Monday, February 20, 2012

Modest Methods of Birth Control

Brides-to-be are on a treadmill of choices: picking out the right dress, inviting the guests, and 

WOW!  LOOK AT THIS AWESOME CAKE!  Some happy Muslim couple got to cut into that one.

Well, those lucky ladies get so busy planing a special day that it takes someone like me to mention one more thing to arrange.

"Unless you want children right away,

you should consider how to not have them right away."

Remember, birth control is allowable in Islam.  You can wait to have children.  We are not in the "Every sperm is sacred" religion.  A husband and wife can get to know each other before starting a family.  The only birth control restrictions are that the delay can't be made permanent (tubal ligation and vasectomy are not allowable) and the delay cannot be due to fear you can't provide (since each child brings their own risq or blessings into this world). 

Recently, as a knowledgable older woman in Islam, I talked to a younger lady who is needing some straight talk to help her decide which method to use.  It will fall to her to make this major decision since we all know that men don't really care that much if a woman gets pregnant---now if it was the MAN to get pregnant and carry that baby for nine months, nurse it for two years and have the motherlode of the work raising the child...but it isn't.  It's going to be her not him to take this very seriously.

So what to tell her?

And how do I tell her the information without embarrassing either one of us?

I used a lot of analogies and some humor.

Natural Family Planning

Ovulation is the best time to conceive.  To figure out ovulation, a woman has to get to know herself better than she maybe wants to.  She has to figure out what kind of liquid she's getting ready for the swimmers.  If it's the consistency of a slippery hand sanitizer gel, then those swimmers can really get to where they're going. 

If you want to avoid having a baby nine months from now, then don't be with your husband when you are producing that gel.

If it changes to sticky, then NOPE too late and you're safe. 

Checking the consistency is only one part of the equation.  Marking the calendar or making a note on your cell phone is also a good idea. Keep track of when you had the first day of your last period  (LMP).  Here is an on-line way to track your LMP.  If you know that, then you can count about 13 to 14 days from that to find when you'll be ovulating.

The problem is that you will actually want to be with him exactly when your body is ovulating.  So you have to resist that urge to be with him.  Fighting a temptation?  And it's halal?  And it's on the other side of the bed?!  Difficult.

Read more about natural family planning here.


It's totally allowable.  Even the Sahabis asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about it and it was deemed alright IF the woman agrees beforehand.  However...

it's kind of like a drive to a beautiful garden which you've really been wanting to walk through together.  Except, when you're so close to enjoying that walk together, the man driving stops the car, gets out and goes by himself. 

Sitting in the car by yourself (knowing that you both enjoyed the ride but only he enjoyed the garden walk) isn't that much fun.


Imagine the biggest, bulkiest down jacket you've ever worn.  Now think of your man wearing one too. 

Imagine the hug.

Yep, you're hugging! 

You just don't feel it very well.


This is a  very common method here in Egypt.  It sounds strange because it's wearing a little letter "T" inside your uterus.

 Nobody sees it and nobody feels it.  There's a copper variety (Paraguard is a popular brand name).  There's also a hormone-releasing plastic IUD (Mirena is a popular brand name for that).

My 16-month personal experience with Paraguard was disappointing.  Yes, it was good in that it did the job.  I avoided pregnancy.  I also missed out on life.  There was so much spotting that I felt like a Dalmatian!

Maybe it wouldn't bother a Non-Muslim as much but we have to stop praying and stop intercourse during those spotting incidents.  We then have to take a ghusl a special shower to denote the ending of the period.  Spotting is very confusing on issues of praying (or not), intimacy (or not), and special shower (or not).

I switched to the Mirena and have been pleased with that.  It lasts five years as opposed to Paraguard's ten but there's no spotting issue.

Birth Control Pills

It's a daily pill so it's not good for those who hate taking pills. 

It's not good for forgetful women.  You have to take it the same time every day for it to really work.

Then, there's all these side effects which women worry they are experiencing from the pill including weight gain.

"It's not the buffalo wings and pizza! 

It's the pill that's making me fat!"

For me, I tend to worry about blood clots so that increased risk makes me an insta-hypochondriac. 

That aside, it is a way to keep from getting pregnant which doesn't include something to avoid, stop or put on or put in.  It's not effective the first month so see a doctor in order to get the prescription and start taking it a month ahead.

Planning ahead is always a good thing.  While it's great that young ladies can plan a brilliant wedding day, they need to plan a wonderful life as well.  Very few other decisions will affect and impact them as greatly as becoming a mom.  When brides marry they should know if they are also starting the road to motherhood or delaying.

It's an embarrassing topic in many ways but if the Sahabi could ask the Prophet (peace be upon him) then surely it is sunnah to become knowledgable ourselves.


New Wife said...

excellent post!!! thanks so much sister, do you mind if I link back to this post when i discuss the topic on my blog?

Thanks again! Jazakillah khair

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom New Wife,

I'm really glad that you felt positively about this post. It's always iffy to write something more questionable to others' tastes.

Of course you can link back.

You're welcome for any good info you found. I hope it helps.

Wishing you the best!

egyptchick7 said...

..."and the delay cannot be due to fear you can't provide (since each child brings their own risq or blessings into this world)"...

I didn't know that. For me, that would be a primary and responsible reason to use BC. But it is good to know that that is the Islamic view.

Salma @ Chasing Rainbow said...

Thanks sis...very important ;)