Birth Control| Better Options, Better Choices

Selecting a birth control or contraceptive method is very important for women. After all, our bodies are different and what works for one woman may not work for the next. Let’s be honest, if we don’t take control of protecting ourselves then who will? When selecting a birth control method, it is important to evaluate the side effects and benefits of each contraceptive. There has been quite a bit of controversy around the YAZ brand birth control pill as well as the Mirena IUD. There are other contraceptive options and especially several different brands. Brand can be a factor as well. There are alternatives that have fewer hormones and are potentially a better choice for your body. All it takes is a little research and an open mind and you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. You should discuss any concerns that you may have with your doctor. Your doctor is your first and foremost authority for information regarding birth control options. Develop a relationship with your doctor so that you are comfortable discussing your health openly. Here are a few options that you can consider as alternative birth control methods and you should discuss these alternatives with your primary physician as well.

Birth Control options

Copper IUD
Yes, there was a lot of controversy around the IUD brand Mirena. That’s why it’s very important to do thorough research and take your findings to your doctor before conclusively choosing a “popular” brand birth control. However, if you are looking for a contraceptive that non-hormonal, go for the Copper IUD.   It does not interfere nor increase your sex drive, and it’s reversible. It can stay in place up to 10 years if you like, but it can be removed by a doctor at any time. If you are looking for the convenience of not having to remember to take your birth control and you want something without hormones and is immediately effective, then give the Copper IUD a try.

Jolivette Birth Control Pill
This birth control pill is normally prescribed to mothers who are breast feeding; main reason being that it does not contain any estrogen. Other birth control pills contain both estrogen and progestin. Again, another birth control option with fewer hormones. However, with this birth control pill, be certain to take it the same time every day. Studies show that it is less effective than other birth control pills due to Jolivette not containing estrogen but it is a viable option. You have to decide what is more important to you, and that will help you make the best decision for which type of birth control you choose. So if you prefer to take your birth control everyday but would like to have something with fewer hormones, then this is an option for you. Just set a timer on your phone or clock as a reminder to take your pill. Or build it into your daily regime, such as taking the pill after you brush your teeth. This way you can avoid forgetting to take your pill on time.

FAM (Fertility Awareness Method)
If you prefer completely natural forms of birth control, then there are several FAM’s available. There are no devices, no hormones, no drugs—it’s all natural. With a combination of the Rhythm method, Basal Body Temperature method and the Cervical Mucus Method, you can either prevent pregnancy or you can carefully identify when you are ovulating and when you are most fertile. The choice is yours. The Rhythm method works as follows:
Step 1: First you track your menstrual period for at least 6 months straight to figure out when you are ovulating. You must be diligent about tracking your menstrual period, for with this method it totally depends on your cycle and your diligence about tracking your cycle on a calendar. You should abstain from sex during your ovulation period. Considering that sperm can remain in a woman’s body for up to 3-5 days, you have to keep this in mind when using this method.

Step 2: Identify your shortest cycle and your longest cycle. Subtract 19 from your shortest cycle and then subtract 10 from your longest cycle. The two numbers that you derive to would be the time in which you should abstain from sex. For example: If your shortest cycle was 24 days, then you subtract 19 from 24, which would mean that you are not fertile up until the 5th day. If your longest cycle was 31 days, then you would subtract 10 from 31 and that would leave you with 21. This means that you are also not fertile after this date. However, between the 5th and the 21st, you are ovulating and you need to either abstain from sex, use a condom if you are going to have sex but do not want to get pregnant, or choose this as a time to increase your chances of conceiving if you are interested in bearing a child.

Step 3: Seek a counselor who can provide details about the Rhythm Method and guide you through the first six months of tracking.

Another FAM is the Basal Body Temperature (BBT) method. This method tracks your body temperature when you wake up in the morning. You can purchase a basal thermometer to help with this method. A woman’s body naturally rises in temperature around the same time she is ovulating. Charting your basal body temperature can help determine when your body peaks, indicating that you could be ovulating. Look for days when your body temperature is consistently high several days in a row. You are more likely to be ovulating on the first day and a few days prior. Look for a pattern. Track your body temperature for at least three months to identify a pattern that would indicate that each month around a specific time, you are possibly ovulating.

Lastly, the Cervical Mucus (CM) method is another natural form of birth control. Your body naturally changes when there is a hormonal shift. Your cervical mucus color will change in your body due to this hormonal change during your menstrual cycle. And yes, it is a vaginal discharge. So this is something that you can test for yourself without going to a doctor. You’ll notice that sometimes your CM is dry, then it may be sticky, then it may have an egg white color. The egg white color is an indicator that you are beginning to ovulate. You can test using your fingers. You’ll notice that your CM will begin to have a stringy clear mucus appearance to it and this lets you know that you are within your fertile window.

By combining these three Fertility Awareness Methods together, you’re more likely to have successful results, when using this option. Choosing a birth control type is never easy. There is so much to consider and it’s okay. Start with one method at a time, do your research, consult your physician and make the decision that is best for you and your body. After all, it is your body.


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