Can we really trust natural contraceptive methods?


For several years now, the pill has been falling out of favour. Yet while many women are leaning toward using IUDs, some have trouble using it or prefer not to before having had their first child…

So what about so-called ‘natural’ contraceptive methods? These work by calculating ovulation periods by tracking specific symptoms, such as heightened temperature, heavy cervical mucus secretions and palpable dilation of the cervix. Based on these symptoms and menstruation periods, you can create a calendar pinpointing when you are ovulating.

When used correctly, this approach can be up to 95% effective1, thus matching the standard of IUDs. Yet it does require being extremely thorough. Women relying on this method have to regularly keep track of their own body changes and update their calendar.

Furthermore, they can then only practice unprotected sex during so-called "safe" days, i.e., around 12 days each month. For women used to not having to worry about that, adopting this method can be much more restrictive than anticipated. So think carefully before you sign on!

1) Efficacité contraceptive et taux d’abandon de la méthode après un an aux États-Unis et en France, adapté de l’OMS (OMS 2011 b). Données extraites de « État des lieux des pratiques contraceptives et des freins à l’accès et au choix d’une contraception adaptée », HAS 2013