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Conscious Contraception - A Guide to Fertility Management

Updated: Feb 28

Welcome to our Fertility Management Guide

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Mama de la Myco uses a sovereignty and community care approach to promote wellbeing. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice.

Contraception is a two-way exchange, all parties have the privilege of choosing what and what not to create out of intimacy. For too long, women + birthing people have held the sole responsibility of managing birth control using a variety of pharmaceutical agents, inserts, chemical shots and surgery. It's time to change the narrative.

My aim in this article is to help people move forward without fear by choosing knowledge. Birthing people can find resources to connect with their cycles and for their partners to be sensitive to their role as an active participant in Conscious Contraception.

What happens when we use pharmaceutical contraceptives

How Hormonal Birth Control Works

Most chemical contraceptives use synthetic estrogen and/or progesterone (more on these here). These chemicals artificially disrupt the ovulation cycle and implantation.

Hormonal birth control interferes with nature by:

  1. stopping ovulation, no eggs are released in this process

  2. thickening the mucus layer in the cervix so sperm may not enter, or

  3. altering the lining of the uterus so implantation into its walls cannot occur or

  4. ALL of the above.

Why Hormonal Birth Control can be Problematic

Our bodies are an amalgamation of rich hormonal processes that ensure overall health by regulating systems. When new (synthetic) hormones are introduced, the body systems, the chemistry of our brains, and as a result, our emotional systems are urged to regulate, which can lead to a variety of side effects.

If you've been on hormonal contraceptives, you can attest to the amount of time it takes for the body to acclimate to a rhythmic pattern whether you're starting them or coming off.

Potential complications with Hormonal Birth Control (Center for Young Women’s Health)

From IUDs to The Pill, hormonal birth control carry an array of complications and side effects that include but are not limited to:

  • Nausea, increased appetite, headaches, and irregular bleeding in the first few cycles

  • Increased risk for blood clots

  • Weight gain, tiredness, and possibly a decrease in bone density

  • Mislodging of the IUD into the uterine wall and, rarely, puncturing of the uterus

  • Heavier periods

  • Depression, nervousness, hair loss, and weight gain

  • Potential chemical infertility following lengthy use

It's important for people to ask if hijacking ovulation with synthetic hormones is worthwhile when there are other contraceptive options available?

DISCLAIMER: the only 100% effective contraceptive is abstinence, so we agree that any moment we decide to have intercourse, we understand that we open possibilities for procreation (whether a child or otherwise)

Natural Birth Control Methods

FABMs (Fertility Awareness-Based Methods)

Mapping your cycle will give you a clear indication of how your cycle flows and functions. People can use period tracking journals or apps to keep track of what's going on throughout the month. I use Kindara, but there are many available.

Note: Cycles can fluctuate seasonally so trusting an app to tell you exactly when you're ovulating is FOOLISH, listen to your body and read the signs!

Here are a few physiological natural birth control markers to follow:

Cervical Fluid Texture

Cervical fluid will become more accommodating to sperm just before and during ovulation. When we check cervical fluid daily, with clean hands, we begin a contraception practice that helps us understand what our cervical fluid is telling us.

According to Fertility Friend:

Not everyone experiences every type of cervical fluid. You may also have some cervical fluid that does not seem to "fit" perfectly into any category, so leaning towards the most fertile category is the safest choice. Here are some cervical fluid textures:

  • Dry: No cervical fluid present at all; if you notice no cervical fluid in your underwear; and if the outside of your vagina feels dry. You can expect to see dry days both before ovulation, after your period and after ovulation.

  • Sticky: This is glue-like, gummy, stiff or crumbly and if it breaks easily and quickly and if it is not easily stretched. It will probably be yellowish or white, but could also be cloudy/clear. You may or may not see some sticky cervical fluid before and after ovulation.

  • Creamy: It is like hand lotion, white or yellow or cloudy/clear, like milk or cream, mayonnaise or like a flour/water solution. It may stretch slightly but not very much and break easily.

  • Watery: This cervical fluid is clear and most resembles water. It may be stretchy also. This cervical fluid is considered fertile and this may be your most fertile cervical fluid or you may get it before you get egg white cervical fluid or you may not get this type of fluid at all.

  • Egg white: This is your most fertile cervical fluid. It looks at all like raw egg white, is stretchy and clear, or clear tinged with white, or even clear tinged with pink. It also resembles semen (and has a lot of the same physical properties to allow the sperm to travel and be nourished). You should be able to stretch it between your thumb and index finger.

What is necessary to make fertile cervical mucus tracking work according to the Mayo Clinic:

“Before ovulation, cervical secretions change — creating an environment that helps sperm travel through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes to the egg. By recognizing the changing characteristics of your cervical mucus, you can predict when you'll ovulate. In turn, this may help you determine when you're most likely to conceive [or misconceive]... Formal training is usually required to master the cervical mucus method. This method also necessitates ongoing, rigorous daily monitoring. In addition, abstinence — or use of another type of contraception...”

Know your Yoni-Shetat: Learning the Flow of Eggs

During a regular menstrual cycle, there are four major hormones that are at work, Estrogen, Progesterone, Luteinizing hormone