'Natural' birth control offers no protection, least effective

Student Health Services

If students are offered Partner's Health Insurance, then why doesn't University Medical Center accept it? Why do students with Student Health Insurance have to go all the way to Tucson Medical Center?

Sad but true, it all comes down to money.

UMC is an excellent medical center and it is very convenient for students. We use UMC for life-threatening emergencies day and night due to its proximity. Students with private medical insurance can go to UMC or any health facility designated by their insurance plan.

Student Health Insurance is procured through a bidding process to offer the most economical insurance to students for emergency and specialist care. Partner's insurance company has the bid for this academic year and the facility they use is TMC. This could change in the future.

A Catholic friend told me there is a method of "natural" birth control utilizing a woman's body temperature to determine fertility and it is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Is this true?

The "natural" method of birth control is called the rhythm method. It involves avoiding intercourse during your fertile period. There are basically three types of rhythm methods:

Calculating when a woman thinks she will ovulate, approximately two weeks before her period begins.

Women can use their basal body temperature to predict ovulation. A special thermometer is needed, temperature must be taken daily before getting out of bed and results charted for 3-4 months to establish a pattern. There is a rise of about 0.4-0.8F before, during and right after ovulation.

Women can also try to predict ovulation by checking and charting the consistency of the cervical mucus.

The benefits of the rhythm method is that it is accepted by most religions and you don't have to purchase contraception.

The downsides of the rhythm methods are: they offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases; measuring, calculating and charting are tedious to perform on a regular basis; things such as stress, illness, fever and the use of any vaginal products can cause changes in cervical mucus and basal body temperature, making the rhythm method unreliable; it is the least effective method of birth control. On the average, 20 women out of 100 get pregnant within one year while using the rhythm method.

Read Next Article