Posts Tagged ‘birth control’

Finding Your new Normal

Friday, September 4th, 2015

Finding Your New NormalSo many new things invigorate you (or keep you up at night) when a newborn comes into your life. Just like the mysteries of parenthood, your body will keep its secrets too. Once you manage your postpartum care in those first few weeks after childbirth, you may not need to pull your pads, cups, or sponges out again for a while. It varies from woman to woman and even from one woman’s pregnancy to her next.

Breastfeeding hormones can impact the return of your menstruation. Hormones, like prolactin, involved in nursing can also affect your other bits, though your ability to get pregnant may be present before your period returns. Some argue that the chance of getting pregnant while breastfeeding are no higher than when using some forms of birth control, especially if you are in tune with your body’s symptoms of ovulation.

When nursing, many women find their period returns when there is a decrease in nursing frequency, such as once baby sleeps through the night or begins taking solids. For others, the period remains long gone through the entire first year or until they finish breastfeeding entirely. During these months of ever-changing hormones, you could experience infrequent periods. On the flip side, exclusive or part-time formula use is more often associated with an earlier return of your menstruation cycle, as early as 4 to 12 weeks after birth. Pun intended, you just have to go with the flow, and all of these scenarios are within the realm of typical.

Every woman needs to have a plan in place before you experience your first postpartum period. Recall your 9th grade Health 101 class. Ovulation occurs (roughly) two weeks before your period arrives.  Ovulation and your period are not mutually exclusive, meaning you could have one without the other. Only you know what is in your plans for the game of life, but it is helpful to consult your doctor or other appropriate, trusted source if you want to play a game of risk, play it extra safe, or plan for another birth in quick succession to your newborn.

Another mystery in learning your new normal involves the characteristics of your new period. For many mamas, the old normal is the new normal. Others might be excited to see some of their previous harsher symptoms—intense cramping, very heavy flows—disappear to more manageable symptoms. The opposite is true for some mamas who will miss their light periods as fuller, longer, more intense symptoms become the new normal. You may also find more spotting book-ending your period or more clotting passing through the heaviest days.

If your period doesn’t return or you have any symptoms that concern you, contact your doctor to discuss them. A doctor can rule out fibroids or any other number of issues that can affect your cycle. If you deliver your baby in your late thirties or beyond, a long-absent period could be a sign of premature menopause. All of these variances are all the more reason to see this life experience as a new discovery, getting to know your body anew, your new normal.

Lynette Moran shares her life with her husband and two sons, ages 2 and 3 years. She has cloth diapered both since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

Hormone-Free Birth Control Options

Friday, February 21st, 2014

Hormone-Free Birth Control Options


Choosing the right type of birth control can become even more difficult after becoming a mother. Most hormone-based birth control isn’t safe while breastfeeding, and even hormonal birth control deemed to be safe can have a long-term negative impact on your health.

According the National Cancer Institute the risk of breast, cervical and liver cancer is greater in women who have used oral contraception. The side effects are so controversial that Rikki Lake, executive producer of super successful birth documentary The Business of Being Born, is producing a new documentary on the topic.

Here are a few non-hormonal options that are safe during breastfeeding.

The Sponge.

If you’re a Seinfeld fan you’ve surely heard of the sponge. This female barrier method birth control is a small doughnut-shaped device coated in spermicide. Once inserted, it provides protection for a 24-hour period. It protects in three ways: it releases spermicide to kill sperm, it traps and absorbs semen before they have a chance to enter the cervix, and it acts as a barrier.  The sponge is 89 to 91 percent effective and can be bought over the counter at most drugstores.

The Diaphragm.

Another form of barrier birth control, the diaphragm is a shallow silicone cup that’s inserted before intercourse and covers the cervix to prevent sperm from entering. It should be used with spermicide, and should remain inserted for at least six hours after intercourse, but no longer than 24 hours since it can increase your risk of toxic shock syndrome. You have to be fitted by your doctor to get the correct size and to discuss if you’re a good candidate. The diaphragm is 80 to 94 percent effective, but that percentage drops if incorrectly inserted or pushed out of place during intercourse.

Natural Family Planning.

Natural family planning relies on taking your temperature daily, checking your cervical mucous and abstaining from sex when you’re ovulating. Luckily, technology has simplified this. With The Lady Comp you take your temperature daily and the program keeps track of any changes and determines your times of peak fertility, giving you a red or green light.  This is a great option once your baby begins sleeping through the night, since you need at least 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep before taking your temperature to get an accurate reading. It has a 99.3 percent effective rate when used properly. The Ova-Cue Fertility Monitor tracks the electrolyte levels in your saliva to find your peak fertility and is a good choice for moms who haven’t gotten their cycles back. It has a 98.3 percent effective rate.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.