Holistic contraception is an approach to contraception where a woman and her
partner choose the most suitable method/s of contraception for them, taking into account life stage, health concerns (including whether or not protection from infection is needed), relationship factors and the side-effects and effectiveness rates of available methods of contraception.
Holistic contraception invites an ongoing process of curiosity, learning, discovery and communication. As straightforward and obvious as this may sound it may not always be easy as infomercials are often presented as ‘health information’, and not all providers of contraception and contraceptive information offer a full range of choices, nor are they trained to. This is especially true in relation to fertility awareness methods.
To practice informed choice we must first have information.
My own interest in fertility awareness, specifically Natural Fertility Management, began when I learned these methods for myself. It’s usefulness in terms of the information it gave me for contraception quickly paled in relation to the sheer AMAZING! of intimately knowing what was happening inside my body as it was happening. The ebb and flow of hormones, eggs and uterine lining along with everything else that grooved with these, set me off on the journey where you find me today.
Learning about the rhythms of fertility and infertility through the precise methods of modern fertility awareness, and understanding barrier and sterilisation methods (temporary and permanent), women and their partners are able to make the best contraceptive choices, while also having the knowledge they need to change to other methods as and when they become more appropriate. By understanding how to use their chosen method/s for best results couples are also motivated by the clear intention of their choices and as such are less likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy.
Alexandra Pope and I wrote The Pill: Are You Sure It’s for You? in 2008 to clarify the confusion, misinformation and myths surrounding all kinds of contraception, not just the pill. The book unpacks a holistic view with information about all forms of available contraception and their side-effects, an examination of pertinent research, how to reestablish a healthy menstrual cycle, tips on contraception conversations, lots of women’s and men’s stories and much more. Of particular interest to parents and carers of girls, is the research and discussion on the specific and worrying side-effects of hormonal contraception for teenagers.
These articles: Is the Pill right for you?, The Pill: the myths, the politics and the consequences and The Pill: Is it right for your teenage daughter? elaborate on a number of these themes.