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I only endorse natural methods of prevention and conception, so I won't cover all of the options available in detail. I stick with natural options and using creating less waste and plastic. I am aware of:
- the diaphragm and cervical cap with spermicide (spermicide creates packaging waste and is toxic)
- hysterectomy/vasectomy/tubal ligation (surgeries that affect hormones and aren't always reversible)
- hormonal birth control (blood clots, messing with hormones, and lots of packaging waste)
- withdrawal (ineffective and mean)
- Herbs (some to prevent/abort, some to conceive, but even bulk herbs come in plastic unless you grow yourself from paper seed packets)
Tools to Naturally Plan Your Family with Less Plastic and Waste:
- All natural lubricant: Coconut oil seems to be the go to for most naturally minded people, just buy it in a large glass jar (if you use it a lot for multiple purposes, totally worth it) or a plastic one that's recyclable in your area. I would recommend using other food oils such as canola oil if you are allergic to coconut. Oils aren't recommended for latex condom use, but not a problem if you are actively trying to conceive. (You will end up with those ridiculous and non-recyclable foil/paper wrappings if you choose coconut oil or no plastic if you refill glass bottles of other kinds of oil in the bulk section of your store. No bulk refill option for coconut oil currently.)
- Diet: Read this wonderful article by Wellness Mama for a very detailed post about fertility preparation
- Fertility Awareness Method: Covered in detail in "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", but you can take your temperature on a glass non-mercury basal thermometer (plastic free and no batteries to replace) and/or chart cervical mucus and other signs to see ideal times to conceive, prevent, understand your menopause, and be more aware of overall gynecological health.
- Ovulation Microscope: Fertile Focus has a small microscope for testing saliva for signs of impending ovulation. You will be able to detect ovulation with about five days notice, so you can know when to actively try or prevent. I would recommend using this method in conjunction with Fertility Awareness methods throughout non-pregnancy cycles for optimal gynecological health understanding and lower chances of prevention/conception failure. (Update 10/25/16- this microscope is almost completely made of plastic, but the packaging isn't. Great zero-waste & reusable option, but not plastic-free.)
- Paraguard IUD/Copper Coil: This option is hormone-free and lasts up to 12 years. The only waste generated would be from the packaging and sterile gloves from the removal and insertation process. Good for those not planning a family for a long period of time, or those who are done having children. Apparently, adjustment to insertion/removal is painful, so think long-term with this option.
- Condoms: Not a zero-waste or plastic-free option, but necessary in preventing STDs. There are sustainable, natural latex options out there that you can compost after use. The packaging is still unrecyclable and the product is a one-time use though.
Here's to a zero-waste and plastic-free family planning experience!
Little Urban Greenie