Today, we’re talking about the B word! LOL Birth Control! Before we dive in, I want to clarify a couple things:
- These are your options. This means you can further research options that seem to be the best fit for you.
- People have strong opinions on this category. Don’t be apologetic for what you choose.
- I have done a ton of research on this topic (hubs too) and we haven’t found a 100 % definitive argument FOR or AGAINST birth control, so we prayed about our options and made our decision.
- God is sovereign over everything, right? So don’t trick yourself into thinking that this is one thing He doesn’t have control over. Plus, since we are given a life of free will, I wholeheartedly believe God has given us the opportunity to make a well-informed decision.
Okay, now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s get into the good stuff.
Starting out on my BC (birth control) journey, I didn’t know there were other options than the pill and condoms. If you’re in that boat, welcome! Let’s take a look at our options:
- Female condom
- Fertility awareness/family planning/rhythm method
- Pull out method
Phew! There are a ton of options and vetting process may seem overwhelming, but let’s start big with the different categories of contraception and move from there. All forms of pregnancy prevention fit into one of these categories:
Birth Control– the practice of preventing unwanted pregnancies
Contraception– the deliberate use of artificial methods or other techniques to prevent pregnancy as a consequence of sexual intercourse.
Family Planning/Rhythm Method– a method of avoiding conception by which sexual intercourse is restricted to the times of a woman’s menstrual cycle when ovulation is least likely to occur.
Going into marriage and abstaining from sex sounds like the WORST thing ever. Especially after you waited for so long to have sex! Hang in there, though! It may make more sense once we dive in. The other two options are the ones you are most familiar with and have heard the most horror stories from.
Alright, so we’ve reached the breakdown! I’ve researched prices that you could pay out of pocket if insurance doesn’t cover all of it. I’ll add my experience with the options I’ve used. If you don’t have insurance, DON’T WORRY! There are family planning clinics that can help and are usually based on income or donation. That route was so beneficial for me while I was uninsured.
Condoms ($2)– they’re super cheap. They are worn over the penis (like a sock LOL. Great, now I have a horrible mental image) and they collect the semen that is released during orgasm (ejaculation).
Some people only use them during fertile days while others double up with their birth control. Condoms are made of latex, so find out if you’re allergic before you go nuts. There are non-latex condoms available though, so keep that in mind!
Diaphragm (~$75 prescription/ or covered by insurance)– it’s inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse. It’s used to cover the cervix to block any semen from getting through. You use it in conjunction with spermicide. It’s like an umbrella for your cerv.
Spermicide (~$10)– I’ve used products that contain spermicide, but I’ve never used it alone. You place the cream inside your vagina and wait 10 mins before having sex. It only protects for 1 hour and can cause irritation.
Female condom ($4)– goes inside your vagina and works like a male condom by inhibiting sperm from reaching your cervix.
Sponges ($15 for 3- Today Sponge)– I probably have too much experience with these. The Today Sponge is similar to a diaphragm by covering the cervix to prevent sperm but they have a few more additional steps to follow and they’re not a prescription. Sponges contain spermicide in them and to “activate” it, you need to run it under water and allow the sponge to suds up a bit. Then you push it in the vagina, up against your cervix. It’s soggy and annoying.
So, after you have sex, unlike other methods, you have to keep the sponge inside you for 12 hours for it to have its full effect. Take a shower and don’t be too alarmed if you smell something “off” while it’s still inside you. Removal is easy as it has an elastic loop on the bottom for you to grab. I am like 99% sure I received a lovely UTI from these things, so just be careful! 1/10 won’t recommend because it STANK.
Implant (Nexplanon) (~$850 or covered by insurance)– this form of contraception lasts for 4 years. Doctors insert a small rod, the size of a matchstick, into your arm. It contains progestin, which thickens your cervical mucus which makes it difficult for sperm from entering the cervix and fertilizing the egg. 99% effective.
IUD – Paragard, Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla(~$800 or covered by insurance)– I had 2 of these! There are two options of IUDs. The first is a non-hormonal option which is a copper T-Shaped device that is placed inside your cervix and can prevent pregnancies for up to 7 years and you can get pregnant as soon as you remove it. The other option is a hormonal (progestin) T-Shaped device placed inside your cervix. Mirena and Kyleena last up to 5 years while Skyla is only for 3 years.
My IUD Thoughts…
I’m gonna take a minute here to explain some things. First off, I think this is the most controversial of all “contraceptions” out there because there is something inside you inhibiting plantation of an egg by staying in your uterus and by thickening your mucus. There isn’t a vast difference between pills and IUDs but they are seen as worse because they actively block implantation (by being an obstruction to the egg). You can research more and decide for yourself what you think. The copper in the Paragard makes your uterus a poisonous environment for sperm and therefore is seen as less harmful.
I had two IUDs (Paragard and Skyla) and experienced excruciating pain. The insertion process is fairly uncomfortable, yet bearable, but the year following insertion was absolute hell. I frequently dropped to my knees from cramps that took my breath away (from both types of IUDs) and felt like my insides were being ripped apart… needless to say, I had them removed and haven’t looked back. I have heard stories similar to mine and have also heard great things about them. With the Paragard, I had extremely heavy periods. I use a cup (which can stay in for up to 12 hours) and was emptying it every 3-4 hours because it was overflowing! That was reason alone to get it removed. So again, do your research and know what to expect!
Nuvaring ($80 or covered by insurance)– This is my current form of contraception and my fave so far. It works by thickening your cervical mucus and stopping ovulation. Take note, though that 40% of women will continue to ovulate even on birth control. 91% effective.
Pill ($50 or covered by insurance)– probably the most popular form of contraception. Take your pill every day, at the same time, for highest effectiveness. I did this in addition to the Paragard IUD to move my period from our wedding day. 91% effective
Depo-Provera (shot ~$100 or covered by insurance)– You get a shot every 3 months. If you get it 7 days after your period, you’ll be protected right away. Any other time, use a condom for the first week. A lot of my friends have used this and have complained about acne and weight gain. 94% effective.
Patch -Ortho Evra (~$80 or covered by insurance)– once a week you change out a patch on your arm, belly, back or butt. 91% effective.
Natural Family Planning
Family planning/Rhythm method– You take your temperature at the same time every day. For best results, take it as soon as you wake up in the morning. Track your temperature (on an app or a journal) then you can check the position of your cervix and the consistency of your cervical mucus. A lot of period tracking apps allow you to add all of this information in one place, which is super helpful. On your fertile days, you abstain from sex or use a condom or the pull out method to help prevent pregnancy.
Pull-out Method– simply having hubs pull out before orgasm to prevent semen from entering your vagina.
There’s an adjustment period.
Don’t feel like you have to do what others recommend. And what works for them may not work for you. It isn’t uncommon to switch bc options, either! Don’t get hung up on the effectiveness rate. It’s just a number and you can get just as pregnant even with following your regimen to a T.
Start taking your birth control 3 mos before the wedding. It will help you with adjusting to your new routine and you will be protected for the honeymoon. Also if you misplanned your wedding and think you’re going to be on your period, don’t worry there are options! I took birth control pills for 3 months before the wedding and skipped the placebo week and went to the next set of pills and voila! No period for the honeymoon.
That was a TON of information, I know! But, it’s important to be fully informed on your decision for family planning.
Have a great rest of your week! Give your Hubs a smooch!