Diaphragms! Cervical Caps! FemCap! Caya! There is a whole language surrounding natural birth control options, but to most of us, it sounds like gibberish. Often we don't learn about these natural birth control options at the doctors office, so unfortunately, they remain shrouded in mystery.
But at the same time, women are experiencing a shift. We still want effective birth control, yet we are trying to minimize the artificial hormones we are exposed to, eliminate unnecessary synthetic chemicals from our lives, and avoid health risks and side effects like depression and low libido. What we need is a reliable natural birth control method, that is free of synthetic hormones and allows our bodies to function and fluctuate organically. Ladies, it exists! One of the main concepts behind natural birth control is instead of putting a foreign chemical into your body to stop ovulation or implantation, you can use something to literally block sperm from entering your cervix. Want natural birth control? Stop sperm from entering your uterus instead of using chemicals to turn off ovulation all together. Pregnancy can only occur if sperm enters the cervix, travels up to the uterus, and meets a fertile egg. Stopping the sperm's journey is really all that is needed to eliminate the risk of pregnancy at the root.
Turning off ovulation with hormonal birth control, or implanting a foreign substance like a coil/IUD to stop implantation, are both drastic measures that we've come to accept as the only birth control options. But they are not! Barrier contraceptives are the majestic underdogs of natural birth control. They create a barrier between sperm and the cervix, stopping the sperm from ever entering the uterus, and therefore eliminating the chance of pregnancy. So instead of playing all sorts of games with your natural hormones and internal functioning, you close the door. Problem solved! Condoms are the most well known barrier contraceptive. After all, they block sperm from travelling to their target. But while condoms are the safe sex kings, if you are in a long term relationship with no concern of STDS, condoms can become a drag, interrupting that sexy skin-on-skin sensation and pausing the flow of an intimate moment.
Enter Diaphragms (Caya diaphragm or traditional diaphragms) and cervical caps (FemCap). These lesser known barrier contraceptives are inserted into the vaginal canal before the start of intimacy, and sit inside the vaginal canal to block sperm from traveling upwards. Six hours after intercourse, when sperm is no longer viable, you simply take the diaphragm or FemCap out, similar to removing a tampon. Diaphragms are the classic barrier contraceptive that was the go to birth control before hormonal birth control came of age. A circular silicone dome is held in place by the vaginal walls to block sperm from passing and traveling up towards the cervix and uterus. NFP and FAM can be used in along with a diaphragm during fertile times (to learn more about what NFP is, read on here). When used correctly along with a contraceptive gel, diaphragms are an outstanding 94% effective.
A downside to the traditional diaphragm is sizing. You must be fit by a trained health practitioner. And because the effectiveness goes way down if you are using the incorrect size diaphragm, you must regularly ensure that your diaphragm size has not changed. The new Caya diaphragm aims to eliminate much of the frustration around diaphragm sizing with its single size design. Fitting is still necessary, but once you know you fall within the range of sizes that Caya works with, you can use it without fear of your size changing. Whichever diaphragm option you opt for, most women are thrilled with this natural, effective, and virtually side-effect free birth control.
FemCap was designed to improve on the diaphragm and open up the world of barrier contraception to more women who are searching for hormone-free birth control. It lightly suctions to the cervix — literally capping it and preventing sperm from entering. FemCap is notably smaller and less intimidating than a diaphragm. In controlled studies, more women were able to correctly place a FemCap without prior instruction. It’s design features a dome that caps the cervix, a ring that can be easily gripped for removal, and a brim that holds contraceptive gel in place.There are only three sizes for easy access: one size if you’'ve never been pregnant, one if you were pregnant but did not deliver vaginally, and a third if you did have a vaginal delivery.
Don't forget, FemCap, Diaphragms, and Caya all need to be used along with a spermicide or the non-toxic spermicide alternative ContraGel.