There's a quiet revolution taking place that is changing the way women are treating their fertility and their bodies.
Many women have turned to fertility awareness, a method of family planning where women rely on their body's natural signs of fertility to avoid pregnancy.
Here are five reasons women are ditching birth control in favor of more natural methods.
Free from Side Effects
Hormonal contraceptives have increasingly come under scrutiny for the many serious side effects associated with their usage, especially among smokers and older women.
Some surgical alternatives such as the intrauterine device and implants in the fallopian tubes have been known to migrate to other parts of the body and cause complications.
Fertility awareness, sometimes called natural family planning, has no side effects since it simply involves collecting data about a woman's cycle and using that information to predict natural periods of fertility and infertility.
Easy to Reverse
Fertility awareness is an ideal option for women who know they will wish to get pregnant in the near future.
Because there are no chemicals that need to leave the body or procedure to remove anything, couples can start to try for a baby right away.
Also, having information on her cycles will help a woman to know when her best chances are for getting pregnant.
Since she's used to tracking her cycles, a woman will often know whether she's pregnant shortly after conception before pregnancy testing would even pick up the hormone levels.
Focused on Health
Rather than trying to stop the natural processes that govern a woman's fertility, natural family planning focuses on easily observable symptoms that let a woman know when she's ovulating.
One bonus of doing this is that it provides feedback about a woman's overall health, letting her know when and where things might be going wrong in her cycle such as hormonal imbalances that cause periods to come too frequently.
Safe for the Environment
Hormonal contraceptives are known to stubbornly persist in the wastewater, even after treatment.
This has an impact on fish and wildlife downstream from water treatment plants, and may even be detrimental to human health.
Also, fertility awareness leaves no carbon footprint as opposed to medications or devices.
From shipping the raw materials to the manufacturing process to getting the finished products into the hands of consumers, other methods greatly contribute to environmental pollution.
Great for Relationships
Since fertility awareness requires communication between the couple, it can often help them be on the same page when it comes to family planning.
Each cycle is a new opportunity to examine whether it might be the right time to start trying for another baby after all, or they may see that postponing trying for a baby that month makes sense.
It also eliminates the need for women to be the gatekeeper of intimacy since both people have to participate in the short periods of abstinence required to make the method work.
More and more women are ditching birth control going natural — and it's a very good thing. Women should always consult their physicians before making any medical decisions, however.