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#NaturalBirthControl: Vegan birth control, what is it and does it work?

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Lactose is in most forms of 'hormonal' birth control pills and latex condoms, which comes from milk. Most of them also go through animal testing before testing on humans, so in that sense it's not vegan.

JENNA RYU: Experts say these natural, fertility awareness-based methods are especially appealing for strict vegans who take issue with latex condoms, which contain a milk byproduct, or hormone-based contraceptives such as birth control pills…

“Lactose is in most forms of hormonal birth control and comes from milk,” says Elina Berglund, co-founder of the first FDA-cleared natural birth control app, Natural Cycles. “Most of them also go through animal testing before testing on humans, so in that sense it’s not totally vegan”…

One popular and inexpensive birth control option is the basal body temperature method. Many people who have tried to conceive are likely familiar with the concept: You chart your temperature every day using an accurate thermometer. A slight increase in body temperature can indicate when you’re ovulating, and therefore most likely to get pregnant.

Experts recommend taking your temperature as soon as you wake up — even before getting out of bed. This will be a close proxy to your basal body temperature, or the body’s lowest resting temperature. “If a woman keeps track of her basal body temperature during her menstrual cycles using a special, ultrasensitive temperature tracker, she will be able to detect this subtle rise in body temperature,” says Dr. Sherry Ross, a women’s health expert and author of “She-ology”…

“So tracking temperature daily during several menstrual cycles will allow her to identify the days of the month she should avoid having vaginal penetration sex to avoid getting pregnant”… However, experts caution external factors, such as alcohol consumption, illness, and even using a heated blanket, can influence a rising temperature.

Similarly, the cycle tracking method involves carefully tracking your cycle. Berglund’s app, Natural Cycles, allows users to manually input their body temperature every morning, with an algorithm estimating which days they are fertile. “The benefit of hormone-free birth control is that you learn a lot about your body and it’s all natural, so you don’t get those unwanted side effects from options like the pill and it’s cost-friendly,” Berglund says…

In short, experts say these natural birth control alternatives are not as effective as hormonal birth control and condoms. The Natural Cycles app has a 98% effectiveness rate with perfect use, past research has shown… But experts say it’s important to understand the efficacy and potential pitfalls of these non-hormonal methods – and they emphasize these methods don’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases… They say it is safest to utilize multiple forms of contraception, such as vegan condoms. SOURCE…

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