Birth Control – All Things Considered

All right, bear with me here, as we’re about to jump in to a topic that could ruffle a few of your feathers, but in a good way.

Our hope is that this article will be another reminder that you’re in control of your health, and being informed is one of the best tools you can have in your box. You get one body for your entire life, it’s time you took command of it, as well as what outside factors you choose to let affect it.

Now let me preface these points with the fact that this isn’t to say you should discount what your doctor recommends for you, but in the name of taking control of your own health, this is a decision that shouldn’t be 100 percent dictated by your doctor.

The topic of birth control may seem relatively simple, but chances are you may not have had much of a choice where this aspect of your health is concerned. This may be in part because you thought you knew what you wanted, but you didn’t realize all of the options out there. Or maybe your doctor just prescribed you something without really having a conversation with you (and that’s a topic for a whole other day).

The bottom line is birth control is just like any other decision you make regarding your health, like choosing what to eat every day or whether you’re going to take the elevator up a couple floors or if you’re going to take the stairs. Here are the factors that need to be considered before making a choice:

Your Lifestyle

If you’re someone who travels frequently or you’re so busy you can’t be bothered with remembering to take something like your birth control pill, then that method may not be best for you. Some women are better off with an option that they only have to think about once a month such as the birth control patch or ring.

Then there are options like the birth control implant, which is implanted in your arm, or the IUD (intrauterine device), both of which last for years. Definitely more of a commitment in price, time and process, but these options may suit your lifestyle better.

For example, you may have a couple of children and know you don’t want anymore, but the permanency of sterilization is not something you’re ready to do or even think about. Rather than keeping up with a frequent birth control method that is daily or monthly, something that lasts for a few years might be more comfortable given your lifestyle and your point in life.


Your Relationship

First and foremost we hope all of our Women’s Health readers are fully aware that birth control does not protect you from STDs. Secondly, while one birth control method (or a couple methods used simultaneously) might be ideal for the sexually-active woman who is not committed to one partner, it may not be the best combination of methods for a woman who is monogamous, or even a woman who is monogamous, but has no intention of having children with her partner.

While this choice is still entirely yours, if you are in a relationship where purposefully becoming pregnant has been a topic of conversation, it might be beneficial to seek out your partner’s thoughts. Do research together and do some talking about the future to move forward with your decision.


Your Body

Plain and simple, every body is different, which is why there might be a birth control method or prescription that does not properly mix with your body chemistry. For example, from a personal perspective, one birth control pill I was on for just a couple months caused me to cry constantly for no reason at all. It wasn’t pleasant to say the least. Then I moved on to a birth control pill that seemed to be fine for about a year, but upon further research I discovered this pill has a long string of well-documented medical problems among many of its users, so I made another switch.

This is just one personal account, but I’ve heard first hand from many other women how they tried one method that just didn’t work. Not in the sense that it didn’t do it’s job of preventing pregnancy, but it just didn’t react with their body as well as other options did once they tested a few out. Don’t be afraid to try different methods or ask about them until you settle on one that doesn’t interfere with your quality of life.


Your Opinions

By far one of the most important factors is your opinion on the matter. There’s not much to explain here other than the fact that you should never feel pressured to embark on a new birth control method that you feel is not the best option for you.


At the end of the day, women take birth control for a variety of reasons other than the obvious one of preventing pregnancy. And just like your reason for using birth control isn’t one-size-fits-all, neither is the method in which you receive it.

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Elle Michels

Elle Michels

Based in Washington, D.C., Elle Michels is a contributing writer to Womenshealth.com.