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Natural methods of contraception

There are several natural methods of contraception which include the following:

  • Coitus Interruptus (Withdrawal method)
  • Rhythm Method
  • Basal Body Temperature method
  • Cervical Mucus method
  • ELISA Test

Natural methods of contraception – Coitus Interruptus (withdrawal method)

This is an old practice of taking out the erected penis from vagina just before the ejaculation.
The benefits involved are that it is safe, simple, without any cost and a widely accepted method. But the disadvantages with this are that it depends on the decision of the male partner. It also hampers sexual pleasure and if routinely practiced may cause neurosis in the couple. As regards the effectiveness – the pregnancy rate is 35 per 100 women year. Failure in this method is due to leaking of sperm into vagina just before the ejaculation. This method mainly depends on the exact time of withdrawal before ejaculation which may be difficult to achieve. Even if the couple succeeds on many occasions it may fail any single occasion.

Natural methods of contraception – Rhythm Method

This method is based on an observation that the ovulation in females takes place 2 weeks before menses. Now as we know that the menses cycles in women may not be on precise day every month, the calculation of the safe period is done on the basis of duration of 12 previous cycles. First note down the shortest and the longest cycles during the last 12 cycles.
The first fertile day will be minus 18 days from shortest cycle. The last fertile day would be minus 11 days from the longest cycle.

For example :

if the short cycle is 25 days the first fertile day would be ( 25-18 ) – 7th day

if the longest cycle is 32 days, the last fertile day would be ( 32-11 ) – 21st day.

Thus there should be abstinence for 2 weeks from 7th to 21st day.

This method is based upon observation of Ogino, in 1930 in Japan and Knaus, in 1933 in Austria. One should keep in mind that this method of contraception is some what crude.

Natural methods of contraception – Basal body temperature

Natural methods of contraception – Basal Body Temperature Method

Basal Temperature Method involves detecting the time of ovulation by observing temperature shift of 0.05 °C at luteal phase following ovulation. The female has to observe abstinence during first half of menses cycle till 3 days of elevated temperature at 0.05 ° C.

Interpreting and maintaining temperature chart may require lot of care and thus failure chance is very high.

Basal Body Temperature Method

Natural methods of contraception – Cervical Mucus Method

Cervical Mucus Method

This method depends on the observation of changes in the consistency and the volume of cervical mucus in relation to the ovulation. On feeling the cervical mucus in the vagina by fingers the dry days and the wet days are recognized by the women. The wet days are the fertile days.

The number of wet days is about 10 days in 28 day cycle. Wet days start with sticky white mucus for 2-3 days following 2-3 days dry days after menses. Sticky white mucus days are followed by clear slippery profuse mucus for 3-5 days (this slippery mucus is capable of being stretched between two fingers). The last day is called the peak day. Following peak day there is sticky mucus for 3 days. This is the end of fertile period.

Many women are unable to observe these symptoms and thus the Pregnancy failure rate is as high as 22 per 100 women year.

ELISA Test (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assays)


This test uses two monoclonal antibodies to detect color change. In this test urine is tested using this kit daily from 12th day of cycle for 5-9 days. The color change is detected due to LH surge prior to ovulation. The women can thus find out the day of ovulation.


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