1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Natural Birth Control

Natural Contraception Options:


Updated May 27, 2014

Natural birth control includes behavioral methods of specific actions that people can do naturally to help prevent an unintended pregnancy. These are some of the oldest forms of contraception available. Natural family planning often does not cost anything and usually has no side effects.

1. Abstinence

Natural Birth Control
Cavan Images Collection/Iconica/Getty Images

Abstinence is defined as not having any type of intercourse or sex play with a partner. It is the only birth control method that is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases.

2. Withdrawal

Withdrawal is the behavioral action where a man pulls his penis out of the vagina before he ejaculates. This is not as reliable a method because a male ejects pre-ejaculate fluid while he is aroused and still inside the vagina – this fluid can contain at least 300,000 sperm (and it only takes 1 to fertilize an egg)! Plus, it relies on complete self-control. Finally, even if the man ejaculates outside of the vagina, sperm can swim, so semen anywhere near the vagina can still lead to pregnancy (this also means that you can still get pregnant even without penile penetration if a male ejaculates on or near the vagina).

3. Fertility Awareness

"Fertility awareness" is when a woman will monitor her fertility and avoid unprotected intercourse during her ovulation. This method involves monitoring different body changes (such as basal body temperature or cervical mucus variations) and recording them to establish when ovulation occurs. A woman can also use a calendar method to determine ovulation, but this is not as reliable. The woman then abstains from unprotected sex for 7 days before and 2 days after when she may have ovulated. It is helpful for a woman to understand her menstrual cycle. This method also requires some meticulous effort and record-keeping.

4. Outercourse

Outercourse is any type of sexual play without vaginal intercourse. This includes kissing, erotic massage, manual stimulation (with one’s hands), masturbation, frottage (rubbing against each other), oral sex, fantasy, anal sex, and/or using sex toys (like vibrators). Although this method is usually 100% effective, pregnancy can occur if semen or pre-ejaculate fluid gets into the vagina (by the man ejaculating too close to the vagina or the woman rolling onto it). Plus, this method may not fully protect against STD’s due to there being skin-to-skin contact or the exchange of bodily fluids during oral and/or anal sex. The use of dental dams or condoms may help decrease the risk of contracting a STD during these activities.

5. Continuous Breastfeeding (Lactational Amenorrhea Method)

Continuous Breastfeeding (Lactational Amenorrhea Method) is considered a form of contraception because it can postpone ovulation for up to 6 months after giving birth. It works because the hormone required to stimulate milk production prevents the release of the hormone that triggers ovulation. A woman should not rely on this method for more than 6 months or if she has had a period since giving birth. It is only effective if the woman feeds her baby at least 6 times a day with both breasts, does not substitute other foods for breast milk, and feeds her baby every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night.
Related Video
Prepare Siblings for Pregnancy

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.