Hormonal birth control has been something that has accompanied me for most of my teenage and young adult life. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I started doubting what I was so carelessly putting into my body and started researching the possible dangers. That’s when I turned to natural birth control and haven’t looked back since! 🙂
Why I ditched the pill
Like most women, I started taking the pill when I was quite young. I was a late bloomer and only got my period when I was 15 (in retrospect – lucky me, but back then I wanted it so badly). There’s wasn’t even really a question or that many options about what to do. I was young, sexually active and not the most reliable person to say the least. Because condoms kinda sucked the pill really was the only option that seemed reasonable and would protect me from unwanted pregnancies with any hassle.
I started on a quite light pill. I never had any crazy period pains, skin issues or anything else that needed to be ‘regulated’ with a stronger pill. In total, I have taken the anti-baby pill for most of my teenage and young adult life – for 10 years (15-25)! That’s a long time for a body to be constantly provided with hormones it should be producing on its own.
To be honest I had never even given this topic much thought. The pill was just a given. I was incredibly disconnected from my own body, knew next to nothing about my own cycle and what actually happens every month inside my body, and never really bothered to find out – weirdly enough.
When I changed my diet in 2015 and adopted a fully vegan lifestyle things changed. I started researching more and more about nutrition, how food affects our body, harmful substances we carelessly chug down without ever thinking twice about it. Naturally, the pill came up. After reading a bit about what the pill actually does in the body and what it includes – it took me a hot 2 seconds to decide I’m ditching it! And so I did…
Hormonal birth control
There are a lot of advocates out there for hormonal birth control. I know, that it some, very specific cases it can bring immense relief to people that are, for example, suffering from endometriosis. For most people, however, that’s not the case. Luckily enough, I feel like the environment is changing a bit and there are more and more experts speaking up about the dangers hormonal birth control brings.
- Hormonal birth control does not regulate your menstrual cycle
- Instead of regulating your hormones, it just replaces them with synthetic ones. So that ‘period’ you think you’re getting every 28 days on the dot is actually a withdrawal bleed, not your real menstrual period (it was actually used as a marketing tool back in the day because if you’re bleeding it has to be natural, right?)
- The pill works by messing with our endocrine system, which controls everything hormonal in our bodies. In fact, the pill alters 150 different bodily functions – you can’t tell me this isn’t messing something up.
- The pill adds around 4x the corresponding synthetic estrogen and progesterone that naturally occurs in our bodies.
- In addition, hormonal contraceptives are ranked by the WHO as a class 1 carcinogen (right up there with tobacco, asbestos and red meat)
- There is an immense list of possible side effects from hormonal birth control and especially the pill, ranging from anxiety, depression, nausea, migraines, decreased libido, lack of energy and so many more.
Why I chose natural birth control
Once I was done with hormonal birth control, I started researching options that would go beyond just condoms – especially as during that time I was in a longterm relationship (and let’s be honest, condoms suck). I immediately came across the fertility awareness-based methods (FABM). I started reading this book (Taking Charge of Your Fertility – by Toni Weschler) and it was SUCH an eye-opener I can’t recommend this enough for BOTH men and women. Especially if you’re thinking about switching to fertility tracking I’d make sure to read this book first so you fully understand what’s going on inside your body.
I don’t know how much y’all learn in sex-ed during elementary school, but turns out I didn’t remember a thing. I was bombarded with all this knowledge about my own body that all of a sudden I felt incredibly ashamed and ridiculous for not knowing and paying attention before.The basis of all fertility awareness-based methods relies on a woman’s understanding and recognition of her fertility! Let me hit you with a few basics:
- Women can’t get pregnant everyday of the month – during each cycle one has fertile & infertile phases
- There are generally 6 days a month where a woman can get pregnant, her fertile window
- This window consists of ovulation and the 5-6 days that sperm can survive inside the female body
- If one avoids having sex during the fertile window, one won’t get pregnant
- There are different ways and methods that women can use to determine their fertility. These include the temperature method (measuring basal body temperatures), cervical mucus method (observing cervical fluids), calendar method, symptothermal method and symptohormonal method. Generally, combining these methods is the safest and most effective. That’s why in addition to using the temperature method I also observe my cervical mucus and add it to an app.
- e.g. female basal body temperatures have distinct patterns throughout the monthly cycle and leading up to ovulation, which makes ovulation predictable and trackable
- There are different numbers according to different studies about effectiveness, but using one FABM alone is about 80-88% effective. This number steadily increases when combining with a second method (like tracking your cervical mucus), and obviously using as perfectly as possible (like with any other form of birth control).
- Ovulation can differ each month from stress, health, sleep, etc. and is not a set date on the calendar
- If you are practicing fertility awareness as a birth control method to prevent pregnancy, you need to avoid having sexual intercourse or use a barrier method of birth control, such as a condom, during the fertile period.
Daysy fertility tracker – how it works
Here’s where the Daysy comes in! As mentioned above, there are several ways to track your fertility. I started with a simple basal thermometer and observing my cervical fluids every morning, while manually charting. While this is amazing to get to know your body, it’s quite exhausting and I never really fully trusted myself to determine whether I was fertile or not. Also, I started doing this for 2 months only, while still using condoms in the meantime, to get the hang of it. At the end of each month, once I completed the chart it seemed obvious where my fertile window was, during – not so much.
Distinguish between fertile and infertile days
This was when I discovered Daysy and it completely took away my worries and uncertainties. I’ve been using Daysy for over 3 years now and I really can’t recommend it enough! It basically does what the thermometer does, just a bit more advanced. Daysy calculates the fertile phase of the woman’s cycle based on a very sensitive and precise, computer-assisted basal body temperature measurement, obtained directly after waking up. It’s really quite simple. Every morning after waking up (before going to the toilet or anything) you take 40 seconds to measure your basal temperature with your Daysy device. The device then flashes a red, yellow, or green light to let me know my fertility status that day. In addition to that I also observe and add information about my cervical mucus (it’s is also an indicator for fertility). Every few days I sync my Daysy via bluetooth with the daysyView (app) chart and have a look what colors she predicts for the week ahead and when I can expect my period. Additionally, when you’re on your period you add that data with an extra button. Due to an intelligent algorithm, Daysy hence gets to know your individual cycle and learns from it, accurately predicting your fertile and infertile window (predicting your fertile and infertile days).
- 100% natural – there are no synthetic hormones, chemicals, or unwanted side-effects and full control over whether or not you’d like to try for a baby within a moments notice.
- Empowers me to reconnect with my body’s natural cycles
- One-time payment + you get your money’s worth. Daysy is a longterm investment. The device costs $310 and lasts around 7 years (including a 2 year warranty). Regular birth control pills cost me around $12/month ($288 for 2 years). Hence, if you use the Daysy for 7 years you are getting an incredible deal on birth control each month (comes out to $3.07/month). Plus some insurance companies reimburse up to 60% of this device!
- User-friendly and easy to use
- Very high accuracy comparable to traditional contraception
- If you forget your Daysy on a trip it can be a bit less sexy, as you’ll have to either abstain or use condoms. But then again that would be the same with other contraception methods.
- If you have an irregular cycle or ovulate more than once a month, I wouldn’t recommend this as a reliable method of contraception
- You have to be a little more responsible. Losing Daysy is a much bigger deal and hence investment than just losing a pack of condoms.
- After years and years of pushing hormones into my body, once I stopped my hormones were completely out of balanced. I got very heavy period cramps over the first year and it has only now been getting better after my body had the chance to adjust. Honestly I see this as a pro because it shows me how bad I was damaging my body, but some might see it as a con! 😉
- Condoms. Unfortunately, the days where you’re the most fertile will also be the days you’ll want sex the most. At least that’s what I experienced. That’s just how nature works. So during those few days you gotta make sure to use extra protection. It might be helpful to know though, that on average you’ll have 18-20 green days per month, where you won’t need a condom.
Disclaimer: Before changing your birth control method make sure to talk with your doctor about concerns/worries you might have and check if the FABM if really for you!