Can you use fertility awareness methods whilst also using contraceptive pills?

Any questions or discussions that you ONLY want to discuss with our staff or volunteers.
(Users: please do not reply to other users here.)
VintageSunFile
newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2021 8:44 am
Age: 23
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Location: UK

Can you use fertility awareness methods whilst also using contraceptive pills?

Unread post by VintageSunFile »

Apologies if this is a bit of a silly question or I haven't explained this very clearly, but I am wondering whether it is possible to use fertility awareness methods (to avoid pregnancy) as well as the combined contraceptive pills?

My assumption is that it is not possible (or at least unnecessary) because I've heard that the contraceptive pill works by increasing the levels of oestrogen and progesterone, which inhibit the production of FSH and LH, ultimately preventing ovulation. So in effect there would be nothing to really chart, because your hormone levels stay relatively stable throughout the whole cycle when on the pill?

However, even through I take the pill I think I still experience hormonal changes. The week before my 'withdrawal bleed' I experience PMS symptoms (irritability, feeling overly emotional, breakouts etc) and typically when I am roughly mid-way through my pack I notice I feel much more energetic and outgoing and sexual (which are normally associated with ovulation). Are these changes just psychological? Or do the levels of hormones actually change over the cycle, even when I'm taking the contraceptive pill? Are there points in the cycle where the chance of conception is lower/ higher, even though I take the pill? (for example, during the 'withdrawal week')

Thanks for your help!
Marisha
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Mar 07, 2020 5:30 pm
Age: 22
Awesomeness Quotient: Aspiring sex educator
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Sexual identity and orientation: Bi
Location: USA

Re: Can you use fertility awareness methods whilst also using contraceptive pills?

Unread post by Marisha »

Hi VintageSunFile,

Not silly at all! As a person who is keeping track of their fertility by paying close attention to changes in their body, it makes sense that you would try to tune into these things.

You're exactly right in terms of how birth control works. You shouldn't need to chart changes to track ovulation because birth control prevents ovulation (+ keeps the cervical mucus thick and the endometrium thin), so there's no need to keep track of safe days. It does not change effectiveness throughout the month as long as you continue to take it correctly (every day around the same time each day). That being said, the changes you're experiencing are to be expected since the pill increases P & E and induces a pattern of PMS symptoms/ovulation signs in your body in a similar way to what your body would on its own. For example, your estrogen (and testosterone) goes up right before ovulation, triggering FSH & LH to prepare for ovulation/implantation. On BC, your estrogen remains at a constant high, which may be inducing a boost in energy/sexualness. Later, while you're on your placebos, which contain no hormones, your body experiences the same drop in P & E that occurs right around the time PMS happens.

Does all of that make sense?
VintageSunFile
newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Aug 14, 2021 8:44 am
Age: 23
Primary language: English
Preferred pronouns: she/her
Location: UK

Re: Can you use fertility awareness methods whilst also using contraceptive pills?

Unread post by VintageSunFile »

Thank you! That makes a lot of sense.:D
Post Reply Previous topicNext topic