These methods include natural family planning, coitus interruptus and breastfeeding.
Natural family planning (rhythm method)
This involves a woman keeping a menstrual calendar to enable her to
accurately predict her fertile period. Most women ovulate about 14 days before
the start of the next menstrual period which, in a 28 day cycle, is at the
midpoint of the cycle. An unfertilised egg may live two days, while sperms were
found to stay alive in the genital tract up to 10 days after intercourse
although they may be able to cause fertilisation only for about four days. Thus,
intercourse should be avoided during the phase when there is the greatest chance
for sperms and eggs to meet.
- Advantage: No hormones are taken, so there are no
side-effects from these.
- Disadvantage: It is not a very reliable method of
- Effectiveness: If the fertile time is predicted
correctly with the help of a menstrual calendar and additional use of basal
body temperature, the effectiveness is around 80%.
Coitus interruptus (withdrawal)
- Involves removing the penis from the vagina
immediately before ejaculation.
- By preventing sperms to enter the vagina,
fertilisation does not occur.
- Effectiveness depends on the male's ability to
withdraw before ejaculation. Often, some sperms are deposited in
the vagina before or during withdrawal, making this method not very
- Disadvantage: Does not provide protection against
sexually transmitted infections (STIs). STI-organisms can be transmitted by
direct contact with surface lesions in both partners and from vaginal and
- Effectiveness: Pearl Index of 8-17.
- In nursing mothers, ovulation is often suppressed
which has the advantage that breastfeeding acts as a contraceptive measure.
However, this is not a reliable method and breastfeeding women are often
advised by their doctor to use the "mini-pill" to provide additional
protection. The "mini-pill" contains only progestogens which has the
advantage that it will not interfere with milk production. The importance
with this pill is that it must be taken every day at the same
- Once breastfeeding is stopped, a more effective contraceptive method should be used.
Got pregnant on the pill?
Any questions? Ask our sexologist