Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options

Holding an IUD birth control device in hand.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control Options

Birth control. It can be a controversial topic. But I think it’s necessary to discuss since there are so many different types available. And every woman/mother has to consider what they are going to choose for birth control . . . unless you want babies one right after the other.

Ever since I was 15 years old, I’ve been on birth control. My cycles were all over the place. My mother must have been getting tired of my crazy hormones because she decided that it would be best for me to start birth control to normalize my cycles. (This may go against your beliefs, but when your daughter’s cycles are every two weeks and miserable, you might reconsider too.) Since then, I’ve been on different types of birth control: several types of birth control pills, NuvaRing, different IUDs and a diaphragm.

Time for a Change

This past year, I decided that I want to cleanse my body. This meant I needed to choose a form of birth control that does not contain hormones. Those hormones are a lot for any body to handle, especially when you’ve been on them for over a decade, like me. I thought to myself, “my body has had these hormones in my system for almost 15 years. It’s about time to cleanse my system and get to know how my body works again. Especially if I want to have more children in the near future.”

Before I went into my doctor’s office for my well women’s visit and had her remove my IUD, I did some research on what types of birth control are non-hormonal and are more natural. After learning about all of the different options available, I thought I would share the different birth controls with you. I figured most w0men don’t even know about half of the options available. Here are the non-hormonal birth control options, the good and the bad about each.

1. Abstinence

Did you know that there are different types of abstinence? There’s:

  • Outercourse – Not having any vaginal intercourse. There can be other kinds of sexual activities but nothing that can lead to pregnancy.
  • Periodic Abstinence – Only have vaginal intercourse when a woman cannot get pregnant. This is also one of the Fertility Awareness-based Methods (FAMs) of birth control.
  • And Plain Old Abstinence – Not having any kind of sexual play with any partner.


  • has no medical or hormonal side effects
  • is free
  • prevents STIs (sexually transmitted infections)


  • It’s not the most effective birth control. Some people may find it difficult to abstain from sex for long periods of time.

2. Birth Control Sponge

birth control sponge

Image via

This disposable sponge containing spermicide is placed at the cervix and kills sperm before they can enter.

The sponge is more effective for women who have never given birth. If women who have never given birth always use the sponge as directed, it is 91% effective. If women who have never given birth don’t always use the sponge as directed, it is 88% effective.

Women who have previously given birth have a higher risk of pregnancy. If women who have given birth always use the sponge as directed, it is only 80% effective. And if women who have given birth don’t always use the sponge as directed, it is only 76% effective.

When used in combination with the male condom, the failure rate is only 2%. The cost is anywhere between $0–$15 for a package of three sponges.


  • It’s a barrier method and spermicide in one.
  • It does not interrupt sex play — the sponge can be inserted hours ahead of time and can be worn for up to 30 hours after you put it in. During that time, you can have intercourse as many times as you like during the first 24 hours without removing or reinserting the sponge.
  • It does not need to be fitted by a health care provider.
  • You can buy it in a drugstore without a prescription.
  • Easy to carry in your pocket or your purse.
  • With some practice, inserting and using the sponge is easy.
  • It generally cannot be felt by you or your partner.
  • It has no effect on a woman’s natural hormones.
  • They enhance the effectiveness of other forms of contraception such as condoms.
  • Safe to use during breastfeeding.


  • On its own, the contraceptive sponge is not a very effective contraceptive method. Always use it with another form of contraception. They do, however, provide good secondary protection when used with condoms.
  • Some women find it difficult to insert and remove the sponge, or forget to take it out all together.
  • If you cannot remove a sponge, or if one breaks into pieces and you cannot remove all of the pieces, see your health care provider immediately to have the sponge removed.
  • Some may also be allergic to the spermicide.
  • By itself, the sponge will not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • The sponge contains the spermicide nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 has certain risks. If it is used many times a day, or by people at risk for HIV, it may irritate tissue and increase the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • Some women who use the sponge report recurrent yeast infections. If this is the case, talk to your doctor about finding a different method of contraception that works best for you.

3. Breastfeeding as Birth Control

Sometimes called LAM (Lactational Amenorrhea Method), breastfeeding is a natural way to prevent pregnancy after giving birth. It is effective, safe, convenient, and free!

Less than 1 out of 100 women (only 1%) who practice continuous breastfeeding perfectly will become pregnant. Only 2% of women who use continuous breastfeeding will become pregnant in the first six months if they don’t always practice it correctly. Using breastfeeding as birth control can be effective for six months after delivery in certain circumstances. It is most effective if a woman does not substitute other foods for a breast milk meal, feeds her baby at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night, and has not had a period since she delivered her baby.


  • It does not affect a woman’s natural hormone balance.
  • It is immediately effective.
  • Breastfeeding is free.
  • It requires no prescription.
  • It needs nothing to be put in place before vaginal intercourse.
  • Breastfeeding reduces bleeding after delivery.
  • It requires no supplies or medical supervision.

Additionally, breastfeeding also has many health advantages for the baby. It:

  • decreases the likelihood of infection from germs in water, other milk, or formula.
  • increases body contact and enhances comfort for the child and bonding between mother and child.
  • passes on some of the mother’s antibodies to protect the baby from certain infections.
  • protects against the development of allergies and may protect against the development of asthma.
  • provides the best nutrition.


  • You can only rely on breastfeeding to prevent pregnancy for six months.
  • Some women find it hard to exclusively breastfeed and not use any formula.
  • If formula is given to the baby, the woman has a chance of getting pregnant again.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce vaginal lubrication when a woman is aroused.
  • It may also make a woman feel like her breasts are less sexual.

4. Cervical Cap (FemCap)

FemCap options

Image via

A cervical cap is a soft, silicone device inserted into the vagina in front of the cervix. It prevents sperm from entering. It is more effective for women who have never given birth.

For women who have never been pregnant or given birth vaginally, 14% who use the cervical cap will become pregnant each year. For women who have given birth vaginally, 29% who use the cervical cap will become pregnant each year. Therefore, to increase effectiveness, it should be used with a spermicide – failure rates increase when used alone.

A cervical cap lasts for up to two years and it costs about $0–$75.


  • Easy to carry in your pocket or purse.
  • It generally cannot be felt by you or your partner.
  • A cervical cap is immediately effective and reversible.
  • It has no effect on a woman’s natural hormones.
  • There is no interruption during sex — it can be inserted up to six hours ahead of time.
  • Safe to use during breastfeeding.


  • You can’t use it during menstruation.
  • A cervical cap may be difficult for some women to insert.
  • It may be pushed out of place by some penis sizes, heavy thrusting, and certain sexual positions.
  • It must be in place every time a woman has vaginal intercourse.
  • You may need to replace it with a slightly larger cap after pregnancy.
  • The device is not overly effective if used without a spermicide.
  • It doesn’t protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).

5. Diaphragm

The diaphragm is a latex cap that covers the cervix and prevents sperm from getting inside. Always use the diaphragm in combination with a spermicide, placed inside the diaphragm, to offer protection from pregnancy.


It offers women privacy and control, because they can insert it before sex. If used perfectly, the failure rate is 4-8%. In other words, if 100 women use it correctly for one year, four to eight of them will become pregnant.

  • Easily carried in your pocket or purse.
  • Safe to use during breastfeeding.
  • The diaphragm generally cannot be felt by you or your partner.
  • It has no effect on a woman’s natural hormones.
  • It is immediately effective and reversible.
  • There is no interruption of sex play — easily inserted hours ahead of time.


  • Some women find diaphragms difficult to insert at first, and others find that it doesn’t fit them right.
  • There is also a chance of developing a urinary tract infection while using it.
  • Does not protect against STIs.
  • May be pushed out of place by some penis sizes, heavy thrusting, and certain sexual positions.
  • Must be in place every time a woman has vaginal intercourse.
  • May need to be refitted especially after having a baby.

6. Female Condom

The female condom is a polyurethane sheath in the shape of a round, upside-down baggie inserted into the vagina before sex. This condom holds in the sperm, preventing it from entering the vagina.


  • It’s the only contraceptive controlled by females that protects them from both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Allow women to share responsibility for preventing infection.
  • Easy to purchase in drugstores and some supermarkets
  • Your partner can insert it as part of sex play.
  • Can be used by people who are allergic to latex.
  • Safe to use with oil-based as well as water-based lubricants.
  • Do not have an effect on a woman’s natural hormones.
  • Do not require a prescription.
  • May enhance sex play — the external ring may stimulate the clitoris during vaginal intercourse.
  • Stay in place whether or not a man maintains his erection.
  • Used perfectly, the female condom has a failure rate of 5%.


  • Some women may have trouble inserting it correctly.
  • Cause irritation of the vagina, vulva, penis, or anus.
  • Reduces feeling during intercourse.
  • They can be expensive – around $3-$4 each.

And let’s be real, it probably feels like you are putting a baggie or trash bag in your vagina . . .

7. Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (FAMs)

Fertility awareness-based methods (FAMs) are ways to track ovulation — the release of an egg — in order to prevent pregnancy. Some people call FAMs “natural family planning.”

There are several methods you can use to predict when you will ovulate.

  • Temperature Method — You will take your temperature in the morning every day before you get out of bed.
  • Cervical Mucus Method — You will check the changes in your cervical mucus every day for the first part of your cycle until you are sure you have ovulated.
  • Calendar Method — You will chart your cycles on a calendar.

It is most effective to combine all three of these methods. Together, they are called the symptothermal method.

  • Standard Days Method — You will track your cycle for several months to be sure that your cycle is always between 26 and 32 days long. Never longer or shorter. Then, you will not have unprotected vaginal intercourse on days 8–19.

Twenty-four out of every 100 couples who use fertility awareness-based methods each year will have a pregnancy if they don’t always use the method correctly or consistently. Always practicing these methods correctly will make them more effective.


  • They cost very little.
  • They’re safe.
  • They can be stopped easily to plan a pregnancy.
  • Calendars, thermometers, and charts are easy to get.
  • Medication is not needed.


Fertility awareness-based methods may not work for you if you:

  • have more than one sex partner.
  • have a sex partner who isn’t as committed to fertility awareness-based methods as you are.
  • don’t want to keep close track of your safe days.
  • are not able to abstain or use another method for at least 10 unsafe days during each cycle.
  • take medicine that may affect reading the signs of these methods.

Do not depend on tracking your fertility if you have:

  • irregular periods.
  • a partner who is not cooperative.
  • a sexually transmitted infection or frequent abnormal vaginal discharges.
  • cannot keep careful records.

It may be more difficult to track your fertility if you are breastfeeding, are a teenager, or are getting close to menopause. The hormone shifts may make the signs unpredictable.

Don’t switch to a fertility awareness-based method after using a hormonal one, such as the pill. The hormones will affect your cycle. Instead, use a method without hormones while you’re learning to track your fertility. I’ve met too many couples that have accidentally gotten pregnant from this method after getting off of hormonal birth control or right after giving birth to their child (and not practicing breastfeeding continuously).

8. ParaGard: Copper Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)

ParaGard copper IUD

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The copper IUD is a small, T-shaped device with a copper wire. Inserted into the uterus, the copper wire changes the chemistry in the uterus and destroys sperm.


  • The copper IUD provides up to 5 to 10 years of contraception (depending on the type), and has no negative impact on future fertility, once removed.
  • It fails in only 1 of 100 users per year.
  • The IUD should not alter the timing of your periods.
  • Women who use an IUD have a lower rate of ectopic pregnancy than women who do not use any birth control. However, if pregnancy should occur, it is important to see your health care provider immediately, because there is a significant chance the pregnancy is in the fallopian tube.

The copper IUD may be a good choice for you if:

  • You are at low risk for contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
  • Are looking for a long-term, reliable method of contraception.
  • You have had failure with other methods in the past (can not remember to take the pill).
  • You’re breastfeeding (it has no effect on breast milk).
  • You have completed your family but do not want a tubal ligation.
  • You have problems with hormonal methods of contraception.


  • The copper IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV. (Use condoms to protect against STIs or HIV.)
  • Women who use the copper IUD find that their periods may get heavier, longer and more crampy.
  • Complications associated with the IUD are rare but may occur. Possible complications of inserting an IUD include irregular bleeding or spotting, perforating the uterus (making a small hole in the uterus), infection, or expulsion (the IUD falls out).

9. Spermicide


Image via

A chemical called nonoxynol-9 comes in the form of cream (only for use with diaphragms), gel, foam, film, or suppository. By inserting spermicide in front of the cervix, in the vagina, it destroys sperm on contact. Spermicides should be used along with another method of contraception, such as a condom, because alone they are not highly effective.


  • Along with protecting against pregnancy, spermicide also protects against bacterial infections and pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • It can also be used as an emergency method, if inserted immediately after you have an accident with your primary contraception.


  • Spermicide can be messy.
  • You have to insert spermicide right before sex, because it’s usually only effective for one hour.
  • It may irritate the entrance of the vagina or the tip of the penis.
  • Using a spermicide alone can increase your risk of HIV transmission, so only use it with a steady partner.
  • The failure rate of spermicides used alone is between 6% (perfect use) and 21% (typical use).
  • The popular spermicide called nonoxynol-9 does not protect people from sexually transmitted infections as previously thought.
  • The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now requires contraceptive products that contain this spermicide, such as condoms, vaginal gels, inserts, and contraceptive film, to carry a label indicating nonoxynol-9 does not protect against STIs.
  • It may actually increase the risk of getting HIV from an infected person, because of the irritation it can cause to the lining of the vagina or rectum.
  • The SOGC recommends that spermicide only be used by women who are at low risk for STIs and HIV, for example, women in monogamous relationships where STIs have been ruled out. It’s best to use uncoated condoms instead of nonoxynol-9 coated condoms.

10. Sterilization for Women (Tubal Sterilization)

In tubal ligation, the two fallopian tubes, which transport the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus, get disconnected. The egg never meets the sperm, and pregnancy is impossible. Because reversal is costly, difficult, and not guaranteed, tubal ligation is considered permanent. However, a 1-2.5% chance of failure may occur up to 10 years later, because sometimes the tubes try to “heal” themselves.


  • It’s the most effective method of contraception that is controlled by women.
  • It is ideal for families who don’t want to have any more children.


  • Pain, bleeding and nausea may follow surgery.
  • Some women eventually regret their choice, and find that they can’t reverse the process.
  • Tubal ligation provides no protection against STIs.

As you can see, there’s a lot of options that are non-hormonal which are less aggressive to your body. You may want to consider one or more of these methods if you think that the pill, patch, ring, IUD or injection are not the right choice for you.

Are you using a non-hormonal birth control? What do you think about it?

About the Author /

Nina is The Baby Chick® & CEO of Baby Chick®. She is a baby planner, birth doula, postpartum doula, childbirth educator, newborn care specialist, and a mother. With over eight years of experience, she has supported hundreds of families during their pregnancies, births, and postpartum journeys.

They repeat what we do. Show them love. Love for o They repeat what we do. Show them love. Love for others and for yourself. ❤️⁠
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📷: @maryfairyboberry
Helpful Parenting Tips for Enneagram Type 3 Moms: Helpful Parenting Tips for Enneagram Type 3 Moms: The Achievers ⭐⁠
Last month, we learned all about Enneagram Type 2 — Helper Moms. 💕 Today we are going to explore the world of Enneagram Type 3 moms. These Achiever Moms are the performers of the group and work hard at seeking approval in their lives. Here are some ways Achiever Moms can use their unique personalities to become the best versions of themselves as parents. Threes are known to be driven, ambitious, and image-conscious. They live for success. They fear of being worthless or failing. Here are some helpful parenting tips for enneagram type 3s. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
Article by: Lauren Flake @loveofdixie⁠
📷: @ashton.creates
“You are my reason.⁠ ⁠ You are the reason I “You are my reason.⁠
You are the reason I get up each morning.⁠
Even though my eyelids are as heavy as a five-ton truck.⁠
Even though all I want is to sleep in, a coffee and breakfast in bed.⁠
You are more important.⁠
You need me.⁠
For you, I would do anything.⁠
You are the reason I am finally comfortable in my own skin.⁠
Even though I am a size bigger than I used to be.⁠
Even though my boobs cannot be described as 'perky'⁠
You relied on my body.⁠
You gave it purpose.⁠
For you, I will always love it.⁠
You are the reason I now know the importance of patience.⁠
Even though I sometimes miss the fast-paced life.⁠
Even though I still get frustrated when I feel inefficient.⁠
You need me to go at your pace.⁠
You are the priority right now.⁠
For you, I slow down.⁠
You are the reason I worry more than ever.⁠
Even though I know it won't change anything.⁠
Even though it's not your fault.⁠
You are precious.⁠
You are vulnerable.⁠
For you, I will worry forever.⁠
You are the reason I am now filled with gratitude.⁠
Even though I get sad when things do not go my way.⁠
Even though I sometimes lose sight of what I have.⁠
You are my constant reminder that I am blessed.⁠
You are the light at the end of every tunnel.⁠
For you, everything is worth it.⁠
You are the reason that my heart is full.⁠
Even though I am grateful for our life before you.⁠
You have shown me a love like no other.⁠
You are remarkable.⁠
For you, my heart explodes.⁠
You are my reason." ❤️ Words by @hangingwiththeheaphys 💕⁠
We love birth stories and hearing all the details We love birth stories and hearing all the details about how each baby was born. What’s your baby’s birth story? 👶❤️
📷: @she_plusfive
Your Child's Stomach Pain and Headaches Could Be A Your Child's Stomach Pain and Headaches Could Be Anxiety⁠ 💔
Have you noticed that your child is complaining of stomach pain and headaches? Or perhaps they seem tired and irritable despite getting the correct amount of sleep? Perhaps these things are simply coincidental, but maybe they’re not. Did you know that even children suffer from anxiety disorder? In fact, the most common mental health condition in children is anxiety disorder. If you are sensing that there may be something else going on, keep reading. {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading this mom's personal journey with child anxiety disorder.⁠}⁠
Article by: Katie Gibbons⁠
📷: @lisa.boettcher
Fun Pregnancy Announcement Ideas 😍🤰⁠ .⁠ Fun Pregnancy Announcement Ideas 😍🤰⁠
Few of life’s events can have you bursting at the seams as much as “we’re making a human!” will. Sharing this news with those you love, like, or just tolerate, has become easier and more instantaneous than ever with the advent of social media. These days, most moms-to-be want to share their pregnancy announcement with as many people as possible . . . and the cuter idea the better!⁠
Here are some fun and unique pregnancy announcement ideas for you to share your incredible news. Whether you like to use humor, romance, or a sweet surprise, these ideas are some of the most picture-worthy around!⁠ ⁠{Click 🔗 in bio to see the pregnancy announcement ideas!⁠}⁠
Article by: Rachel MacPherson⁠
📷: @karissakayabbott
Pretty sure my mouth and nose are covered too. 😑😂⁠
📷: @thedecentmother
I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. There are s I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. There are so many AMAZING benefits for the mother and child. But you know what I am an even bigger advocate for? A mother's well-being -- her physical, emotional, and mental health!!⁠
Sometimes we make plans and God laughs. Some of us plan to breastfeed our babies for 3 months, 6 months, a year, 2 years. Some of us meet our goals and some of us don't. (🙋‍♀️ My goal was to reach a year and made it 7 months.) Breastfeeding can be a lot more challenging than many of us expect. There can be complications along the way, the baby could have allergies, and sometimes breastfeeding or pumping can take an immense toll on a mother's mental health.⁠
It is my firm belief that we must care for and support the new mother just as much as we care for and support the new child. 💕 While I feel there is so much value in breast milk, in my opinion, if it compromises the health of the mother, it is not worth it. As long as the baby is being fed, cared for, and loved, that is all that matters. And for the mother to grow and thrive in her new role as a parent to continue caring for her child, she needs to do what she feels is best for herself and her family. Sometimes that is not breastfeeding or pumping.⁠
No matter your feeding experience or preference, you are a good mother. Whether your choice was made by you or made for you, you must do what is right for you and your baby. Your health (mentally, physically, emotionally) matters. ❤️
Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Was Harder For Me Than Be Being a Stay-At-Home Mom Was Harder For Me Than Being a Working Mom⁠ 😬⁠
Being a full-time, stay-at-home mom of small children is a lot like being the CEO of a corporation. But without anyone working under you and without receiving payment for your efforts. Kinda crazy when you think of it like that, huh?⁠
I smile as I write this, but that feeling was sometimes true for me. Of course, there are different ways to frame our choices as mothers. Such as looking at stay-at-home-motherhood through the lens of sheer fulfillment that comes from spending quality time with your kids and teaching them the ways of life. For me, what I eventually realized after my second child was born was that I needed to create a lifestyle that filled in the gaps where I felt something was missing. Specifically, I needed someone to help me manage my kids and my household. And I needed to be earning some money myself.⁠ {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading this mom's story!⁠}⁠
Article by: @kristen_vhmiddleton⁠
📷: @thegoddessher⁠
CC: @herholisticpath
Pretty much what summer is going to be like. 🤦‍♀️😑⁠
📷: @realamericandadass
Chick Picks: Best Baby Swings and Baby Bouncers⁠ Chick Picks: Best Baby Swings and Baby Bouncers⁠ 👶⁠
In the womb, babies love when you move and walk around because it rocks them to sleep. 🤰💤 When they are born into a cold and bright world, all of that change is a shock to the system! 😱 This is why babies love being cuddled and rocked by you. Your warmth, your scent, and that motion calms them and makes them feel right at home. However, it's unrealistic to think that any parent can constantly rock and bounce their baby. Your arms, shoulders, and upper back will ache! 😫 This is why baby swings and baby bouncers are a thing and why many parents swear by them. 👍 But what are the best baby swings and baby bouncers on the market? 🤔 We are sharing our favorites -- also known as our Chick Picks! -- so that you can look at the best ones and determine which is the right one for your baby. 😍 {Click 🔗 in bio to continue reading!⁠}⁠
📷: @_aalina
Wishing that your day looked a little like this. 💙⁠ Someday soon we will all be united. 🙏
Dad giving a bottle to his baby, and a bottle to his baby, and a bottle to his baby. 🍼😂 We love dads!!⁠
📷: @nicolemacklephoto
Cheers to the good fathers. Today is your day. We Cheers to the good fathers. Today is your day. We don't thank you enough for everything you do every day for your family. You are appreciated more than you know by your partners and children. We hope today you feel that love and gratitude.⁠
Happy Father's Day! 💙
Happy Father's Day 💙 Sending love to anyone who Happy Father's Day 💙 Sending love to anyone who needs it today. ⁠💕⁠
📷: @gmf.designs
From the moment I knew of you, I loved you.⁠ Fro From the moment I knew of you, I loved you.⁠
From the moment I met you, I would die for you.⁠
Being your father is the greatest joy yet heaviest duty.⁠
From your first breath to my last, may you always know my unending devotion and love for you. ❤️⁠
📷: @monetnicolebirths
"I have a hero. I call him Dad."⁠ Dads. They are "I have a hero. I call him Dad."⁠
Dads. They are our superheroes. ❤️ How are you going to celebrate the Dads in your life that you love and appreciate this weekend?⁠
📸: @masseya
If that ain't the truth. 💙 Shout out to all the If that ain't the truth. 💙 Shout out to all the great dads out there! Your time, attention, and love is creating a better world. 🌎💕⁠ We hope you have a wonderful Father's Day weekend!⁠
📷: @hallmarkbaby
I know that we have been quarantined with our fami I know that we have been quarantined with our families for a long time. But remember . . . this time with our kids is temporary. These moments right now that we are creating with our kids will be what they remember as their childhood. Plan a picnic in the backyard. Have a family talent show. Make snow cones. Go "camping" and count the stars at night in the back of your truck. But most of all, savor these moments. 💕