How Observing Birth Control Side Effects Drove One OBGYN to Offer Fertility Awareness in Her Practice


by Margaret Brady for Natural Womanhood

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Frustrated. Immobilized.

That’s how Dr. Summer Holmes Mason felt a few years into her practice.  As a board-certified OBGYN, she was dedicated to helping women manage their health. And often, that involved offering her patients contraception, like the Pill.

“Prescribing contraception was bread and butter gynecology for me,” she says. “It was probably one of the largest tools I had in my arsenal as an OBGYN to treat medical issues.” The medication was meant to help. But soon, Dr. Holmes Mason noticed a trend.

“After a couple of years, I realized people were coming back to me with more side effects than I thought was acceptable,” she says. One patient suffered a blood clot, a potentially deadly risk of hormonal contraception. Others struggled to find a form of the medication they could tolerate. “I’ve seen people cycle through birth control. They’d be on, sometimes, five or six or seven different kinds of birth-control pills . . . and they couldn’t find one that worked well for them.”

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Natural Womanhood is the most far-reaching women’s health literacy program since the Pill. We exist because many women are harmed by or at risk from the use of contraceptives, and most don’t know they have a viable alternative.

Natural Womanhood is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the promotion of fertility charting, as a way to promote disease prevention, self-knowledge, relational intimacy, and effective family planning. Natural Womanhood helps young women and couples regardless of their income, ethnicity, or religion.