Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Choosing a method – FAM?

3 March, 2009

Question:

Hello. Thank you in advance for answering my question.

I am 36 and B"H have 8 children ages 1–12. Since my last child was born 14 months ago I have been on Jolivette (generic for Ortho Micronor). I am still nursing a lot and have not gotten my period yet. I don't really like the idea of continuing to take medicine regularly (even though, thank G–d, I haven't really had side effects.) When I spoke about it with my doctor, she basically gave me other options for birth control. As you can imagine, I have not been on birth control much and am frankly just nervous about long term effects I might not know about to my overall health.

I saw a bit about the FAM method of birth control on your website and wanted to know whether you recommended it or not. At this point, I know I would like to be on birth control for another 6 months at least and then we will reevaluate. Thank you


Answer:

Since each individual situation is distinct, and medical history, lifestyle, and other factors can affect the medical and halachic preference for a given method, we are reluctant to make a recommendation at this stage.  As noted in our site's article on the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM), a major concern about FAM is its level of efficacy.  Professional training in its practice is critical.  Even with the training, it is not as reliable as the more common methods. We highly recommend consulting with your physician about it and other methods (not just pills), taking your individual circumstance into account.

Before you make a decision, we direct you to our site's articles on contraceptive methods under the "Family Planning" section of our site, including the overview on Choosing a Method.  One non-invasive method that could be suitable, is highly efficacious, and should not have long-term health effects is the diaphragm, about which we also have an article.  (It is also possible to use the diaphragm in conjunction with FAM.)  We also suggest you read through our article on the copper IUD, which may be worth considering, especially if you are thinking about longer-term contraceptive use.

Please get back to us with any further questions.


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