Some 14% of women between 18 and 29 said they are using natural birth control methods to avoid pregnancy, a survey among 1,600 women by the Rutgers institute sexual and reproductive health has shown.
It is the first time the use of these methods have been gauged since reports about women turning away from conventional contraceptives, such as the pill and the IUD, have been on the rise.
“It’s good to finally have these figures,’ Rutgers researcher Hester van Soest told RTL Nieuws. “Family doctors and GGD health boards are reporting that more women want to know about natural contraception but we had no idea how big this group was.”
Some 25% of the women said they avoid having sex on fertile days in their cycle while 62% said they use condoms. One in eight said they put their faith in their partner pulling out in time.
A majority of women, some 62%, said they used natural contraception because of the hormones in other contraceptives with 35% saying they feared hormones could damage their health. Some 41% said they wanted to be more in touch with their body.
“While we think it’s up to women to make an informed choice we don’t think natural contraception is the safest way to avoid pregnancy,“ Van Soest said.
She also said claims around fertility and contraception which make the rounds on the internet are “anecdotal” but are taken to be true.
“It’s important family doctors take these women seriously and talk about the best solution for them, which may well be natural contraception. And that is fine. We want to avoid giving the impression that is it isn’t.”
Rutgers did not investigate if the use of natural contraception resulted in more pregnancies.
Abortion clinics had previously reported they are seeing more women who ask for an abortion because they have become pregnant as a result of using natural contraception, such as an app to check when they are fertile.
“This is mainly women aged 18 to 28 but we see younger girls as well,” Raïna Brethouwer, chairwoman of the abortion clinic association NGVA told NOS in July last year.
“The increase seems to go hand in hand with a so-called ‘hormonophobia‘, to do with a backlash against the pill and young women wanting to have a healthier lifestyle,” she said.
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