Making An Informed Decision About Birth Control: What You Need To Know

Choosing the proper form of birth control is a big decision. And, if you are married or with a significant other, the decision is not just yours to make. In most instances, this is a long term decision as well.

Michael Castleman of Great Sex Guidance is a frequent resource of ours. In his article “Men Who Want Great Sex MUST Participate Fully in Birth Control”, 

…………..”Great sex also requires trust.  The vast majority of women-and many men-can’t trust a lover who doesn’t care enough about unplanned pregnancy to discuss contraception beforehand.”

We urge open and honest communication with almost every situation we address in our articles. There are several factors to consider before moving forward with a new form of contraceptive or, a change to your existing birth control.

Your personal lifestyle and habits are the biggest factors when deciding which method of protection to use.  Do you know what your family plan is? This is a factor because long term use of certain contraceptive options can affect your fertility. 

Are you and your partner in agreement with your own family plan? Knowing that up front can help in directing you toward the right choice of birth control.  As always, age and your personal medical and menstrual history are important factors to consider.  

Knowing you and your sexual partner’s preferences is important in choosing protection from pregnancy. Do you want your protection in place for spontaneous occasions or, do you mind incorporating your method of choice into your foreplay? Knowing your criteria for contraceptives and doing proper research in advance will make your doctor’s visit more satisfactory. 

While the efficacy rate is high for birth control pills, if you cannot adhere to a daily schedule, your chance of getting pregnant is greatly increased and therefore not as viable of an option for you as for others. 

I wish that my gynecologist would have had me keep a menstrual diary long before I had to be removed from birth control. If I had sufficient information about long term birth control use in advance, I  would have planned differently for when I approached menopause and still had to utilize contraception.

Knowing your risk factors can help you in choosing the right contraceptive, as well as previous responses to prior contraceptive use (if applicable). 

Researching all of your options before initiating a new form of birth control or, switching birth control methods can cover the crucial questions concerning efficacy and whether or not it is a method you are a candidate for. Side effects are a major item on the list before making an informed decision.  You and your partner have to both be at ease and comfortable with whatever method you choose.  It is important to understand that there are side effects and personal preferences for both men and women as to which partner chooses to be the protector.

These days, there are various options of birth control that can benefit those people that have experienced side effects with other methods. 

The OWH, Office on Women’s Health, has an article on their website that gives a comprehensive list of birth control methods.  This chart further provides a list of the number of pregnancies per 100 women in their first year of use. 

Another category covered in this informative article are the side effects and risks of each of the itemized methods. 

As mentioned above, choosing how often you to have to take or use each various method is also included in this article.

Medical News Today published an article “What are the long-term side effects of birth control?"

According to the author,

“The safety of using long-term hormonal birth control may depend on a person’s risk factors, age, and medical history”

The short-term side effects were covered earlier.  Most people can utilize contraceptives for a long time without significant problems.  However; this article not only includes information about birth control and cancer, it has CRITICAL information about birth control and blood clots.

“Blood clots increase a person’s risk of a stroke and heart attack.  People who smoke may be especially at risk for developing blood clots when using birth control pills.” To read the full article click here. 

If you are in the position of having to change your existing regimen of birth control, your doctor will work with you to find the solution that works best for you. 

To ensure complete protection, there are a few things that you can do to minimize a switch of birth control methods. 

The Reproductive Health Access Project suggests following the steps in this guide when switching birth control methods. 

There is research available that suggests a correlation between birth control and migraine sufferers particularly, those with auras. 

Communication with your partner and your physician is the key to having the information you need to make an informed decision about birth control.

Start a menstrual/birth control diary.  This will help monitor any changes to your overall health or, whether you experiencing side effects from birth control or from something else. 

Being equipped with such valuable information assists your physician in keeping you healthy and protected from unwanted pregnancies. 

It should be noted that many women are placed on birth control pills for other medical reasons than to prevent pregnancy.  Those women also need to consider their risk factors, age and medical history prior to long term use.

“When making a decision of minor importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and cons.

……..Sigmund Freud