste of spermicidals is not terribly nice. That would definitely imipact OS for both of us – no thanks!
    So pulling out during 3/4 of my cycle is what we do…a very loose way of doing FAM. I’d like to get better at that I guess…

  5. One small word of caution, Smoothie, about the “pull out method” : It’s not much of a method. That’s how we got 2 of our 3 kids!! The first child was the only one we actively tried to concieve. The other ones were “pull-out kids”. We’re extremely thankful for them…but we do laugh about it!

  6. I used hormonal birth control for several years, but had no idea that it could cause a very early chemical abortion if the egg did get fertilized. I have read up more about it recently and as my husband and I prayed about it we really felt like we ought not use it. We’d rather err on the side of having another child than on the side of aborting a child.

    We decided to get the “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” book and it’s EXCELLENT. I’d highly recommend it for anyone interested in using the FAM method. I’ve haven’t been able to use it yet as I got it while I was pregnant and my baby is only 4 months old now. We didn’t do anything for birth control till just a month ago because I started worrying that I’d get pregnant even though I am not having regular cycles yet. If you are looking at using condoms I’d recommend the SKYN condoms by Lifestyles. THey are SOOO much better than laytex.

    I also wanted to mention that if you have any burning or pain after using condoms, you might want to check and see if there is spermicide on them. I didn’t know when I first got married, but found out by using condoms with spermicide that I’m very sensitive to it and I’ve heard a lot of women are and some men too.

  7. i am SO glad you wrote about this topic! i have been convicted lately to do some research on our current contraceptive choices, and in doing so felt convicted to discontinue the use of the pill (please understand – this is MY personal conviction – i am in NO WAY suggesting the pill is wrong for everybody!!!). that has left me to seek other options…so far i think i’m headed for NFP – except since i don’t believe any form of abstinence in marriage is Biblical except for fasting & such, during those days where they suggest you abstain, we would just introduce condoms. i had just recently ordered Taking Charge of Your Fertility, so we’ll see how that goes, but so far i think that seems to be the way God is directing. thanks for this post though! it arrived right when i needed it, so i know God is leading me on the right track 🙂

  8. Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an excellent book!! That is what we used a year prior to having my last baby. You really need to learn about your body as it goes through it’s cycle. Two thumbs up from me!!

  9. I love that book too.

    My article was an attempt to present the options as unbiased as I could. Here is my personal opinion. The hormonal methods I tried were hard on my body. They caused chronic headaches and really effected my sex drive, as smoothie mentioned too.

    My husband and I were often frustrated by our options. Nothing seemed to be quite right. I think if I were to start from the beginning again, I would do a combination of FAM and condoms.

    Even deciding whether or not my husband should get a vasectomy was not an easy process. We prayed about it for several month before we got clarity. Also, one thing that surprised me when I was praying about the Mirena IUD, God said that my womb was a holy thing, set apart for Him to create life and He didn’t want me putting a device in it. That surprised me.

    I think what I like so much about FAM is that it become so helpful when you start to WANT to get pregnant. It is easy to shift to trying for a baby when you know what your fertile days are. (That doesn’t mean it is easy to get pregnant with it because some women still struggle with infertility, but that is for another article…)

  10. the implant is no longer available??? wow is this in Australia too or just the US? i had my implant put in about 7 months ago (3 months before I got married) and it works well for us so far, we had planned to use two implants and then try for children after about 6 yrs of marriage (we’re only 20 years old!). i guess we’ll have to change plans. does anyone know why it’s been taken off the market? is it an ethical thing or a faulty thing perhaps??

  11. I didn’t go into researching why it was taken off the market so I am not sure. If you had yours put in last year, it probably is still available there.

    Is it working well for you?

  12. I was on the pill years ago to reduce cramping as well as to prevent pregnancy, but I don’t like taking medications if I can avoid them. Now that I am a little older (35), I rely more on FAM, but I am not too careful with it. If I get pregnant, I get pregnant. I would consider it a blessing from God; a challenge perhaps, but a blessing as well.

  13. Yes it’s working well for me, initially I had periods every two weeks for the first few months but I persevered (it cleared up a few days before my wedding, thank God!) and now I go a few months without any period which is great! I haven’t noticed any negative side effects. However I didn’t research it very thoroughly from an ethical point of view and you ladies have given me something to think about with regards to its’ effect on any potential zygotes. Thanks for challenging the status quo and sticking to scriptural viewpoints. In a world that perverts and distorts sexuality beyond belief, it is so refreshing to hear candid, honest, and tasteful discussion on a topic that god is very passionate about!!

  14. The Today Sponge has been on and off of the market so many times. Remember the episode from Seinfeld where Elain was interviewing her boyfriends to decide if they are Spongworthy? Well, it is back, but quite expensive.

  15. 😯 Oh My! I used the “Today Sponge” about 16 years ago and it was very affordable back then. I had no idea that it was so expensive now! Wow!

  16. I am just leaving my two cents! I have struggled with birth control options through my whole marriage!! I think for women who DO take a second to think about things, and not just say “Ok” to whatever their gynocologist suggests, and especially women who are Christian, it is hard not to have a least some struggle with what you should do in this area. I also think I have tried just about everything out there. I have hated everything hormonal that I have taken, which includes probably three different kinds of pills, and depo-provera. (That one was the worst!) I have used condoms, only spermicide (the suppositories), and we did natural family planning for a while. The biggest thing that I struggled with was the fact that I knew hormones can cause early abortions. So that’s why it’s funny that what I have settled on at least for now, is paraguard, the copper iud with no hormones. (Iuds can also cause early miscarriages.) I have to say that as far as a birth control goes, it’s pretty perfect. You can’t feel it, it can stay in for ten years but you can have it taken out whenever you want. It’s as effective as sterilization, but 100% reversible. I prayed and prayed before I got it, but I have never been one of those people who feels like I hear clearly enough from God about anything. I do feel peace about it, though. I have four children, and I really don’t think we can handle any more. Children are the biggest blessing from God, I have a friend who has 6 and no end in sight, and that’s great! But I really think I’m done. Now if God were to say “No you’re not!” and I got pregnant tomorrow, I would be fine with that, because I do love children, and I do miss having babies, and I would know that it must have been God’s will, because I did everything in my power to not get pregnant. 🙂 And for anyone considering an iud, my doctor did tell me, when I asked about it causing miscarriages, that he delivers babies all the time where he has to remove an iud first! So anyway, that’s my two cents.

  17. I’ve been doing some research as I’ve been thinking of switching to a non-hormonal, copper IUD after having used condoms for years. First i spoke with my midwife about how it works and she said that, while non-hormonal, the presence of the copper IUD makes the uterus a poor environment for the sperm and egg to come together, and that conception is unlikely. And yes, in the event conception does occur, it creates a hostile environment for implantation so pregnancy does not occur.

    I can see how this can be a conflict if you believe pregnancy, and life, occur at conception rather than implantation, but I have also done my research on NFP and have found that having sex exclusively during infertile times of the month has essentially the same effect. It is less likely that conception occurs, and also when conception DOES occur, implantation will not, because the conditions won’t allow. For those using no method at all, many embryos will simply be lost due to the circumstances of your cycle.

    I haven’t used either NFP or and IUD yet, and am in the midst of research as I seek to use something other than condoms, so I would appreciate any corrections people have for my comment! Thanks.

  18. It’s good that you are researching your options.
    I don’t see NFP as a strong risk to implantation. In order for implantation to even be possible there needs to be an egg to fertilize and that happens in our cycles when our uterus is ready for it. Of course, many women do end up miscarrying, but that has more to do, as I understand it, with the egg and sperm not creating a healthy embryo. I have never understood it to be because of NFP.

    Regarding the copper IUD, I would be very careful about that one. I have heard awful stories about it’s effect on women and pregnancies.

  19. I’m a huge fan of NFP – there are tons of benefits, without the possible negative impacts of things like the Pill such as messing with your hormones, potentially causing an abortion, etc. For those of you who are worried about it meaning you won’t be able to have sex as often … statistically, couples who practice NFP actually have sex more often than those who use some form of contraception. If you follow the rules (which are very easy to learn), NFP has been found to be about 98% effective – which is about as good as you can hope for with any other kind of birth control. As a bonus, you’re not doing unnatural things to your body like completely eliminating your period for lengths of time. Also, according to the statistics, couples who practice NFP have an almost non-existent divorce rate.

    My husband and I practice NFP for moral reasons, but the other benefits – health, more sex, stronger relationship, better understanding of how God made the human body – are great as well.

    There are a lot of resources available if you want to learn about NFP – the Couple to Couple League ( is good; they have courses you can take, or books/charts/etc. you can purchase from their website. With the experience I’ve had with NFP so far (my husband and I have been married just over a year), I highly recommend it to absolutely anyone.

    Anyway, just my thoughts on the subject.

  20. Yea!!
    I love to hear positive things re: NFP from young people. I’m 45, been married for 22 years and have a wonderful sex life with no BC. I’m probably not the poster child for NFP since we have 9 children 🙂 but seriously we went into marriage wanting 8 or 10 children. We had 8 pregnancies and 9 children (1 set of twins). So I can honestly say prayer and giving God control over our reproductive system really worked out for us.
    I give this method a definate thumbs up, and never any stress or health risk like a lot of my friends.

  21. Finally, I don’t feel so alone.

  22. Nine kids – that’s awesome! My husband and I can’t wait until Phase 2 isn’t the “no sex” time … right now we’re both active-duty military, so we don’t think it would be wise to try to have children, but once my time in the military is done (a few more years), I’m all about having a bunch of kids! 🙂

  23. Military wow that’s awesome! Thanks for all you do for our freedoms! I think people like you aren’t thanked or praised enough. I’m trying to talk my boys into serving in some branch, but it’s hard when most of society tells them not to. I’m still praying for it though.
    Enjoy your life together now and children will come in God’s timing.

  24. Does anyone know if coconut oil is a safe lubricant for lifestyles skyn condoms? They are made of polyisoprene, not latex…I’ve done several google searches and haven’t turned up anything that tells me if coconut oil is ok or not.

  25. Sorry, I’m posting all over the place, but from what I can tell, it’s looks like coconut oil is a no-go with the polyisoprene condoms too. I’m pretty bummed about that, because we just started using coconut oil and love it! SO…does anyone know of another natural lube that’s ok? Or if you have experience with the polyisoprene condoms, what lube do you suggest?

  26. I believe you can use coconut oil with non latex condoms (such a durex avanti) as the oil only damages latex.

  27. illiciumverum, have you had any experience with this? Thanks!

  28. Have not myself used these in combination but I used to teach classroom sex & relationships education & my background is in nursing which is how I know. I said “I believe” though becuase its always important to check exactly what the condom is made of before combining with anything oil based.

  29. Not to sound like a dummy, but I thought I’d add that breast feeding isn’t a very good “birth control” method… I Breast feed my 8 mouth old daughter exclusively; my husband and I had a little condom accident and BOOM! I’m pregnant again. Due in July…
    It seems God wants me to have another baby!

  30. For some women it works really well for a long time with exclusive breastfeeding, but there really is no way to know for sure if you have started ovulating or not until you have your first postpartum period. It really can’t be relied on too heavily for this reason, but it does help to a certain extent.
    Given that you are pregnant after exclusive breastfeeding and using condoms, I would agree that this baby is indeed a blessing from the Lord 😀 Congrats Lemon Zest!

  31. Funny you should mention God’s sovereignty over birth control. My DH and I have been blessed to conceive our four daughters, ALL while on birth control! Our first was a condom baby, the second was the mini-pill (I was breastfeeding), the third was the nuvaring, and the fourth again was a condom….
    Apparently God wanted us to have our four little angels and we wouldn’t change a thing! 🙂 We are trying birth control again, but God’s plans for us are bigger than we can see. So we’ll see what He has in store for us this time, trusting Him for what He know is best!

  32. everyone’s body is different! i exclusively breastfed my daughter, she was nursing every 2 hours, and still got my period 4 weeks after she was born! i was really looking forward to not having a period for a while…

  33. The breastfeeding plan shouldn’t be thought of as birth control. I always breastfed and lucky me I got my period back between 2-3 months postpartum all nine times. Our first two girls are 2 weeks short of a year apart. I never got my period between the 2 pregnancies. They’re all blessings from God 🙂

  34. Update to this post — the implant device came back to market this past year – it’s called Implanon. It’s hormonal, placed under the skin in the arm, lasts about 3 years, I think.

  35. i’m wondering if anyone has any experience with the today sponge? my husband and i have no health insurance so birth control through a doctor is not an option, but we both HATE condoms. i’m a little apprehensive about inserting the sponge. do they ever get lost or lodged in place? can you feel it and does it interfere with love making?

  36. I use a Diaphragm. A Dr. has to prescribe it, but you only have a one time fee! It will not cost you money through out the year! It will last several years if you take good care of it! I use spermicide with it and it last a long time! My DH and I have no problems with feeling it during intercourse! Best of luck!

  37. I am sorry about the no insurance bit. That is hard. I want to echo hisbabe on the diaphragm bit though. It is VERY nice, and so much better than a condom. We do use spermicide with my diaphragm right now, b/c we are trying very hard to NOT conceive right now. (Therefore we have the expense of the spermicide every sexual encounter, but it is not much–usually just under a dollar each time.) I have never gotten pregnant while using the diaphragm without spermicide, mind you, but with three kids age three and under, we don’t feel ready to add to the quiver quite yet, so we are taking the full precautions. 🙂

    I would also encourage you to learn FAM, because it would give you about half to two thirds of your cycle per month that you could skip using a diaphragm, condom, sponge, etc… REALLY nice. And there is quite a freedom to bareback sex that you are reasonably sure will not lead to pregnancy.

  38. I have not actually used a sponge, but it is larger than both a diaphragm and an Instead menstrual cup (see the resources section of this site), so, no, it should not get lost in your body. Like learning how to use a tampon, there will be a learning curve. 🙂 If you decide to go this route, you may want to do a “dry run” so that you figure out how to insert/remove the sponge without dealing with the emotions of sex on top of it!

    As far as I know, the primary function of a Sponge is spermicidal, not barrier. So you might consider the pregnancy rates of just using a spermicide, really. I have not done a bunch of research on sponges v. just spermicide, but if this is the route you are considering, it would be more comfortable to use a spermicidal “Vaginal Contraceptive Film” (looks like a dissolving breath mint strip) or an applicator filled with spermicide (inserted with an applicator like a tampon, then you push the plunger in, so the spermicide goes in your vagina, then you remove the applicator). While I have rarely just used spermicide, my mom did for a good ten years, and never had an surprise pregnancies.

  39. Yep. They’re not hard to use. It goes up against your cervix, and there’s a little string/tab thingy on it to help you pull it out. It doesn’t interfere with LM, but you do have to leave it in for some hours afterward to make sure that the spermicide in it kills off all of his swimmers. So it can be an issue of forgetting to take it out, which could be potentially dangerous(infections, TSS). Also, my doc. told me that it is most effective when used along with some other form of birth control, (condom or diaphragm) lol, therefore defeating your original purpose. It kinda takes a lot of the spontaneity out of LM.
    I thought that the extra BC wasn’t necessary, which resulted in sweet baby number three! 🙂 Haha. So my advise; listen to the doc., he/she knows what they’re talking about!
    Also make sure that your lady parts don’t react negatively to spermicides, as it must stay inside of you for a while and this is the main component of the sponge.
    I hope with whatever you decide, everything works out well for you!

  40. not to scare you with the BC thing, but we actually switched back between the nuvaring and the sponge.. so there’s a teeny bit of question to this day as to which one failed us! 🙂

  41. thanks everyone – the info is really helpful! the main thing that made me nervous was the website said it could come apart and leave pieces behind. it doesn’t really sound like it’s for me. one day i’ll probably try to get the diaphram. i’ve used the film strips before and forgotten about them – i’ll have to try to find them again. i track my ovulation so that we only actually use a condom for a week and a half each month, but that time that we do have to use a condom hubby usually likes for me to finish first and then use my hand on him. we’re not very furtile anyway (it took us 4 years to get pregnant the first time and 2 years the second) but all it takes is one time right?

  42. i wish my husband were brave enough to go get a vasectomy. that would take care of it all

  43. How do that work exactly? Any experience with it? Side Effects? Effectiveness? Everything I have researched says its not available, but I would be highly interested in something like that. Thanks in advance for the info.

  44. I echo that, but at the same time, things that are perm. take God out of the equation. I really do not want to have another child (have two angels already) but even through I do use the pill we have prayed so much about it. No God is bigger then any perm. action but just something to think about.

  45. I have Implanon. It’s been a great choice for us in some ways and not so much in others.
    I really don’t love the hormonal aspect of it. I am pretty sure that my libido has decreased somewhat since I’ve been on it. I’m not entirely sure, because I had it put in before we were married, so we weren’t having sex before I got it.

    The other reasons I may have had a loss of drive are the same reasons it’s been a good choice for us. I moved to the US in August last year to marry my husband and wasn’t able to work until this January (visa stuff). These, added to being a newlywed, were BIG upheavals for me, which meant I needed birth control I didn’t have to worry about. Financially it was dealt with at one time, so we don’t have to keep paying out for it. And I have the peace of mind that I’m not adding a baby to the mix at a time when I am not well equipped to handle it because I’m still adjusting to all the other things!

    I talked all this through with a Christian doctor friend of mine, because I was not comfortable taking something that could be abortive. I was unhappy at the idea of possibly compromising on a life for my own convenience. She told me to look into the Implanon, and said that even the most conservative Christian doctors in the UK are happy to prescribe it because it doesn’t have that abortive ‘back up’ aspect. The hormones don’t linger in the same way that the pill does. Once the implant comes out, you go straight back to the fertility you had before it was put in.

    I have longer periods, but much farther apart than before. It’s been about a year, and I plan to keep it in at least another year or so.
    I don’t plan on getting it again in the near future, but I have no idea what we’ll decide after we’ve moved past our child bearing time!

    On a side note, it doesn’t hurt when it’s put in, but the few days after it was VERY tender! Now I don’t even notice it.

    Hope this helps!

  46. Sometimes things that are permanent are the only option. I love both of my children dearly, but I had severe Post Natal Depression with child number one. He was bottle fed because I ha no idea how to breast feed him. I was suicidal, and it took almost a year of treatment to get better. I was terrified of it happening again. We ummed and aahhed about another bub for a long time. Finally we did, and our son was a few days short of turning five when she was born. All went well until she was four months old I had learned to breastfeed, but she go a tummy bug that left her lactose intolerant.
    I went downhill so fat it wasn’t funny. I went straight past suicide into psychosis. I saw and heard things, I sought help and very slowly recovered. Once I started to think straight again. I had myself booked in to have a ligation done.
    I would rather have two kids and be unable to have more, than risk having three children with no mother alive.

  47. Using Breastfeeding as birth control is only considered effective for the first 6 months as long as 1. No supplemental bottles or pacifiers 2. No more than 3 hours between nursing sessions including at night. 3. No bleeding or spotting after 56 days after birth.

    I feel sad about birth control, when my Hubby and I got married I hated the idea of having to use a condom. It seems strange to express “I love you so much I want you in me, but I don’t want to actually TOUCH you”. On our honeymoon it was 2-3 days before I expected my period, so I KNEW I couldn’t get pregnant. So we didn’t use BC, not pregnant. about a week later I couldn’t convince my husband to go to the store to get condoms so we did it once, I couldn’t shake the feeling I was pregnant. And sure enough we now have a super cute little boy, who is totally God ordained and there would be much more struggles without him than with him.

    But I really wish we could just trust God with birth control, I undeniably believe that God controls the womb. But the voices of everyone saying you HAVE to use birth control is just so much louder, and life gets to you to. My husband who has a degree in Computer Science couldn’t find work, and is now making barely over minimum wage in retail. Additionally, I had a hard pregnancy but giving birth was the best thing ever, so I have a lot of mixed emotions….

  48. btw, breastfeeding as b.c. might not be effective ever. I nursed all the time and my period came back when baby boy turned 3 months old. Same for my mom, every time she breastfed (she’s breastfed the last 5 of her 8 kids). Some women it just doesn’t work that way.

    I always thought we should just trust God to give us a baby in his time, and that’s what we did when we concieved our baby. But this time around, since I got my period back so early, my husband wanted to do b.c. until bb is 6 mos. old, b/c of the heightened risks of pregnancies that happen less than 6 mos. after the previous one. (plus, i had a rough pregnancy with several complications, and so I’m afraid to go through it again, and with such a small child this time)

    for various reasons the only thing option were willing to do is a condom, and I have discovered that I hate them.
    I’d personally rather not do any form of b.c. – I’d rather trust God to control it like he did the first baby. But hubby thinks that it’s his responsibility to take care of me in this matter so after praying we decided to do b.c for a time, and I’m trusting my guy on this one. He’s the head of the family and i don’t think that using a condom is *wrong* so I’m gonna go with him on this one.
    Btw, I’m doing FAM with a condom, so we don’t have to use them all the time. and there is an off chance I could still get pregnant, and we’re saying ‘well, that’s up to God then’

  49. I had Implanon put in last July and I love it. I’m not disciplined to keep up with pills everyday and I’m tired of using condoms. This was our pre-permanent birth control choice and we both think it was worth it. I love that I don’t have to worry about a thing for 3 years….and that gives us plenty of time to decide if we truly want to be done having kids. It is a progestin-only option and I have noticed an increase in my depression, and irregular bleeding, but other than that, it’s been a breeze.

  50. This is really a comment for his_alone: You did the right thing. With God’s blessing we still have you and your children with us.

  51. Rachel, ignore the other voices and pressures around you. The decision to use/not use birth control, and what kind if you do is between you, your husband, and God. Maybe there will be trial and error, and you will figure out what you are willing to do and what you aren’t. How old is your baby now? Maybe you could use natural family planning until you are *sure you want to try again. (LOL how do you like my advice after I just said ignore all the voices around you…haha) I had four children, all spaced two years apart, and we almost started trying for another, about six months ago. I had an IUD, and I went to get it taken out. The Dr. tried two different times to get it out, but couldn’t find the strings at all. So unfortunately I am going to have to do a hospital visit for that eventually…but my point is, after that happened, I suddenly realized that I didn’t want to have any more children! My kids are ages 3, 5, 7, and 9, we homeschool, and I am pretty overwhelmed most days. My kids are just now getting to the ages where we can do fun stuff together and ALL participate. (It has been a long time that we either had a small baby, or I was pregnant…or both!) Anyway, I am definitely not saying you shouldn’t do exactly what you and your hubby feel is right for your family, and before God. I guess I’m just saying don’t feel pressured in *either direction, you know? I think that in society there is lots of pressure toward birth control, but in certain Christian groups there can be pressure to not use it. Just be open and honest with each other about what you want, and what your expectations are, and pray! 😉

  52. I don’t think that permanent actions take God out of the equation any more than any other birth control. Birth control is always something that should be decided on prayerfully, it isn’t something to be taken lightly, for sure. But I definitely think that if a couple feels that they should do a vasectomy/tubal ligation, and they pray about it and feel God’s blessing to do so, they are doing nothing wrong.

  53. Well, Rachel, here I go again giving my two cents about birth control! 🙂 (notice I’ve posted here quite a few times?)
    I just wanted to re-assure you of God’s almighty control over our lives.
    My DH and I have always used birth control. We tried many different types also, but the funny thing is that apparently God had different plans for us. We now have four sweet little ones. (all conceived while on bc!) Haha. God is bigger than medicine! I wouldn’t change a thing. We are sooo very blessed with our dear children and our lives wouldn’t be the same without them. Thank God for His wisdom in seeing much futher into our future than we could have ever dreamed!
    I did have some scary complications with my last pregnancy, and the Lord has given my body a break from pregnancy for a while now. My prayer now is that He will have control over my body, and our future. Only He knows what is right for us. I am using birth control currently, but with the knowledge that God is much more powerful! If His plan is for us to have another sweet child someday, then that, I’m sure, is what will happen!
    So trust Him with your body, weather or not you use bc, because He is more powerful than even that!

  54. Just want to clarify this statement: “there really is no way to know for sure if you have started ovulating or not until you have your first postpartum period”–if you are using fertility awareness methods, you can, indeed, know that you have ovulated prior to your first actual period. You can know this by charting your waking morning temperature, and seeing a sharp increase in temperature.

    Also–breastfeeding exclusively means one thing, when you compare it to not giving your child any formula, milk, or juice. But when you are talking about using the LAM (lactation amenorrhea method), it also includes breastfeeding a child under the age of six months, round the clock, every few hours–no sleeping through the night yet.

    Obviously, if you add temperature or other fertility signs, such as cervical height and mucus, to breastfeeding, you will be able to know when the breastfeeding alone no longer is preventing ovulation.

    I personally was tired of various aspects of using FAM after using fertility awareness methods first to prevent (over four and a half years), then achieve (a year and a half worth), two pregnancies (one miscarriage, one full-term). So, I did not keep track of my temps after my daughter was born. I just added barriers, and kept more of a calendar-rhythm, and awareness of cervical mucus.

  55. With both of my successful pregnancies, I had one “period” about two months after birth, then had no more periods till they were about 6-8 months old. My post-partum bleeding had ended after 3-4 weeks, so this was a completely new bleeding episode, and lasted a “normal” 4-6 days, like a normal period.

    From some reading I have done, these may not have been actual periods, but, since I was not charting, I do not know if I was actually ovulating during that time (between months 2-8 after birth).

  56. The correct link for the website to which the above poster refers is 🙂

  57. I agree with mdcccc- permanent actions can never take God out of the equation! I know a guy whose boss conceived twins after a vasectomy!

    Also, they have a “reversible” type- I don’t know how reliable the reversals are, but if my guy was on board I think that would be a great option- no abortive risk or wacky hormonal side effects.

  58. Just want to let you know you’re not alone :0)
    10 days ago, I delivered our 7th child (:0D \o/ ) right after our 8h anniversary!!
    All were conceived using FAM & exclusive nursing. I won’t go into all the convolutions our thoughts & opinions have taken through these years, but just say that we are SO happy in the gifts God has given, and grateful to Him that we can communicate with Him about these things and how He wants us to do things, and that there’s not a hard fast “do it this way” across the board. He has parameters, but there is a lot of ground inside them, and He is a personal Father, who walks thru each thing with us :0)

  59. I also use a diaphragm. I have health insurance, so it was covered, but I think it would have been $60 without insurance.

    I just want to clarify: The original post says that methods similar to the diaphragm have to be put in place hours before sex. This is not true of diaphragms. You can leave it in all day, if you want. It must be removed at least every 24 hours. You can put it in immediately before sex or hours before. You have the option. You do have to leave it in for at least 6 hours after sex. I just sleep with it in, and take it out in the morning.

    It’s a good idea to use spermicide with it. The spermicide is what creates more limitations. It loses effectiveness after 6 hours, so you don’t want to put it in too early. You do have to know what 6 hour range you plan to have sex. Or you can just reapply.

    I think it’s a wonderful alternative to hormonal methods (I’ve tried a few different pills and hated every one of them). It doesn’t affect your libido, moisture levels, and mood like pills can. Also, when you want to start trying to get pregnant, it’s as simple as not putting it in. There are no hormonal side effects left over months after you stop like with the pill.

  60. We considered birth control methods prior to getting married. All hormones were out of the question due to an increase in the risk for a stroke for me (mother had TIAs while on the pill, sister had a hemorrhagic stroke at 17, grandmother died of a stroke). Spermicide burns me. I work nights and the nights rotate to I am never waking up at the same time or in bed at the same time so it is very difficult to maintain basal temperature tracking. In the end it is condoms all the way. They work well for us, they are very portable and come in packaging made for purses and wallets so we can carry them with us. The price is also nice at 40 condoms for $10 (good brand too). We have incorporated them into a “ritual” of sorts in our love making that does not interrupt the passion or touching but instead is part of it. I think we may look into a cervical cap or diaphragm in the future but we like the fact that none of his swimmers are transferred to me with condoms.

  61. I haven’t read through ALL of the comments here, so this may have already been mentioned….but I wanted to bring it up in case it hadn’t. I’m breastfeeding, but I’ve had a couple of normal cycles now, so my midwife put me on the mini pill. I was reading through the prescription info and I learned that it doesn’t work the same way as normal bc pills do. It only prevents ovulation in 50% of women and then not consistently (and that’s with PERFECT use). It said that they primary way it works is by changing the consistency of your mucus, therefore making it harder for sperm to reach the egg, OR (and this made me change my mind about taking it, boo!) preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in your uterus. Since I also believe that life starts at the time an egg is fertilized, this last thing was a deal breaker!! Just wanted to put that out there for everyone, since I had no idea.

  62. Just wanted to add the ParaGard IUD to the list. I is just like the Mirena IUD mentioned above, however it does NOT contain hormones. Is a great alternative for those of us who prefer to stay away from hormones. Also, with IUDs, its best to wait to use one until AFTER you have had a baby. This ensures that your cervix is large enough to accept the device. In my case, I attempted to use one without ever having given birth and my body literally pushed it out. I am MORE than willing to try again in the future.

  63. Hi everyone! A question regarding herbal birth control options: I’ve been taking a supplement called “Neem” for several months now–it was actually recommended by a nutritionist friend to help with severe adult acne, and works great for that. But I searched online and found it is also used as birth control in some countries (I guess that would be wherever the Neem tree grows wild? The bottle says “not for use by pregnant or lactating women, or those trying to become pregnant) Anyway, does anyone here know about this aspect of the supplement Neem? It would be soooo great to have a true natural, non-hormonal BC option!!!

  64. I don’t have personal experience with Neem, but I did a lot of online research because I also was hoping for a natural alternative. Apparently it is very effective- can even cause infertility for up to a year- but it also can abort fertilized eggs by causing them to dissolve before they implant. I was uncomfortable with the potency of it, not really wanting to risk permanent infertility, and also had moral problems with the risk of aborting a fertilized egg, so I didn’t end up looking into it any further. But there is a lot of info online if you want to do your own research.

  65. Whoa! I didn’t find that info about dissolving the egg! Must research further…it’s starting to look like FAM is the best option…

  66. Has anyone used FemCap before? I’m thinking about getting one, wanted to know if anyone has tried it and liked it, or not. It’s a cervical cap that works similar to a diaphragm, but I can’t find that many reviews.

  67. I don’t know if anyone still reads this board since it’s kind of an old one, but I thought I’d give it a shot.

    I’ve never been a fan of hormonal methods because I believe it’s messing with the natural rhythm and chemical balance of your body. But I’ve been on the pill for the 2 years of our marriage because we agreed that it seemed like the best option for BC. (We also do double-duty with condoms). We’re a young married couple, and we want to finish college before having kids.

    But lately, I’ve been struggling with the side effects of the pill, including low libido. This makes me feel like an inadequate wife because sometimes DH has to try really hard to either convince me to ML, or to get me going once we start. I’ve never O’d before, and I think this is in part because of the pill.

    Anyway, that being said, I approached my DH about the issue in hopes that I would be able to stop the pill. We prayed about the issue, and I praise God that DH has come around to the idea of condoms only for BC. I asked him if he would be upset if we DID happen to get pregnant right away, and he said if that were the case, then God apparently thinks we’re ready for kids.

    So please keep us in your prayers that God will confirm that we’re making the best decision. Also, does anyone else struggle with a low sex drive as a result of hormonal BC?

  68. JnJ, I’ve been in a similar position before. I did have lower libido while on bc, and some other issues, so we switched to charting and condoms. It’s not perfect, but I do feel better without the guilt and the wacky hormones.

    I’ll say a prayer for you. It seems to always be a tough decision- I am convinced there is no perfect birth control method. At least if you get pregnant your body will be better balanced and healthier, and you can have peace about knowing God is sovereign.

    We were in college when we got married. I got pregnant the year before I graduated and ended up having to drop out. Not AT ALL what I planned, but I am so glad it happened that way. I realized that my major wasn’t really what I want to do, and as a mom I feel much better prepared to pursue what I believe to be my true calling, childbirth education. When my kids are a little older I may go back and finish my degree, then I’ll be in a better position to start a career, rather than starting a career in my 20s and then dropping it to have a family.

    Hope it works out for you. God bless!

  69. I would like to say I was on the pill for about 16 years, with breaks in there for my 2 pregnancies. I struggled extremely bad with low to no libido. It almost destroyed our marriage. I never wanted him touching me and even though I had great pleasure, I’m not sure that I ever orgasm’d. However, now that my husband has had a vasectomy (which i know isn’t an option for you right now since you want kids someday) I got to go off the pill. I can tell you that now that I am off and that I have found this site, I initiate sex so much more and I love it! I have O’d many times and honestly can’t get enough of my hubby.

    Good luck!

  70. JnJ, I’ve never used hormonal birth control but just wanted to encourage you to look into the fertility awareness methods. When we first married, this was what we used (in combination with condoms during my fertile times), and not only was it successful for us, but it was really amazing and fascinating to learn how intricately God created my body and fertility. We used materials from the Couple to Couple League; I also see a link to another site (Christian Family Planning) at the bottom of this page but am not personally familiar with it. Wishing you the best!

  71. Yes, I found that when I went off the pill my libido improved greatly. I didn’t expect that – hadn’t even suspected that the pill was a cause of that problem. I am using a diaphragm because neither of us likes condoms.

    Have you and your husband read the book Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Lehman? If you are having trouble with the O or getting in the mood, this is really a great book. I think it should be a “must read” for all married couples – even if you aren’t having any problems, it can help you take things to the next level.

  72. Talk to your doctor! Please don’t take medical advice from people on the internet. Low libido could be caused by anything, and it needs to be checked out by a professional. Even if you’re correct about it being because of your birth control, there are other options. They can change the hormonal dosage or even put you on a different kind of pill. For example, the one that I’m on, Levora, was designed to increase sex drive.

  73. Thanks for all of your support, ladies!

    Yes, our pastor had us read Sheet Music while we were engaged, which I think was a GREAT idea, since both of us were virgins on our wedding night and honestly had no idea what to expect. It’s a great book, maybe I should re-read it!

  74. Thanks for the advice, but my doctor was shocked that my hubby and I were both virgins and told me to get the HPV vaccine in case “you end up with different partners” so needless to say I don’t see that OBG anymore.

    But the point is, I don’t think hormonal BC is right for me. It’s messing with my body’s natural chemistry.

  75. Hi all,

    I would like to mention the LadyComp fertility computer as a fantastic option that is hormone free and super easy. It is based on the Fertility awareness method, but without all the complicated charting. I charted for several months before getting one of these and I LOVE it!

    You take your temperature with the device every morning. Once it fully knows your cycle, it will give you a green light (safe for sex) or a red light (not safe). It is pricey, around $400, but considering it lasts around 10 years the price is nothing compared to paying for pills. I have an average of 17 “safe” days per month.

    I have 4 children and had no trouble conceiving, we got pregnant right away every time, so I know I am highly fertile. I have been using this for almost 2 years without a hitch, so I have complete confidence in it.

    There are a lot of comments on this thread, so if someone has already mentioned it, then my apologies, but in skimming I didn’t see anything so wanted to throw it out there! LOVE this site, LOVE LOVE LOVE!! 🙂

  76. I’m getting married in three months and just started thinking about the birth control issue. I’m not sure what I feel comfortable with, but I’m not sure at this time that I feel comfortable with being on hormones, although it is something that I’m praying about. I find it a difficult decision especially because breast cancer is in my family and my mother’s breast cancer had high levels of estrogen. I know that I am not ready to have kids right away as my fiance and I have discussed enjoying the first couple years of marriage without children. I know that ultimately it is in God’s hands when we are ready to have children, but I feel this is something I need to be prepared for before we get to our wedding night. Thank you for sharing about the Lady-Comp. It is something that I would like to explore further. Can you speak a bit more on it? Do you find it to be as effective in preventing pregnancy as it is for conceiving? Thank you!

  77. I know this is an old comment, but I wanted to add that I have had the paragard IUD in for almost five years now, and it’s the best birth control I have ever used! And I have used almost everything out there. It was an extremely quick procedure putting it in. Oh I did have one issue with it, but it wasn’t the IUD itself-when I revisited my doctor about a week after having it put in, I told him my husband had complained about feeling the strings. (Which he had already trimmed when he put the IUD in) So he cut the strings flush with my cervix. My last exam, the doctor couldn’t find the strings, so when I decide to have it taken out, they have to dilate my cervix and it will be more complicated than it should be. So that sucks. But the doctor who examined me (not the same one who put the IUD in) said that the best thing is to leave the strings long, then they will fold in and hubby won’t feel them, but it can be removed easily. When the doc trims the strings, that’s when you get trouble. 😉

  78. there’s a thing called cycle beads which work on one of the most reliable methods of ovulation charting – best used in conjunction with another form such as condoms. but they are only suitable if you have a certain length of cycle, between 26-32 days i think. there is a company that manufactures them which has a suitability questionaire. i’m planning to use them as hormonal methods are unsuitable for me. we’re combining this with condoms – both have a 94% sucess rate when used properly, as i have no wish to get pregnant at present due to my health status. i’ll let you know how we get on.

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