Christian Birth Control Round-Up

Birth Control Round Up

Last Wednesday we had one of the most popular discussions on this blog about the Christian view of birth control and what form of birth control is best. Sites like drugnews.net offer articles on the side effects of medications if you would like to read more. I had to keep updating the post throughout the day because people left such great comments, and I wanted to add their information. In the original post, I talked about the two main viewpoints: some say it’s up to God to set the size of their family, so they don’t use birth control at all. Others choose to restrict the family size. I think both viewpoints are valid, but for those of you still looking for what birth control method is best, and which fits with your Christian values the most, read on.

I thought I’d write a round-up of the comments, and some of the discussion. In the original post, I didn’t really present my viewpoint, but instead just listed the pros and cons of all the methods. After reading the comments, and reading my manuscript for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex (I had to send in the final proofs last week), I thought I’d be brave and share what I do think.

First, let me list my regrets, which are quite similar to those listed in the comments. The Pill just killed my libido. I went on the Pill like just about everyone I knew when I got married. That’s just what everyone did in the late eighties and early nineties. I could make sure that I wasn’t going to have my period on my wedding night, and that seemed like a pretty good benefit!

However, it’s not a good thing to start your marriage with no sex drive. And it’s even worse to start it really moody, which is exactly what happened to me. Here’s what one commenter said:

Whenever my friends are getting married, I always tell them about my experience with the Pill. I started the Pill when I was 15 (I was a virgin, but I was having stomach issues and they thought the Pill would help it, hah) so when I married my hubby at 19 i just decided to keep using the Pill. Worst idea ever! Being a virgin, I had no idea what to expect with all the technical bodily stuff. Looking back, I realize the Pill made me extremely dry (virtually no natural lubricant), so it made sex much more painful for me than normal. The Pill also made me a crazy hormonal monster! But because I had been on it for so long, I didn’t realize how crazy it made me. Fast forward to June of 2010, I decided to stop taking the Pill because I had just had 3 surgeries all within a year of each other and I just wanted to get my body back to normal. Oh my gosh, what a difference it has made!! Sex is SOO much more wonderful and amazing without it! Let’s just say as soon as I stopped the Pill, I was “in the mood” all the time! I was not dry anymore, and I felt wonderful. I always felt frustrated, stressed out, and negative when on the Pill, but now I really feel like a whole new person!

And here’s another making a different point about the Pill:

We don’t prevent anymore, but there was a time when I was on the pill, and we did try using condoms for a while. For me the pill did not do anything for my cramps, and after a few years, it stopped regulating my cycle. Those were not the reasons I went off it, but I think it’s worth noting. It also seemed like a waste of money. The breakdown was about $2 a pill–including the placebos–to prevent something that can only happen a limited number of times resulting from an activity that only happens a certain number of times in the year. In other words, I have to use it even when I’m not going to have sex, and even when conception would not occur anyway.

Personally, two years into our marriage I went off of the Pill when we wanted to get pregnant, and I never went back. I hadn’t realized at the time that the Pill was the thing that was affecting my libido, and that it was the Pill that was making moody. But as soon as I stopped taking it, I cheered up (even though I was pregnant and hormonal with the baby).

Every hormonal form of birth control, whether it’s the ring or the Pill or the injection, works basically the same way, by secreting a hormone that stops ovulation (or, as some literature suggests, allows ovulation at times and prevents implantation). So even if you’re not taking the Pill, if you’re taking something hormonal, you could have the same problems.

Not everyone experiences this. Not everyone is moody. And for some people, it works great. A few commenters swore by the Pill.

Others noted, though, that the Pill has definitely been linked to blood clots and stroke (yaz side effects shows this), and some studies say it may be linked to breast cancer (some studies show that it is, but others show that it isn’t, and I am wary about taking a stand since I’m not medical. But it could very well be an issue). There’s also the controversy about whether or not it truly does prevent ovulation each and every time. I don’t believe that this is clear-cut, but if it’s even a slight risk, do you really want to take it? So if you’re on the Pill, or you’re considering going on something hormonal, really think and pray and research it.

UPDATE: My commenters are awesome! I have seen medical literature saying that it prevents ovulation, not implantation, but one commenter went on a bunch of websites and copied out what the companies themselves said, and in their own claims they note that it prevents implantation. For instance, here’s the commenter’s discovery about one popular pill:

OrthoTriCyclen Pill:
http://www.thepill.com/thepill/assets/How_the_Pill_Works.pdf
Secondary Methods
The hormones in ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® LO also cause changes in the body that help prevent pregnancy.
• Taking the Pill causes the lining of the uterus to change, which makes it hard for an egg to
be implanted.
• It also thickens mucus around the cervix—making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

The commenter has lots more, so go read what Emily found! (End Update)

As for the IUD, while some commenters loved it, others were concerned about the possible link to future miscarriages or infertility, and similar problems to preventing implantation rather than conception. Again, I’m not medical, and so I’m not capable of judging which medical studies are right. I’d just simply say do your research.

After thinking about it, the method that I feel the most comfortable with, and the one that I will be encouraging my daughters one day to use, is FAM, or Fertility Awareness Method. Here’s the gist: you figure out when you’re fertile, either by checking your temperature daily, checking your cervical fluid, or using one of the devices you can buy at a drug store. You chart your cycle, and figure out when you’re fertile each month. Generally, women are fertile for about 5 days: 2 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation, and 2 days afterwards. Sperm can live for several days, so if you make love 2 days before you ovulate, those sperm could still fertilize an egg. The egg is fertile for about 3 days, so those days after ovulation are also possible times for conception.

If you know which these days are, you can either abstain from sex on those days, or use a barrier method (like a condom or a diaphragm) or spermicide on those days. However, don’t just assume that you ovulate on day 14! Most women don’t. But if you very carefully chart your temperature, or keep track of your cervical fluid, and then use barriers on your fertile days, the pregnancy rate is about the same as the condom and the Pill–less than 3%. So it is a very accurate method of birth control–as long as you are accurate in your charting! It takes discipline on your part, but if you are disciplined, it can really work.

Here’s what’s good about this method: you get really used to your own body, and learn to pay better attention to it. Honestly, the more you understand your body, the more likely you are to enjoy sex anyway. Often we women spend so much time ignoring our bodies’ cues, because we don’t really like thinking about our bodies. This makes us think about them, and that can often make us more comfortable with ourselves, and thus more able to relax about our sexual selves.

The other good thing? For the majority of the time, you don’t have to worry about any form of birth control at all, because you know when you’re not fertile.

Now, the downside is that it takes discipline and diligence. But apparently you don’t need to be totally regular. It can still work.

If you want more information about this, I’d really encourage you to check out the Christian Family Planning Network. They provide lots of advice on how to make this work, forums where you can talk to other women, lots of charts, and even an online course to get you started, helping you to understand your fertility, your cycle, your body’s changes, and more. And the neat thing is that not only does it teach you how NOT to get pregnant; if you do want to get pregnant, and you’re irregular, it teaches you how to do that, too!

I wish I had started my marriage this way. Does it mean you won’t get pregnant by accident? Nope. But there never are guarantees. The good thing is that if you are aware of your body, you really are less likely to. And perhaps if we had started this way, and had realized that we don’t need to use condoms or a diaphragm throughout the entire month, and we don’t need to be on the Pill, I would have been less likely to agree to the vasectomy, and I may have more children right now! Again, some commenters were so grateful for the surgical methods (they had health issues that made further pregnancies dangerous, or they already had a pile of kids), but many, like me, regretted using that final solution.

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Now I’m not saying that all other forms of birth control are bad.I really have no problem with condoms, but I figure, why use them all the time if you really don’t need to? But fully research all methods before you use something that could really affect your body, like an IUD or hormonal methods. You need to be comfortable with them from a health and a moral point of view.

So, I’d go with FAM. But I know it’s a very personal decision. What do you think?

Sheila is the author of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex–with tons of information on how to make sex a beautiful, intimate, and FUN experience in your marriage!

Comments

  1. Well, I know I’m not going to make any friends here, but I am kind of shocked that you’ve never mentioned just letting God take care of the birth “control”. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to very many Christian women at all that stopping people from happening might not be in His will at all. Or that He might have better plans for them than one or two kids and a career.

    Not to mention that, except for condoms and FAM, every method of birth control stands a very good chance of aborting a baby at some point. Pills don’t always prevent ovulation. Sometimes they just prevent the new life from implanting in the uterus.

    I’m really a little disappointed that you don’t mention that there is whole other opinion out there, and it’s not just for Catholics: that sex wasn’t created so we could enjoy ourselves, and then maybe have babies if we feel like it. It was created so that we could help God in creating souls for his kingdom. We’re so immersed in the contraceptive culture that it never even occurs to us that separating sex from reproduction might possibly subvert the entire natural order that God has built.
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    • Cindy, thanks for your comment. I actually did mention that quite a bit in the first post, but I wanted to follow up with what other people said about birth control methods, because there was still debate on what I was actually recommending if you did want to use birth control. But in the first post, I made the point that I believe both views are valid: both restricting the size of the family, and leaving it all to God. I do believe both views are valid.

      I also am very sympathetic to the idea that many of the forms of birth control prevent implantation vs. ovulation, as I said, but the problem is that coming from a family of physicians, as I do, I have also seen tons of studies on the other side. In the Christian world, we tend to all talk about the ones that show that it prevents implantation. But I have talked to a ton of Christian OB/GYNs who do not believe that.

      From my perspective, if there’s even a chance that’s you’re preventing implantation rather than just conception, I wouldn’t go near it, but I wouldn’t want to state definitively that it does prevent implantation because I am NOT a scientist. And Christian scientists do not all agree on this issue (though some websites make it seem as if they do). So that’s why I have a hard time stating it definitively. But I would still go very far away from it, because I would never want to risk it!

      I do appreciate your perspective, and I’ll add another update pointing people to what I said in the original post.

      • Sheila, I’m also aware of many pro-life and Christan Physician groups that for some reason waver on whether or not HBC can be an abortifacient. Typically from the information I’ve read it has to do more with the definition of life and whether they believe life begins at conception VS implantation. I’m not aware of any HBC or IUD etc that does not list disruption of implantation as a basic mechanism of the product. I guess I have a very hard time seeing this as a grey issue. A recent article that really spoke to this and I thinks sums up my thoughts well can be found here: http://nfptulsa.com/2011/11/personhood-and-the-pill/

        Thank you for posting on this wonderful topic! Open dialog is such a need in the search for truth!

        My husband and I are Catholic and follow the Church’s teachings using NFP to postpone pregnancy when it is necessary. How beautiful that God gave us such simple ways to determine our fertility and work with Him in being responsible parents. We believe the default should always be an active generosity to life, but we also know that in order to care for ourselves, our spouse, and the children we have already been blessed with, postponing pregnancy is sometimes necessary.

        Also thank you to the CFPN for their work in this area and the discussion they are fostering. They obviously care deeply for their members and those they minister to.

        • Kristin, I can’t tell you how excited I am to actually see that the companies themselves admit it prevents implantation. It makes my role so much easier! I honestly have been at conferences with Christian OB/GYNs who don’t think it prevents implantation, and because I come from such a medical family (seriously, everyone’s a doctor but me), I assumed they were all correct. But if the companies claim it, then I can go somewhere with this. Thank you!

          • We see a lot of terms like “might” and “may” and “could” because no one wants to make an absolute declaration. But the fact is that there’s no mechanism whereby hormonal contraception can prevent implantation. Though progesterone can produce some thinning of the cervical wall like mifeprestone (an actual abortifacient), it cannot produce enough thinning quickly enough to block implantation. That’s been confirmed and re-confirmed through numerous studies.

            Companies say it “might” block implantation because hormonal contraception has been shown to work more reliably than if it was only blocking ovulation. But the added reliability is due to the thickening of cervical mucus, not any post-implantation effects (because, as stated, those aren’t possible).

            And even if there WAS a tiny, tiny chance that hormonal contraception MIGHT prevent implantation…would that be reason to avoid it? I don’t think so. Orange juice can prevent implantation. So can smoking, or working out, or drinking, or a host of other activities. We don’t say that women should avoid all those things 100% of the time on the off chance that they might be preventing an implantation.

    • mommawithfour says:

      Thank you Cindy!! God does state in his word that children are a blessing and a gift from Him. So in our selfish day and age we decide that we want limit the blessing of the Lord and choose how many God can give us. What about having open hands and hearts in all areas of our lives?

      Currently we are blessed with 4 and a wee one in Heaven.

      I asked my non-Chirstian doctor if there are any forms of birth control (besides the natural or condoms) that do not kill life, she looked me straight in the eye and said “they all terminate life.”

      • I do understand what you both are saying, but I’d appreciate it if you’d also understand that there are some who don’t feel that they can just let God choose their family. For instance, what about someone with a severely disabled child who needs their attention? (I’ve been in this situation). What about someone who is carrying the gene for Fragile X, so that each boy that they conceive will be autistic? What about a woman with major back problems, and each child she has aggravates that condition so that she can no longer look after those she does have? (I have a friend like this, too, and her family is really suffering). What about people who have chronic miscarriages and can’t carry most babies to term? Or what about a woman who is carrying a disease where 25% of her babies will die? (Again, I have a friend like this, and they chose to foster and adopt rather than having their own biological children). Or finally, what about a woman who has several children, and is feeling that if she were to have more, she wouldn’t be able to mother them properly? (I have also seen many large families where the mom became so ill that the oldest children cared for the youngest). Or what about a woman who just wants to wait two years, until her husband is done his 120 hour residency in medicine, so that he can actually be home to enjoy the baby and not miss out on that child’s life (as my husband did).

        Obviously not everyone who uses birth control are in these stark positions. I’m just saying that to make a blanket rule can also be damaging. Should a woman who is carrying a terminal disease have to watch 25% of her kids die, or would it be better for her to adopt those children who need parents, and form a family that way? It isn’t always cut and dry. And I have known many women who were told not to have more kids because of their health. So I just think that we all need to show each other grace. Some women will be able to have all the kids that God gives her, but some won’t.

        I really respect women who choose to leave their family size and timing entirely to God, but I do not think this needs to be a blanket injunction for all women. I would just appreciate it if we could all show grace to each other, and respect each other’s choices, because I do believe that many women, on both sides of the issue, have really wrestled it out with God. I find that FAM is a great middle ground, because ultimately it still is up to God. And if you’re only using condoms on a few days of the month, then you really are leaving everything open.

        I also have two wee ones in heaven, by the way, and that was also one reason why we decided to stop trying to have children, just because of their heart conditions. Sometimes other factors are at play.

        • Agreed, Sheila. Speaking in anecdotes, I have some friends that both have the gene for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and they pass it on to their kids. They love children and would have had lots of kids, but of the three they have, one is dead and another is dying. It was their particular situation that really changed my heart about people using birth control. Giving people some grace in their lives seems like the best way to show them love. We have no idea why people are or are not choosing to use birth control.

          • Exactly, Joanna! Thanks! I think it’s important that we value each perspective, because we really don’t know. And I do think that each perspective really is valid, if you’ve wrestled it out with God.

          • mommawithfour says:

            I do see the point there and do not know what we would do in a situation that my life was in true danger. For me pregnancies are horrible, I throw up multiple times a day, have hip issues to the point of limited movement and several other issues, but I am blessed to carry this gift of life, I am not dying. God never promised the easy way out if we truly follow Him. I have a friend who is blessed with 10 and every child that she bore in true joy was putting her life at serious risk. Finally at baby 10 the dr told her husband that she needed to cut off children for the sake of the mother, if your child will be born with a medical condition could that not bring glory to the Lord too? a child with a condition is a gift from God too, I know this to be true as I have two severly disabled siblings, I am the oldest of 9. My mom miscarried at least 6 known times, yet they trusted the Lord for their family size. I do not judge others at all for their personal decisions – but think about how many people in history would not be here if their parents took into consideration their family size or physical conditon, George Washington was not an only child and neither was John Wesly. Rick and Jan Hess have a great book on this called “Full Quiver”

          • davidstarlingm says:

            It would be awfully silly of us to think that we are the first culture to understand and use methods of birth control. Are we SO much smarter than all of the people throughout history who recognized that conception and menses were connected?

            We’re simply the first culture with sufficiently advanced medical care that the vast majority of pregnancies result in successful birth. Yes, life is a gift, but wisdom and love dictate that we should not be indiscriminate with the frequency that we bring life into the world. Prudence is highly prized in scripture.

            With the state of medical care the way it is today, most pregnancies result in successful birth. As a result, a couple that has sex frequently and regularly isn’t “leaving it up to God”; they’re guaranteeing a pregnancy within the first four months after the wife stops breast feeding. And while there are plenty of passages in the Bible praising a large family (which wasn’t really possible in Biblical times without multiple wives), there is nothing in Scripture to indicate that Christians have a moral responsibility to breed as often as possible.

          • Thanks, David. I’d agree with you that prudence is highly valued, and I agree that today things are very different because children actually live. Thanks for your perspective!

      • Wow. It’s pretty rare to get a doctor to say that up front. My midwife is very circumspect about it. All I got from her when I asked was “Oh, I don’t think you’d want to do anything chemical.” Which is true. I was asking for informational purposes. I wouldn’t dream of telling God how big He gets to make our family. ;0)
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  2. As a matter of fact, Sheila, I’ll be raving about my favorite birth control method in my Thursday post. I understand the “let go, let God” perspective here, and I am continually wowed by those families who have many children and care for them beautifully. There are, however, plenty of Christians who believe that God is okay with His people using tools to limit the number of children so that they can better care for each child, knowing what their personal resources are. For instance, I know a woman who experienced terrible post-partum depression after each childbirth. I also know a couple who limited biological children, after a series of miscarriages, and then were in a position to adopt a child in need. Ultimately, children are indeed a blessing from God, and we need to prayerfully make these decisions. Thanks for your coverage of this topic, Sheila!
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  3. newlymarried says:

    We decided to use FAM when we got married. We researched a lot of different types of birth control, and even lost sleep over it. In the end we felt most at peace with FAM because of it’s harmlessness and ability to reverse roles when we decided to try and conceive. We do not feel that we are hindering God’s plan for our lives – in fact we feel as though we are carrying it through. We prayed about this decision and felt that we were doing what God was pressing us to do. We do not feel that we are emotionally, financially, or spiritually ready to have children in our lives yet, though God will ultimately make this decision for us when the time is right. We also believe that we need to be praying and seeking his will constantly – and we will reverse the purpose of FAM when we believe God is pressing us to do so. Thank you for posting this blog post!

    • I think that’s oneof the best parts of FAM–that it can be used both ways. You get used to your body, and then if you WANT to get pregnant, you’re one step further ahead.

  4. Sheila,

    Thank you so much for linking up to the Christian Family Planning Network (CFPN)! One thing I forgot to mention is that the CFPN also has a forum for single women whether they’re in college and in a serious relationship, or older teenagers who are looking for more information about what their bodies are doing. We encourage all our single and engaged members to remain abstinent until marriage. So… if any of your readers, or daughters, fit that bill, we’d welcome them with open arms as well! :D

    For me, I love the fact that God has created within a woman’s body the ability to show when we’re fertile, and when we’re not. He also made it so that these signs change if there are reproductive issues that need to be investigated. We used FAM to avoid pregnancy for a year after we were married even though my cycles are on the long side of normal, and somewhat irregular. After that year of avoiding, we decided to try to get pregnant… and we’re still trying over three years later. So… just to address the previous commenters who have chosen to allow God to choose their family size, I have great respect for that view point too, because despite our best intentions, God still is in control. Based on my family’s fertility history, I could have had one or two kids in the last three years, but obviously, that’s not His plan for us.

    All that to say, while the CFPN exists to encourage women to use FAM or NFP (as opposed to the Pill, IUD, etc), we also welcome those who have chosen NOT to chart their natural fertility cycles as a way of family planning. We also welcome women who are still on the Pill, but are looking to stop using it, or those who are using the Pill for medical reasons (like controlling endometriosis), though we expect them to respect the purpose of the site, which is to enable women to quit using hormonal methods, and have a successful journey with the Fertility Awareness Method or Natural Family Planning.

    We hope you’ll all come join us (even you Sheila!). We’d love it if you’d come join our conversations!

  5. My husband and I are using NFP (charting with abstinence during fertile times). When we were engaged and talking about birth control, we both knew we were very uncomfortable with HBC and IUDs. I didn’t do research on conservative Christian sites. I went straight to the HBC and IUD sites and looked at how THEY claimed their birth control worked. We did not find a single one that we as Christians who believe life begins at conception were comfortable taking.

    We believe in God’s sovereignty and know that if He wanted us to have a child before we thought we did, He would have done that. The only thing we were doing to “avoid” was timing, and He could have changed my ovulation time, etc. And now, as we switch to using charting to conceive instead of trying to avoid, I know that He will bless us with a child(ren) as He ordains.

    We also need to remember that we live in a fallen, sinful world. Any *healthy* children are absolute miracles. Bad things and disease happen because of the Fall…good things are God’s mercy and grace. We know that God will strengthen and grow us to raise the child(ren) He gives us, and He’ll build our family the way He wants, whether it is through natural children, adoption, or foster care.

    • Emily, that’s great that you’ve done so much research! I’d be really interested in any of those links you found if the HBC and IUD makers admitted that it stopped implantation, and not just conception, because I have medical articles saying the opposite, and if they actually admit it, I so want to publish that. Like I said, I wouldn’t want to take the risk if there’s even a chance, but if they’re admitting that it’s more than just a chance, then I would really love to see that!

      • Sheila, have you seen the documentary “28 Days On the Pill”? I’m not sure if it firmly answers your question regarding whether or not the Pill companies come right out and say that the Pill has an impact on implantation, but I do know that they consult a mainstream resource regarding medicines and their side effects,

        You can watch the documentary at http://www.28daysonthepill.com. They have a short 7 minute version, and a longer 46 minute version. On their website, they also link to a number of official Pill websites and physician’s labels so that people can see what the companies really claim, and not just what their doctor tells them!

        • Awesome, I’m going to check that out! Like I said, if I can see that the companies themselves claim it, then I will shout it from the rooftops. So I will go and look!

      • For some of the products, you have to search their site to find the “how it works” section. For example, on Nuvaring’s site, I had to find the “product insert” PDF to find out the true mechanisms.

        These are only a few brands, but I think I found most of the choices (pill, IUD, shot, implant, ring, patch):

        Mirena IUS: http://www.mirena.com/en/public/contraceptive_choices/intrauterine_system/index.php
        “How the intrauterine system works”- The intrauterine system has several effects on your body, which together make it a highly effective contraceptive option. Levonorgestrel, the active ingredient that is released from the intrauterine system cylinder, causes thickening of the cervical mucus (the fluid secreted by glands around the cervix, the neck of the womb), thus making it harder for sperm to pass through the birth canal1. In addition, it prevents thickening of the womb lining and in some women ovulation (release of the egg) may be prevented.

        Mirena IUD: http://www.mirena.com/en/public/contraceptive_choices/intrauterine_device/index.php
        “How the intrauterine device works”- A copper intrauterine device affects reproduction at an early stage by preventing fertilization. The copper element of the intrauterine device is toxic to sperm and eggs. The intrauterine device also physically blocks sperm from reaching the egg. Furthermore, it has an effect on the lining on the womb that makes it harder for an egg to implant there
        Note: The intrauterine device (IUD) is also known as ‘the coil’ or copper IUD.

        Mirena Contraceptive Injection:
        http://www.mirena.com/en/public/contraceptive_choices/contraceptive_injection/index.php
        “How the contraceptive injection works”- The hormone within the 3-monthly contraceptive injection prevents the eggs in your ovaries from ripening. If an egg is not released from the ovaries during your menstrual cycle, it cannot become fertilised by sperm and result in pregnancy1. The hormone also causes changes in the lining of your womb that makes it less likely for pregnancy to occur and thickens the mucus (fluid secreted by the cervical glands) at the entrance of the womb, making it more difficult for sperm to enter.
        The 3-monthly contraceptive injection works for 12 weeks, and it cannot be reversed once given, unlike the intrauterine system, intrauterine device and the contraceptive implant that can be removed at any time with an immediate return to fertility.

        Mirena Contraceptive Implant:
        http://www.mirena.com/en/public/contraceptive_choices/contraceptive_implant/index.php
        “How the contraceptive implant works”- The contraceptive implant contains etonogestrel, a synthetic progestogen hormone which is released into the bloodstream. Etonogestrel stops eggs developing in your ovaries and their subsequent release, thereby preventing fertilization and hence pregnancy. It also thickens the mucus (the secreted fluid) at the cervix, which is the entry to your womb, thus making it harder for sperm to reach an egg for potential fertilization. Furthermore, the hormone also thins the lining of your womb, reducing the ability of an egg to implant there.

        OrthoTriCyclen Pill:
        http://www.thepill.com/thepill/assets/How_the_Pill_Works.pdf
        Secondary Methods
        The hormones in ORTHO TRI-CYCLEN® LO also cause changes in the body that help prevent pregnancy.
        • Taking the Pill causes the lining of the uterus to change, which makes it hard for an egg to
        be implanted.
        • It also thickens mucus around the cervix—making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

        Nuvaring
        http://www.spfiles.com/pinuvaring.pdf
        Combination hormonal contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary effect of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus (which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus) and the endometrium (which reduce the likelihood of implantation).

        OrthoEvra Patch:
        http://www.orthoevra.com/what-is-patch-how-patch-work.html
        Following this process, the Patch works the same way that pills do: by preventing ovulation. This means that the ovary does not release an egg to be fertilized. It also thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus, and it changes the endometrium, which is the mucus membrane that lines the uterus, to reduce the chance of implantation.

        • Wow. So great. Okay, this came at the perfect time because I’m editing the birth control section on the manuscript of The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex right as we speak. I’m going to put in some of these links. So some of them actually claim that they prevent implantation, not ovulation. Wow. Thank you so much for doing my research (aren’t readers wonderful)?

        • i have a question – if the mirena IUD prevents fertilization, then the issue of implantation/conception is a moot point – yes or no?
          I’m just curious…
          more than curious, this was the method i used for many years after prayerfully deciding what to do.
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          • I’m not sure what to say, Nylse. I guess the way that I’m reading what the companies are saying would be this: “this prevents fertilization, but if fertilization occurs, it also prevents implantation.” I’m not sure why it would mention the implantation issue if there weren’t a possibility that it would be necessary. But I really don’t know. And I think that if you’ve used it in the past, you need to leave it in the past. I used the Pill in the past, too, and I wish I hadn’t. But there’s nothing you can do about it now, so just try to leave it there!

          • thanks…its definitely in the past. i never second guessed my decision, and i’ve known christians who feel as you do. i never regretted it. i’m glad you dont know.
            my doctor explained it to me as forcing the sperm to make a detour so that it never met the egg…that was good enough for me.
            i just think we all need to be cautious about painting things with a broad stroke.
            nylse recently posted…Good GiftsMy Profile

  6. Wow, Sheila, what a blessing for you to mention the Christian Family Planning network! :D

    I’m obviously sold out on FAM (as a moderator at CFPN and a “long time” user… since even before my marriage 3.5 years ago). I have to reiterate though that it is EASY, super flexible to your needs, opens lines of communication and is scientifically just as effective as the Pill (99%) when used correctly. This is actually quite amazing when you consider that the method has no side effects and is immediately reversible. For me it also comes down to doing the least harm… I know I am not causing even the slightest potential harm through observing my body’s natural signs and the cyclical nature of the female body’s function. I cannot say this with certainty for any other method of birth control.

    I understand what others have said about limiting God and making choices that may not honor him. As with many “open handed” doctrines, there is quite a bit of room for interpretation of scripture (or lack thereof) as it relates to this area. Being Christians we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, to convict and to guide, to aid in spiritual growth. In this case, I am personally convicted that hormonal forms of birth control, as they relate to life beginning at conception, are abortive and therefore wrong for me EVEN THOUGH others may not share this conviction. After prayer and consideration, my husband and I are also not pursuing starting a family right now, EVEN THOUGH others may be convicted that avoiding having children is somehow “not trusting God.” There are those on the Christian Family Planning Network who do not believe in using FAM to avoid (only to conceive or observe), or in using barriers. There are also those who actively avoid using various types of birth “control.” We are diverse and yet we believe in the same Living God, the Bible as the divine Word, and Jesus Christ. There is a balance of love and respect, and yet teaching, education, and reproof… is this not the community and the Church?

    I feel it is my obligation to share with others what I have learned about the abortifacient properties of hormonal birth control, and yet I am well aware that not all will agree… and I am still called to love :)

    • Thanks, Amanda! I hope lots of women join you, because I really think one of the best benefits, too, is that you get to know your body so much better. That’s going to help you in your marriage as well! And yes, we all may have come to different conclusions, but we share the same God. I would really reiterate what you said, and encourage every woman who uses hormonal birth control or an IUD just to really investigate it. I’m not going to say it’s absolutely wrong, because like I said, I have seen research both ways. But I do think it’s such an important issue, and people need to be comfortable with their choice before God.

  7. Thanks, Sheila, for your thoughtful post highlighting the benefits of FAM! We’ve used FAM successfully to avoid for around 2 1/2 years before we decided to try to conceive, and have since had our daughter. We’re continuing to use FAM (well, really more lactational amenorrhea or LAM at this point since I’m breastfeeding, but continuing to monitor my fertility signs to see when they will return).

    Regarding letting God choose the family size, I understand that point of view. However there are times and seasons in life where it is best to avoid, in my opinion (naturally spacing children so Mom can stay healthy and sane, for example; or so that people can get in good financial shape, for example while they are paying off debts). I believe God gave us these fertility signs to use prudently to enlarge or limit the family size. And of course, He can still make surprises happen!

    I, too, have been blessed by the ministry of the Christian Family Planning Network and have enjoyed the fellowship and wisdom of the folk there for about 2 years now. :)
    Joelle recently posted…How to make lower-fat rotiMy Profile

    • Joelle, that is a neat way to look at it: that God gave us signs about our fertility so that we could decide what we want to do. I like that.

  8. Thanks Sheila for the insights on FAM. I believe that God has given us a free will in the matters of our family size and all. I believe that a couple should settle on the method that is both convinient healthwise to the woman and that the hubby is comfortable with. The rest is very personal, really.
    Millicent recently posted…When all is said and done.My Profile

    • Very true. And perhaps I didn’t stress that enough: you have to do something that your husband is comfortable with, too!

  9. I think that God made our cycles fairly easy to read for a reason! Just like with any decision we as Christians have to make, we have to exam our hearts and make sure our motives are pure and not selfish. Do we want to avoid because we have a fancy vacaction coming up in 9 monhts, or do we avoid because we know that a surgery is coming up?

    FAM lets a couple discuss and decide each cycle what their motives for avoiding are and ALL couples I know that use FAM are very aware of the fact that God can create life anyways! FAM does NOT interfer with a woman’s cycles like hormonal methods of birth control do.

    I believe there is nothing wrong with using a non-hormonal form of family planning to avoid pregnancy as long as you keep communication with the Lord open and continually ask for His direction.

  10. As a past member and moderator of the CFPN, I so appreciate this post and your last one discussing birth control methods. FAM has become a passion for me, and it’s so good to see it being shared, and to see CFPN mentioned! As I said, I am no longer a member there, but still keep in touch with the ladies who welcomed me and made me feel so at home while I was there! The encouragement and advice I received while a member was invaluable, and I will always be grateful to Stephanie for having a vision for sharing FAM and launching this awesome ministry!

    • Thanks, Katie! I guess I’m late on the bandwagon, but it’s great that God is raising a new generation of women to talk about it!

  11. To make assumptions that everyone’s situation is the same as yours is unkind and ignorant. Not all Christians have the same view. I believe that God has given us knowledge so that we can use it. That being said, I also believe that no birth control will work if God wants you to have another baby. ALL birth control has a failure rate. I have gotten pregnant while using FAM, and i believe that baby (which I am currently carrying) was God’s choice. We weren’t sure we were ready for another one, at that time. We were still getting over a difficult miscarriage and weren’t ready to move on to a new baby yet. We hadn’t finished grieving for the one we lost. We are happy to be having another baby now, but after losing a baby, it was very scary for us. we needed time to to come to terms with it without worrying that another pregnancy was right around the corner. i’m glad we had that time to come together as a family, enjoy our first born some more, and heal. i’m glad there was an option out there for us that would leave a small window open for God, without making me feel like another prengnacy was immanent, as i am extremely fertile. If we are truly Christians, we will respect other people’s choices and not judge them for making ones different than our own.

    I also find offense with the comment about choosing to have one or two kids so you can have a career. I know plenty of people who want one or two children only, so that they can focus all their attention on just a few children…not so that they can still work. some people think they cannot parent the way they want to with more than one or two children. i am one of those people. i will love and cheish any children i am blessed with, be that 2 or 10, but i also know my limitations and know that i can only be the best mother i can be to a smaller number of children. everyone is different though, and i do not assume every mother is the same as me. there are mothers of large families who enjoy having lots and lots of children and wouldn’t be happy with anything less. those are the women who should be having big families, not the ones who are already feeling the strain after a few.

    there are also financial situations to take into account. we could not afford more than 2-3 children, no matter how we budget or what sacrifices we make. there simply is not enough money to go around for us. unless we want to start getting extra jobs (we both already work full time), which will take us away from our children more, we cannot afford to have a lot of children.

    • Robyn, I really do agree with you, but I also don’t think those commenters were deliberately unkind or ignorant. I think they’ve truly thought it out and prayed it out, and believe that sex and procreation are inseparable (which is a legitimate view). I agree that those who believe that we shouldn’t limit family size shouldn’t judge those who believe differently, but we also need to careful that we don’t judge them, either. I think that God asks different things of different people, as you said, and I hope that we can all have the grace to let each other make our own decisions!

      • I wasn’t saying the people who made the comments are ignorant themselves. I purposedly did not mention names or reply directly to the other commentors to make that distinction clear. I feel that when we all make assumptions we are all being unkind and unfair. we are being ignorant in the fact that we can’t possibly know someone else’s situation and are by definition being ignorant.

        however, i do feel that some of the commentors were being unkind. maybe not on purpose, but some certainly carried air of self righteousness with their comments. one in particular that i thought was unkind was “It doesn’t seem to have occurred to very many Christian women at all that stopping people from happening might not be in His will at all. Or that He might have better plans for them than one or two kids and a career. ” i’m sure many Christian women have thougnt long and hard about this.

        • Thanks, Robyn. Yes, I think you’re right, in that many Christian women have thought and prayed about it. You’re right; we should just extend grace to each other.

  12. Another FAM-user here! I understand what others are saying about letting God have full control over the creation of a new little soul, and not trying to prevent at your own whims. With that being said, I am currently 8 months pregnant with our little surprise who was conceived while I was charting to avoid getting pregnant! We are blessed and happy, and God was obviously able to “overcome” our method of birth control. :)

    FAM has blessed our family in so many ways. I no longer feel sick or guilty about using the pill, which made me into a psycho woman. I now have a new appreciation for the way God created my body. I am able to help my friends understand why their period is late, or even just learn about the different phases of their cycles. I also feel equipped to teach my future daughters about their bodies and, when appropriate, about how they can chart to heighten their chances of avoiding or conceiving.

    I truly believe that FAM is the “lost” method of birth control that so, so many women could benefit from. I also know many Catholic families who use FAM without using a barrier method during fertile periods, which says to me that FAM is quite universal, though some will (obviously) disagree. I am slightly over-the-top when it comes to talking about FAM, simply because it has helped me and my family SO much, and I am passionate about informing others, especially since most other methods of birth control can cause defects and abortions.

    Thank you for your post. I hope that it sheds new light on birth control options!

    • Hi, Leanna! I’m glad you’re excited about your surprise :)!

      And I’m glad you’re not a psycho woman, too. Been there, done that. :)

  13. I’m also a big proponent of FAM. My mother & father used NFP for all their children and timed us how they wanted (almost two years apart each, exactly). Then, after the third child, my mother had such bad varicose veins in her legs, the doctor told her not to have any other children or she would not be able to walk again. So my parents successfully continued the use of NFP (and still do today as my mother has just barely started entering into Menopause).

    As a teenager, I had slightly irregular periods and so was put on the pill (I was NOT sexually active but remained a virgin until my wedding night). It actually made things worse. I gained a ton of weight, became incredibly moody, and my periods suddenly became excruciatingly painful. I was only on the pill for about 6-12 months, but it did irreversible damage. My periods were completely unpredictable after coming off the pill and the cramps I had never had before the pill were crippling. My moods never evened out again either, but continued as they had when I was on the pill.

    When we married, my husband was not comfortable with FAM when we first started our marriage, but due to the abortifacient aspects of hormonal birth control (even planned parenthood’s website admits to this) and my bad prior experience with the pill, we went with a condom (we were both in graduate school and though we both desperately wanted children, it seemed to be poor stewardship to have then then). We tentatively started switching to FAM while we were still in school but made the full switch-over during the last year of school when we started trying to conceive. It is the use of FAM that helped us to realize that my long cycles were due to rarely ovulating. After charting for a couple years, we had enough data that we were able to get some medical help. After 3 1/2 years from when we first started trying to conceive, I finally got pregnant. This is without any invasive procedures and possible only because of the charting we had done. It allowed our doctor (who was familiar with charting) to be able to figure out why I wasn’t ovulating. He helped us to balance out my hormones, where were still out of wack from the pill – 10 years before. My moods evened out, my cramps lessened, and my period became more regular. My doctor did admit that he’d seen this before in women who had been put on the pill at a young age.

    I could go one, but I’ll stop here. Obviously I’m a big proponent of this form of “birth control” if you want to call it that. I think that you are using the signs that God created our bodies to give us. You are working with your body, not against it. Best of all, you and your doctor can see when things are going wrong and nip some serious health conditions in the bud (my doctor told me of one lady who charted and one month things were different than her normal, she went into her doctor, who also knew about charting, and they found she had cervical cancer. It was caught earlier than it ever had been before, due to her charting. She was able to beat it quickly as a result).

    Okay, one last thing, I think it is absolutely amazing how much our bodies communicate about our health and state of being to us. I think it is just one more nail in the coffin to the theory of evolution and one more piece of evidence that we were created by an intelligent designer (whom I know to be the Trinitarian God of Christianity)

    • Great story, Michele! Thanks for sharing. I will echo your experience of being on the Pill to regulate periods as a teen. One teen very close to me did the same thing, and she gained 40 pounds. Luckily, when she came off it, most of the weight disappeared, too, and her periods became more normal.

  14. I also respect all view points and am encouraged by moms of large families. One of my mentors is a mom of 12.
    I however, decided not to continue having children.
    I had a miscarriage followed by two VERY difficult pregnancies over the span of two years. I basically hiccupped and got pregnant and didn’t believe in the pill and am allergic to latex.
    During my first pregnancy I was 5 months pregnant weighing 98Lbs. During my second I was on strict bedrest for over 3 months.

    14 years later I’m still content with our decision as is my husband.

    • Thanks for that, Sarah. I know what you mean. I had a miscarriage, a difficult pregnancy, then a son who died as a baby, then another difficult pregnancy, followed by surgery to correct my varicose veins. It was rough!

      • OK, now you finally got me to comment ;) Going on your previous comments about wishing you had not rushed into permanent birth control (vasectomy or tubal), I had no idea you had vericose veins. This is my biggest issue with having more babies. Do you think that considering the whole vericose vein thing, you would actually have wanted to go through pregnancy again?
        Stacey recently posted…No More Mullet Baby!My Profile

        • Stacey, it’s so hard to say. I still really regret not having more children, but I don’t know what another pregnancy would have done to me. I did have the surgery after Katie, and my one leg (the one without the surgery) still has some veins. One of the reasons they were so bad, though, was that Katie was a HUGE baby, and I had three babies in such quick succession. If I had waited three or four years, I don’t know what would have happened. But the veins were HORRIBLE and really painful, and they still are. I guess that’s not much of an answer, though!

          • My Mom has horrible looking legs too. She had a botched surgery, injections, and somewhere before that all, she also had some veins rupture. Her legs are permanently purplish blue. That’s what I’ve had to see my whole life, which totally affects how I think about having more babies. She was told to stop after three. 5 years after that, she had my little brother. She wasn’t old either. She was around 30 when he was born. Anyway, I really appreciate the posts you’ve done about birth control. The only thing I’m still unsure of in regards to it all is permanent birth control options. I was reading some website the other day that was talking about vasectomies and how dangerous it was for a man because years down the road, things can rupture. Do you know if there is any medical evidence supporting that? Because it was coming from a very anti-birth control, Quiverfull type of website.
            Stacey recently posted…No More Mullet Baby!My Profile

  15. Another grateful-for-CFPN reader here! Thank you for this post and for speaking your mind on FAM! It’s such an important message!

    As for those who believe any form of pregnancy avoidance is wrong: What about those for whom pregnancy is dangerous? A mentor of mine has 7 children, and her last pregnancy almost killed her. I believe, just as has already been said, that God has created our bodies to be easy to read for reasons such as this. Just as in many areas of life, God gives us tools and information so that we can make prudent decisions for our family, and this is no different.

    Trusting God is indeed an important factor in choosing how to regard avoidance of pregnancy, absolutely! Consider this: if the Spirit is there to guide us in all other life decisions, why would this not be subject to the same process? Would you take every single job opportunity for fear that you’re not trusting God? No, you would consider them as they come, pray about them, seek guidance and make a decision whether or not to make the change.

    This may be an unpopular opinion and I don’t mean disrespect to anyone, but in *some* cases, I think that choosing not to avoid for a time/season can be just as irresponsible and equally as lacking in trust of God’s provision as choosing to avoid in an irresponsible way or for lack of trusting reasons.

    • Sarah, I was also thinking some of these things this morning, though I hand’t put it into words like that. I was thinking of the other side of the equation: children are a blessing, but so are many things. And we can’t have ALL blessings, so we need to seek God’s guidance about which ones to pursue. I think in a few weeks I may write a follow-up post, but I really appreciate your comment, because I think I may integrate some into my book.

  16. Thank you so much for your boldness and yet thoughtful pursuit of truth on this topic. I can also recommend a product called Ladycomp which is a digital super thermometer/computer that records your cycle statistics. It is not cheap (around$500) but I think worth it (there is also one called Babycomp for those seeking a pregnancy naturally). You can google the name …I think it is sold through Naturally For Her (they sell some not so good stuff too but are the only ones I know of who offer this product).
    I read through some, but not all of the comments and I think it’s wonderful how people are seeking Gods will in their life in regards to having children. I urge you to also seek the Catholic teaching on the subject. It is a beautiful teaching that has never changed (even with many Catholics wishing it would). Especially as one who is writing a book on the subject, you will find it very interesting, I think. You can look at the encyclical Humanea, written in the 60′s by Paul VI, where the teaching is reiterated. Also John Paull II’s “Theology of the Body” is an extremely thorough (lengthy and extensive) theological and philosophical compilation of years of his Wednesday Audience sermons on the subject. I would hope that you can be open to this great historical context regardless of any opinions you may have towards Catholicism. (G.K. Chesterton once said, “there are not a hundred people who hate the Catholic Church, but there are 100′s of thousands who hate what they think is the Catholic Church).
    Again, I commend you for your website and for this post.
    We can be assured that when we “Seek”…”we shall find”….may God Bless you!
    Whitney recently posted…Nine Reasons a Food Journal Can Help NutritionallyMy Profile

    • Thank you, Whitney! And thanks for mentioning that resource. I know on the earlier thread someone mentioned something, too. Isn’t it great that we live in a time when we have such helpful technology, that does coincide with both our faith and our bodies? I am certainly mentioning the Catholic view in the book, becuase I don’t mean for it to be exclusive (although I should not call it the Catholic view, since many Protestants believe it, too!)

    • Whitney, thank you for mentioning the LadyComp! While I agree with Sheila that it is great that we have such technology available to us now, I have to offer a word of caution about these monitors (including, but not limited to LadyComp, BabyComp, and the ClearBlueEasy Fertility Monitor). The way they work is that they detect a surger of the hormone that triggers ovulation. They cannot actually confirm that. The only way to confirm the precise date of ovulation is through ultrasound monitoring (but who of us has access to that!). Charting of temperatures and cervical fluid offer a window of about 3 days where through those two signs you can confirm that ovulation is most likely to occur. The difference between using a monitor and charting temperatures and cervical fluid is that it is possible to have several surges of the hormone that triggers ovulation before ovulation actually occurs. The monitor won’t pick up on that if the false surge was high enough. This is why monitors like that, as well as ovulation predictor kits don’t work for all women because some women (like those with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) have high levels of hormones all the time leading up to ovulation, and they get nothing but positive OPK’s all the time. I’ve even gotten a positive OPK after I had confirmed ovulation through temperatures and cervical fluid.

      • Stephanie,
        You are right, it is not perfect, and like most things, it doesn’t work for every woman. We didn’t start using it until well into our marriage (we have been married 23 years and have nine children). For those who, like me, have fairly straight forward cycles, it can be a very useful tool. However as I get older and closer to menopause I am noticing a lot of changes and things are becoming less straight forward by the year!
        Whitney recently posted…Nine Reasons a Food Journal Can Help NutritionallyMy Profile

        • That’s definitely where charting temperature and cervical fluid can come in handy then! My mother-in-law has charted for her entire marriage (27 years now, I think?), and she’s been dealing with cycle changes for awhile now just like you! :) How awesome that you’ve been able to avoid pregnancy naturally for so long! :)

          • Charting is a great “here and now” way to track fertility… And many people can become very disciplined about it (I figure if we can take a pill every day we should certainly be able to write something down everyday…). I also want to add to what others have already noted, that even with the best “technologies, scientific advancement, pharmacological aids, or self-discipline,” we do not always have control over our fertility. I think this is part of the mystery of life. God Himself, in the mystery of the Trinity, reveals this to us in His time… not everything is to be fully understood in this life. The miracle of creation is a part of this mystery…and perhaps, with this understanding and His grace, we can cooperate with Him, even when we know we don’t have total control.
            Whitney recently posted…Nine Reasons a Food Journal Can Help NutritionallyMy Profile

  17. It’s me again. As I looked over my comment I noticed a mistake…I meant to say, Humanae Vitae (Paul VI). Also, I am not at all implying (by my including the quote from Chesterton) that you hate the Catholic church. Your website is very well done and much appreciated. I just know that unfortunately the Catholic position on birth control is often dismissed by other Christians because of a prejudice that still abounds. I would hate for someone such as you who are writing a book to help enlighten others not to know about the Catholic view of contraception. Again, thank you!
    Whitney recently posted…Nine Reasons a Food Journal Can Help NutritionallyMy Profile

  18. If I may add to my previous comment on the other thread about FAM. I really love it (and I have to add that my husband and I use non-latex condoms during our fertile periods…which are expensive, but are so much better than latex). But there is more a possibilty of pregnancy that with other BC methods like the pill. I was on the pill for about a year into our marriage while my husband and I were paying off debt. When we got to a point where we weren’t quite ready for a baby, but we would be okay if we did, we switched to FAM. And when we do deicde we are done having kids, my husband will have a vasectomy.

    I gave my sister a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility when she got married. And I told her, maybe don’t use it right now, but in a few years to give it a try.

    • Thanks, Nurse Bee!

    • I have to come back and add that, like anything, “perfect use” is different than “typical use.”

      With “perfect use” of the pill (most types), the average failure rate is about <1%
      With "perfect use" of FAM, the average failure rate is also at about 1%

      So they are actually about the same in terms of statistics. The reason that researching FAM will yield variable statistics (and a lot of "I used FAM and got pregnant" stories) is because a) people don't follow EVERY rule to a T (which is as essential as taking your pill every day if you're on HBC), and/or b) some people use higher-risk barriers/methods during fertile times than other couples. If you use FAM with withdrawal during fertile times your failure rate will be higher than if you abstain, obviously! :P

      Perfect use of the other common forms of birth control (spermicide, diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge, and yes even withdrawal!!!) are statistically all between 2-9% failure rate. Surprisingly enough, Sheila, withdrawal falls in there at about 4% with perfect use (27% with typical use). Condoms come up at about 2% (14% with typical use).

      • That’s funny, Amanda! Okay, I’ll tell people that withdrawal, if “perfectly” used, has quite a good success rate. But I have definite doubts about whether most men would use it perfectly!

  19. Thanks for much for your post! The CFPN has helped me out tremendously and I love using FAM! I am not a Christian but am very much against abortion and when I found out about the possible abortiofacient effects of the pill (not to mention they can damage your cervix) it didn’t sit well with me and we decided to try out FAM! We used it to avoid and are now using it to conceive. Turns out I have long cycles and if I hadn’t been using FAM I would of thought I was pregnant because of the whole “28 day cycle” myth. But no, I just know I ovulate late and I can also use the info I get to time it better, hopefully it won’t take me too many more cycles! Also, I ended up needing a tonsil surgery and it was super, duper simple to avoid pregnancy that month which is yet another benefit.

    • Thanks, Kate. I want to find out more about fertility and long cycles, because some young people I am very close to are dealing with this (but I can’t say more than that). I was always every thirty days like clockwork until my own daughters hit puberty, so I’ve never dealt with any of the irregular issues. It’s amazing how many of my commenters have, yet so reassuring to see that most have managed to conceive anyway.

  20. Another NFP user here! I was recently married and as the topic came up of birth control, I was prepared to make a doctors appointment and get on the pill. My husband (then fiance) brought up the idea of “charting my cycle.” He’s a big researcher and thoroughly enjoys reading Wikipedia. I really though that this was something he stumbled across online and wasn’t about to trust that over BCP! Around that same time, I started visiting the forums of the wedding planning site TheKnot.com. They have a Christian Weddings forum there and one day the discussion of HBC vs. NFP/FAM vs. Quiverfull came up. I ended up messaging one of the girls to get more information and ordered myself a copy of “Taking Charge of your Fertility” and a basal thermometer that same day. I later stumbled on CFPN and haven’t looked back since! One of the things we love about FAM, besides the benefits you mentioned in your post, is that we have the ability to start trying to conceive whenever we want. We don’t need to wait until after I finish my last pack of HBC, or until after the hormones leave my system and I start ovulating again.

  21. I was lucky enough to marry a Catholic who knew the teachings of the Catholic Church, and had a lot of good friends who are actively practicing what the Church teaches, so we took a Natural Family Planning course before our marriage and have always used NFP or FAM. Before I started dating him, I knew I didn’t like the idea of the Pill, but it was a vague uneasiness and I wouldn’t have known where to start the research without friends pointing me in the right direction. We currently use the Billings Ovulation Method (they have a great website), though I say “use” with a smile because in the four years we’ve been married, I’ve spent most of that time pregnant or breastfeeding (we have two daughters) and breastfeeding, for me, works as birth control.

    One friend of mine had quite a few health problems (including really bad yeast infections and painful sex) which her doctors couldn’t solve until she linked it to the pill and quit taking it. She is now an ardent NFP/FAM proponent. Another friend of mine experienced severe depression from being on the Pill.

    What I find interesting is that nobody talks about the side effects of hormonal methods of birth control. Our society presents the Pill as perfectly safe or even, in a recent Today’s Parent magazine article, as “preventing cancer.” (I’ve seen other research suggesting the Pill causes cancer.) I didn’t realize the cost of the pill, but the TP article felt misleading because it suggested that NFP “costs” up to $500 for a fertility monitor, while listing no cost for condoms or the Pill. Another consideration of the Pill is that it is an abortifacient – many types of the Pill actually cause very early abortions by not allowing the embryo to implant in the woman’s uterus.

    The Catholic Church actually presents a very beautiful view of the woman and her fertility. The Church encourages women to embrace the way that God made them – including their changing hormonal patterns and cycle – and NFP, or knowing our bodies well enough to know whether we are fertile or not, is part of that. Our hormones and our cycles are part of what makes us women; why would we want to alter that?
    Bonnie Way recently posted…A Big Piece of Dark Chocolate, PleaseMy Profile

    • Great point about cost, Bonnie! You’re right; the literature rarely presents the “cons” of the Pill at all. It is sad.

  22. After much, MUCH research and agonizing and prayer while engaged, my husband and I decided to go the FAM route and have never looked back! I bought “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and learned soooo much about my own body! I bought a copy for my sister-in-law when she got married, and then she bought one for HER sister when she got married! I am so thankful God led us to a method that works with our desire to uphold conception as the beginning of LIFE while still being easy to use and effective — both to avoid AND conceive!
    I believe that children are definitely one of God’s greatest blessings. But at the same time, I believe He has given us a brain to use and allows us the freedom to choose. My first (and only so far) pregnancy was horribly hard. I was sick the entire 9 months, and it took a toll on my husband, our marriage, myself and my body, my walk with God — everything. I went into depression and nearly took my own life.
    So right now I’m VERY thankful for birth control because I don’t know if I could handle another pregnancy like that right now. Someday down the road we want to try again, but for now, I need to build my body, emotions, spiritual walk, marriage and everything back up to a healthy level. I need time to prepare for the next pregnancy so it doesn’t decimate me again and take me to dangerous levels.
    I think birth control is a blessing :)

  23. I have been told (in sex ed) and read in various books about fertility and NFP that female sperm can survive up to 5 days, so technically, if you have sex 5 days before ovulation, you can get pregnant…which is just what happened to me over 5 years ago. Until then, I had thought that it could only happen up to 2 days before. Anyway, just a little tidbit I figured I’d share. Probably best to either abstain or use condoms even a few days before you think you need to.

    • Rachel,

      I think maybe you meant the male sperm? The female egg can only survive for about 24 hours, but male sperm can survive up to 5 days in the right conditions. :)

      • No she is talking about the sperm that contain the X chromosome that make female babies. They are found to live longer then the male producing Ys. That’s why they say you can plan sex for so many days before ovulation to try to tip the scales toward a boy or girl.
        Christine recently posted…Teaching Our ChildrenMy Profile

  24. I’m gratified to see at least a few comments from Catholics on your site Sheila. Unfortunately the Catholic view has not been expressed with sufficient vigor: Contraception is a grave sin, i.e., one which if done knowingly and with consent of the will, results in eternal damnation. I’ve no intent to ignite a new religious war (one which, in this venue, I’m certain I would lose anyway) but I thought that the full implications of the Church’s teaching should be pointed out. So, if you are going to make peace with any form contraception, whether abortificient or otherwise, then you need to explain how all Christians (not just Catholics) held this view up until 1930, and how (somehow) they could have been so wrong for so long.

    Although I am pleased to hear you advocate fertility awareness (which I don’t see as distinct from natural family planning), I am discouraged with a persistent framing of the question as “what works best for you?” Shouldn’t the larger question be what form, if any, of family planning will place me in accord with with the intent of the Creator? Yes, hormonal methods often screw up your libido, but they also violate the essence of conjugal union. Sure, condoms are a nuisance, but they also violate the essence of conjugal union. And if violating the essence of the conjugal union is a grave sin, then who should care about what pros and cons such a violation may have? And if such interference is somehow not a grave sin, then as I said, it falls to you (not you personally, Sheila, but Christian sects who fail to teach what Christians have always taught) to tell me why not, and how for 1900 years our forefathers in faith got it so wrong? This is to say nothing of the patently obvious effects of the on-going experiment in sexual “liberation” for the last 50 years, brought on largely by “the pill”.

  25. What I have to say may have been mentioned here already but I don’t have time to scan through the comments to see.

    Before hubs and I got hitched, we looked into the birth control options available to us and discovered the whole “hostile endometrium” issue surrounding the Pill. Randy Alcorn convinced us that the Pill might kill our babies without us even knowing it, so we decided to never use the Pill or any hormonal methods. Fast forward to a few months into our marriage. We decide condoms are not going to cut it, so it’s time to find a better method. I start searching for info on diaphragms and such (by the way, look into the FemCap if you want to go this route — it doesn’t have to be fitted by a gyno and you can get it without a prescription!). Somehow in my researching I came across an article by a bunch of prolife gynecologists about how the Pill does NOT cause abortions and I decided to look into it further. It took a lot of researching, but I finally came to the conclusion that hormonal methods are safe and don’t cause abortions after all.

    The anti-Pill people say that the Pill thins the lining of the uterus making it difficult or impossible for a fertilized egg to implant. Since you don’t produce an egg when you’re on the Pill, your uterus doesn’t build up as much of a lining (that’s why your period is lighter on the Pill). So anti-Pillers think that if you do somehow produce an egg on the Pill and it gets fertilized, it won’t be able to implant. But they fail to realize that when you DO produce an egg, it causes your hormones to change which in turn causes your uterus to build up more lining. The anti-Pillers look at a uterus that’s on the Pill and HASN’T produced and egg and see that the lining is thinner (which is true) and think it won’t be able to accommodate a fertilized egg. But they forget that if an egg is produced, the lining will get thicker. In all the articles about why the Pill causes abortions (even the ones written by doctors), none of them address this issue.

    It’s true that a lot of the companies that produce the Pill say that it thins the uterus lining, because that’s true. But since they don’t care if a fertilized egg dies, they have no reason to bother researching the issue further. And if you look at what the companies say, a lot of them say that the Pill is THOUGHT to thin the lining.

    So anyway, now I use NuvaRing, which I highly recommend. I use to be really irregular and emotional. Now I’m very regular, not emotional and have shorter, lighter, less painful periods. It’s so nice to not have to remember to take a pill everyday at the same time. I only have to think about my birth control a couple of times a month.

    • Thanks for that, Mrs. P. What you’re saying is quite in line with what I’ve heard other Christian gynecologists say. Again, what makes me nervous, though, is that the companies themselves claim that it prevents implantation, so I’m still quite reticent to recommend it. The truth is that I’m NOT medical, and so I don’t want people to inadvertently do what I say, and then only later find out that I was wrong. I guess what I said originally still stands: thoroughly do your research. Make sure you’re comfortable. Check what the manufacturers themselves say. Talk to a Christian physician. Pray. And make sure your husband’s on board!

      I do appreciate your well-researched comment.

    • THANK YOU!!! I too didn’t have time to read everything, but your comment caught my eye and I am in total agreement with you Mrs. P. I have come to the same conclusion from my research.

  26. My husband and I have used FAM from the beginning of our marriage. It has been a good thing, in so many ways for us. I am really grateful for friends who have helped me over the years, and for a husband who takes an interest. It feels like this is something we are doing *together*, and I like that. Thanks for sharing positive thoughts on this. It is encouraging!

  27. Thank you for prominently mentioning the CFPN in your post! I have been a member for….3 years(? I can’t even remember, it’s been so long). The ladies on the forum are WONDERFUL! They supported me through the darkest times of my life (anxiety/panic attacks, perinatal depression) and the best times (the birth of my 2 daughters), and everything in between. I feel closer to those ladies than a lot of my friends in real life. I can’t imagine not being a member of the CFPN- everyone is so kind. And while we have different opinions on things, everyone is incredibly respectful of others’ viewpoints.
    And also, I will NEVER go back to HBC. I had the same side effects as you, plus some (like constipation!). I’m so glad I discovered FAM and CFPN!

  28. I’ve read Taking Charge of Your Fertility, and have been really interested in pursuing FAM, but I am currently on hormonal birth control. I asked my gyno, but she… didn’t seem interested in talking about FAM… Presumably I am not ovulating now (based on the updates above), so I don’t even know what or how to track.

    Do you/y’all have any thoughts on making a transition from “traditional” birth control to a FAM approach, preferably without getting pregnant in the meantime?

    • Yes!!

      For starters… charting while still on hormonal birth control won’t really tell you much because the Pill’s synthetic hormones will mess with your natural cycle. So, the best way to transition is really to stop taking the Pill (or using whatever form of hormonal BC you’re using), and start using a barrier method (condom, diaphragm, FemCap) while you wait for all the artificial hormones to flush out of your system. You can chart during this time, and it will give you some idea of how well your body is regulating coming off the Pill. I’ve heard it said that you can expect it to take one month for each year you were on the Pill, but some women take longer to regulate, and some women who were on the Pill for a long time regulate right away.

      I would HIGHLY encourage you to hop on over to the Christian Family Planning Network and take the online course that Sheila mentioned. It will help you learn the basics of charting, and will give you a firm foundation for charting from here on out! I’m doing another draw on Sunday for 50% off, so you can enter to win that too, if you’d like! :)

      If you have other questions, you can send me an e-mail if you’d like. My e-mail address is stephanie@christianfamilyplanning.net. :)

  29. What do I think?

    I think that these articles are a blessing for women who’s mother didn’t… go there! I know a lot of Christian mothers that don’t… go there! I’m all about educating women, even in sex. Many girls are wondering and I hope they find answers here.

    blessings,

    Janet

    http://www.homeward4.blogspot.com
    http://www.howsyourview.org
    Janet recently posted…Steppin OutMy Profile

    • Yes! My mom is a nurse and didn’t even discuss birth control options (she’s 48…I’m 24). Abstinence was expected until marriage, and that’s all my public school was allowed to teach, so I’ve never even seen a condom. When my husband and I started looking at options when we were engaged, mom was surprised that I wasn’t going on the pill. Even after I showed her our research and TCOYF, she still wasn’t/isn’t convinced (even though my baby brother was conceived on the pill)..

      • I find that sad about moms not talking to daughters, because I talk all the time to my kids. It’s easier now that they’re teens, but we’re always talking about stuff! And their friends talk to me, too.

  30. I just wanted to add my experience to all the other wonderful comments that have been made here. I’ve spent the last hour or so reading the comments about trusting God vs. trusting our own logic and making the best decision for us and want to say that I’m with the camp of trusting God through inspiration while using non-hormonal methods of BC for sanity’s sake. I’ve had horrible experiences with HBC and will never go back or recommend it to anyone else. Religiously, I am a strong Christian (LDS, or Mormon).

    I have four beautiful children, the last two of whom were conceived, I believe, by the will of God, not by our own decision. One commenter said that her reason for delaying conception is to wait until they were in a financial stable situation. I understand and agree with that feeling but just wanted to share that, in my experience, every time we have been blessed with another baby we have also been blessed with additional income. We conceived our first child while in college and my hubby was blessed with employment that worked with his class schedules as he finished his degree. With our second he was blessed with a paid internship. Our third child was conceived when my husband had been out of work for almost 8 months and I was working full time. We were not planning to have another baby until he was employed, but apparently God had other plans. Within two weeks of finding out that I was pregnant, we felt strongly that I needed to quit my job and come home. He then took two jobs to get us through and one of them has turned into a very nice career. We wanted to get a few years at the new company under our belts before having another baby, but again we learned that we are not always the ones in control. Just after finding out we were expecting baby #4 hubby received a generous raise in his salary.
    I’m not saying this will happen to everyone, I’m just saying that the best family planning is done with God as a partner because he is waiting and wanting to bless us. I don’t know how we would have kept our spirits up in that rough time of unemployment without little ones to make us laugh! God is definitely watching us and taking care of His children if we have faith in Him.

    • Jessica, thanks for that beautiful comment and reminder that God really does look after our families! Blessings!

  31. Sheila – Yes, the pill can kill a woman’s sex drive. We have a new article with the most current research on this. http://site.themarriagebed.com/biology/the-pill-ruins-sex

    The issue of preventing implantation of a fertilised egg is difficult, as most companies have no interest in doing the testing that would prove it one way or the other. The information in the inserts is a generic thing based on theoretical action. I suspect most companies see saying that as a good thing, as it suggests the product is more effective – even if an egg is fertilised, you won’t get pregnant.

    We have done a lot of research on this, and have come to the conclusion that some pill can kill a fertilised egg, while others do not. But it’s a very complex issues, and certainly one that needs to be surrounded in prayer. For us it has become a non-issue since the pill does so much harm to the woman’s ability to want and enjoy sex.
    Paul Byerly recently posted…Welcome to The Marriage BedMy Profile

    • Thank you, Paul. That’s my take, too. I think the pharmaceutical companies are “bragging” by saying this is why we’re so effective, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they do prevent implantation. But with the low dose pills, I think it is a definite possibility. But like you said, there are so many other negative factors that it really takes some careful investigating before anyone decides to use it.

  32. Focus on the Family broadcasted a GREAT broadcast on this several years back. It was a panel discussion of the Physicians’ Resource Council. (I believe that’s what it’s called.) I thought it was a great discussion and it was very, very informative. Not all the panelists agreed, but the discussion was eye-opening to me in my early 30s and was a very, very timely resource as I wanted to be CERTAIN we erred on the side of caution regarding potential life. I remember thinking at the time, “I don’t want to find out in twenty years on the news that something I thought was safe was doing something that I would never agree to morally.” Thanks for broaching this subject! It needs more air time, I think, so everyone can be informed about the research, the question marks and the differing opinions!

  33. Meant to say, if anyone is interested, I’m sure Focus on the Family has this in their broadcast archives!

  34. I use NFP and there is an iphone app out there to help the husband keep track too. My husband is a tech kinda guy and he loves this app. It’s called, icycle and it will track your cycle, and send you a text message when you enter your fertile period! You can check it every single day if you happen to forget. My husband loves that part. Check it out for sure.

  35. The pill…. grrr we won’t go there.
    You didn’t mention anoter great way for natrual child spacing. Breastfeeding! And I know it doesn’t work the same for everyone but, if done correctly, it can be a great tool for when you are building your family.
    My husband and I wanted our kids very close together but God had different plans. I got my second (well, fourth technically) positive pregnancy test on my first son’s second birthday. A whole year later than my original plan. But God is good and know better than I do. My first son got such great focused attention for so long and is much more independent now that baby 2 is here. My second son is…. a handful. Due to the fact that my oldest was further past that complete dependancy stage, I was able to give my second baby the attention that he needed.
    Here’s an article for anyone who’s interested in natural child spacing through breastfeeding. Following these methods, the average return of mensus is 14 months.
    http://www.physiciansforlife.org/content/view/1421/43/

    • Thanks, Tessa! Good to see you here again!

    • Oh please don’t tell new young mom’s that breastfeeding is a form of effective birth control!!!! It is NOT a guarenteed method – it can work but there is NO guarentee. You CAN ovulate without getting your period!!! I know at least 3 young mom’s in the last year that gave birth to their “surprise” baby. They followed all the rules to a T with using breastfeeding as a method of birth control and now have two babies under a year apart. Don’t get me wrong, babies are a blessing, but two babies under a year apart is HARD. If using breastfeeding as a method of birth control be very sure you realize that there are good chances you could get pregnant before you get your period!!!

      • *instead of guarenteed method (since no method is guarenteed) I should have said something more like – it does not have a very good rate of effectiveness*

  36. Wow! That is a lot of comments. I think you and I, Sheila, have had very similar roads in this. Early 90′s marriage, went on the pill because it was just standard protocol, low libido, dryness, opted for condoms after a while, had two kids, one of them a very difficult pregnancy and recovery, and just went for the vasectomy without really thinking, researching and praying enough. Now wishing I’d known differently and might have more kids. But, our story doesn’t end here; we are starting the process of adopting a couple more kids! Yeah!
    @MontanaSherryC recently posted…A Text ConversationMy Profile

    • That’s great about your adoption! We pursued that route for a while and then felt God putting up a closed door for various reasons, but I have friends who are adopting now and it’s just so exciting! It’s a ministry of itself, and it’s a beautiful thing. Very much like what God does for us.

  37. Jessica Byers says:

    I am happy to see this topic here. There is so much that we are left untold at the doctor’s offices. There is a wealth of information being shared! I am 35 years old and in my 9th week of my tenth pregnancy. We have 6 sons and 1 daughter. We lost our third child 11 weeks into the pregnancy and our 4th child – a son at 21 weeks along. When we married we figured we’d have two or three children. I too, was using “the pill” and stopped to start our family, then went back on it until we felt ready for our second child. After losing two children, I never used it again – but only because my husband suggested that it probably wasn’t healthy for me. Now that I’ve researched it, I won’t use it again. I am not comfortable knowing that it could cause the death of a child. After those 4 pregnancies, my husband and I tried for another child and were happy with our three sons. We talked about vasectomy – he was considering it but I wasn’t feeling like I wanted to be done having children so we tried condoms and calendar method – along came 3 more sons! At that time, through much prayer time with the Lord and research I decided I wanted God to be in control. God had shown us over and over that He would provide for us and that I could “do all things through Him who gives me strength.” We are a single income family and it amazes me how God continues to give us new ideas to afford all we need. Whoever thought I’d be hand-milking a cow?! But it is providing us with all the milk we need and saving $100 + a month as I’ve also learned to make yogurt, butter and bread. We are learning that children really don’t need everything we thought they should have. Our oldest has his own room and the younger ones are doubled or tripled up and they enjoy each others company! My advice… God knows best, ask Him and when you are following His plan for your life, you will be at peace about it – whatever road that is for each of you.

  38. I am so late here, but I hope what God leads me to say sheds light in someone’s life.

    Great topic, I don’t think it’s discussed enough in the Christian community.

    I have a 12 yr old daughter and my sons 2 and 3 yrs. of age are 11 months apart.

    My daughter was had out of wedlock.

    I was 20 at the time.

    I knew my actions displeased God sorely.

    I knew that the next time God allowed life to flow through me, I wanted it to be the fruit of a committed marriage.

    Still….. I did not practice abstinence.

    Boyfriends came and went.

    8+ years later, God sent my husband to me.

    The very first time we made love, God allowed me to conceived.

    Shortly after giving birth, God blessed me to conceived again.

    Some family and church members got concerned.

    They would come to me and him on separate occasions, suggesting birth control.

    Soon my husband’s mother made her views known…sharing her knowledge on birth control options. (we never asked for this advice)

    Her views were more logic (in his eyes) thus out-weighing my own.

    My husband would later succumb to her recommendations.

    To meet his approval, I opted for the IUD.

    My body knew the difference immediately.

    While my husband was more comfortable loving me (risk-free), I struggled with finding the genuine passion to love him back.

    (( but my unplanned pregnancy issues were gone ))

    When we would love each other, I longed for it to end (due to lack of emotion).

    (( but my “once heavy” periods were history ))

    In and out of the bed, I was easily aggravated, and without natural affection.

    (( but at least everyone else was satisfied )) or were they?

    God gave me a revelation!

    It was He who gave life, and none other!

    It was He who closed my womb after the birth of my daughter!

    It was He who granted me the desires of my heart and allowed me to conceive only after He had completed my family with a (God-fearing) man to take the lead of our house-hold!

    Powerful HIM and not inadequate me.

    It took my husband some time to grasp this concept….and rightfully so, fear of the unknown can do that.

    I continued to pray on the matter.

    It’s been 124 days since I had the IUD removed!

    After 2yrs of emotional madness, I was somehow able to pick up were we left off!

    It was like we were freshly married all over again! ……need I mention, no sign of a baby?

    -In closing-

    No Birth Control is able to say that it it is 100% effective.

    There are a few ways to view this, but the way I chose to , is…….

    God is the only birth control that is 100% effective and minus side effects….

    – and NO OTHER SOURCE can take HIS credit

    If anyone can step out on faith it should very well be us Believers.

    How are we presenting ourselves to nonbelievers by allowing our faith to waver in such an important area of our lives?

    We can trust God for job promos, houses, and cleaning solutions – yet life?

    the thing HE has been in control of since the beginning of time?

    Believers, there is only one answer to this question.

    Out with – promoting IUD’s, Nuvarings,FAM’s and such!

    Promote your faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior!

    refer to 1 Cor. 2:9 – Rom. 8:28 – 1 John 4:4

    God bless you family!

  39. ….and look at it this way

    If birth control is 99.9% effective, users are still trusting God with that 1%.

    I don’t know about you but I am sold out:) God bless You!

  40. Don’t forget those of us who need to be on birth control for medical reasons… I have a rare vasculitis disease called Wegener’s Granulomatosis, and even though I was diagnosed before marriage, the doctors told me it was vital to be on birth control in order to *protect* my ovaries (etc). It wasn’t just because having kids would’ve been high risk or because we didn’t feel like having kids right away, it was safer for me in the long run to have my organs protected.

    Personally I chose the injection, and LOVE the ease of only getting it once every 3 months. No alarm reminders or hindrances to spontaneity… and once I learned to think about s*x correctly, it did nothing to inhibit my desires for intimacy! It does make me a little dry, but nothing that lubricant or serious foreplay can’t take care of ;)
    E.Johnson recently posted…Prayer Request & TTB12 ScheduleMy Profile

    • Thanks for that reminder! And I love the way you take it in stride if you’re a little dry. I find that many women beat themselves up about this, and really, a little lubricant isn’t that big a deal, and often makes it much easier to get aroused!

  41. Thank you for writing about this! I am a mother to 2 children right now and am talking to my husband about how many children we want and we are not exactly sure- we are thinking maybe 4. What I DO know is that my body is fertile. I could have one baby after another if I did nothing to prevent and didn’t breastfeed well into toddlerhood. (which I’m relying on tandem nursing to keep my fertility at bay at the moment!). What I do know is that at this point in our marriage I think a boat load of kids would overwhelm us. The first 4 months pp for each child has been really hard on us because my hormones go crazy and I’m not a very nice person during that time. Also, we couldn’t afford to pay for 10+ kids. I have a tough time relating to these women who don’t try to control having children at all- fine if you husband is making 6 figures a year, but what if we are only living on a modest income? This is more of a question for those women, than for you.

    Also, not every woman’s window of fertility is only 4-5 days. I have a good friend who’s window is 9 days. Add 2 days on each end and you wind up with 13 days. Then consider that sperm can last up to 5 days in cervical mucus…add an additional 3 days on each end…19 days is my count for my friend. That is more than HALF of the month! Crazy right?? My grandmother shared with me that one of my aunts was conceived while she was on her period. You just never know! I don’t trust FAM for myself. I’m at a loss of what to do. I am thinking about getting surgery, but am afraid of side effects and the potential of needed a hysterectomy as a result. I will keep praying about it.

  42. Here’s my IUD story – I got one after our second child and didn’t think much of it just trusting my OBGYN. Fast forward 2 months, i had unexplained pain so bad I almost went to the ER to have them take whatever organ out that was hurting so much. I thought it was my gall bladder. Ultrasound showed fluid around my ovary indicating there was a possible rupture of a cyst. Ok, no big deal, right? Fast forward a couple more months and my husband read about Mississippi’s Personhood ammendment and he was really torn up over it. So, instead of talking to me, he prayed asking God to show me what to do for myself if I should NOT have the IUD. Very suddenly I started having weird pain. First in my left ankle. Then my right. Then swelling in the left. Then pain up my right and into my hips. I went to the doc and got xrays and ultrasound in my leg to look for blood clots, Nothing. They didn’t find anything. Then I went online and googled my symptoms and came across a rash of complaints about the MIRENA IUD. I knew! I had to take it out. I decided that no matter what my husband said about birth control I was going to get this thing out. I told him I wanted to and he was so relieved and shared with me his original concern. What!!?? I asked him why he didn’t just talk to me about it… haha. He said he didn’t want me to think/feel like he wanted to control my body or choices. How nice of him. :) I got the IUD out and within a week i was pain free. We do not use birth control at all now. If we wanted to we would of course pray about it and decide if a permanent solution is the answer. The womb is supposed to be the safest place for a child, right? and we are supposed to care for the least of these, right? So how on earth could we say it is ok to make their very beginnings be difficult on purpose??? I see the point of the medically necessary or other means of necessity to control your family size so if that’s the case then just get your tubes tied, is that ok? I don’t know, it just seems less horrible.

  43. Laura Maestra says:

    As a married Christian woman, I have thought this over seriously and have total respect for all who decide to “leave it up to God”, however I would like to share a different decision I have made in my life.

    I am staunchly pro-life, and also pro-biblical teaching. After examining James 1:27, and the abortion vs. adoption debate in our country, I couldn’t just promote unplanned pregnancies to be resolved through adoption, while being unwilling or unable to consider adoption myself. I know some people choose to have biological children and adopt, but I view not having my own biological children as an opportunity to love more orphans and have a bigger adopted family. I understand not everyone would come to this same decision, but it is what I believe God led me to. (I say “I” because I made this decision before I met my husband, and as we got to know each other and I shared my dream he also agreed well before we got married).

    I know some people feel led to have as many children as biologically possible, and that’s great, but I would encourage those people to consider how they can best apply James 1:27 in their own lives. If a couple has as many children as possible, questions of being good stewards of the earth (i.e., overpopulation, effects of western consumerism on developing countries, etc.), being able to love and provide for our children adequately (i.e., welfare mentality, working overtime, etc.) and being able to love the widows and orphans among us (through time and money) should be raised. If you are blessed to be able to handle all of those questions and still have as many children as possible, great! But consider that not everyone is in that same situation, shares that belief, or agrees that it is the biblical perspective.

    Personally, I have had the Essure procedure done, it is a simple, non-hormonal, no incision procedure to block the fallopian tubes. It is unquestionably permanent. It has been over one year now with no painful side effects or regrets. I would also like to add that prior to that I took the pill, experienced minimal negative side effects and a major relief of excruciating and debilitating cramps (that have caused me to miss work, school, social events, final exams, etc.). I found myself wishing I had taken the pill years earlier instead of suffering through middle and high school in such pain because of a caring but conservative mother who didn’t want me on the pill, and vowed that if my (future, adopted) daughters ever experienced such pain that I would get them the help they needed without delay.

    I want to echo what most have said here that no form of birth control is above God’s authority. If God was able to impregnate a virgin, I have no doubt that He could also manage the same with me if he wanted. So I have absolutely no fears that, in following what I believe to be God’s call on my life to love orphans and be a good steward of our earth, I might possibly “limit God’s blessing” in my life. Only God can do that :)

  44. I used the IUD method for 5 years and I was a total mess. I use to love sex so much but after the implant my hormones just took the better part of me. I was so sad, had very bad PMS, I was depressed, never wanted to be touched and the list was just endless. I actually forgot I had the IUD on (which made my case very sad). I went to God in prayers and I had a sudden remembrance of the IUD on and a great urge to remove it. The urge was so strong that I could just pull it out. I went to the nurse to get it removed and God was I glad I did. The first sign I had was a sudden peace I just could not understand. Then my bloated stomach came down. Although I am still working on the PMS but God is helping.

    So any woman that wants to try any hormonal method Please confirm that you truly know what you are doing and not seeing through the eyes of a friend. I recall telling all my friends that I have been a prisoner in my own body for 5 yrs. Please look before you leap.

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] there was her post Which Birth Control Method Is Best?.  Then she followed it up with Christian Birth Control Round-Up [...]

  2. [...] Christian Birth Control Round Up. How to choose birth control that works and goes with your [...]

  3. [...] More and more evangelicals are discovering how bad contraception is. This blogger doesn’t have a Catholic view of sex and hasn’t figured out that condoms are not consistent with true, loving, complete-self-giving intercourse, but she speaks honestly about her own experience: First, let me list my regrets, which are quite similar to those listed in the comments. The Pill just killed my libido. I went on the Pill like just about everyone I knew when I got married. That’s just what everyone did in the late eighties and early nineties. I could make sure that I wasn’t going to have my period on my wedding night, and that seemed like a pretty good benefit! [...]

  4. [...] from annoying to deadly, whether chemical, bioactive, or surgical, for men and for women. Charting your cycle and avoiding these side effects is good for your health and good for your marria…. Additionally, treating fertility as a disease to be medicated is a profound negative social [...]

  5. [...] Every couple had children, because you couldn’t NOT have children. Today, with the range of birth control available, it is possible to not be a parent. And once it’s a choice, it’s a choice that [...]

  6. […] the days that we’re able to get pregnant. (Incidentally, that’s also why people using hormonal birth control often find that their sex drives plummet. They aren’t getting these normal hormonal […]

  7. […] are couples, both Protestant and Catholic, who feel that birth control is morally wrong. I wrote a round-up on birth control previously, and I do think that certain methods are okay. But regardless of where you fall in this […]

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