Are you considering using hormonal birth control? Here’s what you need to know to help you decide what’s best for you and your partner.
Let’s face it. The only way to be safe and responsible when it comes to sex is not to have sex at all. Ever. Unfortunately for us all, sex is so good that it hardly comes without a price. Yes, there are upsides like orgasms and well-prepared periods of parenthood, but there are also downsides like STDs, STIs, and unplanned pregnancies.
If you want to have the best chance of enjoying sex with the least risk and probability of getting caught up in the consequences, you need to consider all forms of birth control – even abstinence. Good luck with that.
How effective is your birth control method?
Let’s start with the most important, yet least likely to be used method of birth control – abstinence. Abstinence has a 0% chance of pregnancy, with a slight chance of getting Herpes Simplex 1 through kissing. For the stats that really matter, the findings below are much more agreeable to your sexual needs and desires.
The most common methods of birth control used by the majority of the population are male condoms, combination hormone pills, and the withdrawal method. ECPs, or emergency contraceptive pills, are not considered birth control methods because they are usually ingested after insemination.
According to the 2007 edition of Contraceptive Technology, the most effective method of birth control among those three are pills (99%), followed by male condoms (98%), and then withdrawal (96%). Note that these are only possible through perfect execution or usage.
If you don’t take your birth control pills exactly on time every day, the chances of getting pregnant will increase. The same goes for when you don’t put a condom on properly, or if withdrawal occurs too late. No method of birth control is perfect, which is why you should always strive to use it responsibly and diligently. So, when you hear the words, “Can we take the condom off?” take a little time to think about it.
Why you should start taking the pill or other hormonal birth control methods
Hormonal birth control methods include birth control pills, IUDs, and Depo-Provera injections. All of these are proven to effectively cease ovulation or push it back so that you won’t get pregnant as easily as you would without them.
They don’t guarantee a 100% success rate for preventing unplanned pregnancies, however, and they most especially do not protect from STDs and STIs. Sadly, the drug that can do that has not been invented yet.
Hormonal birth control is technically the most successful form of birth control, next to surgical means like ligation. Tying or cutting your tubes is not for everyone, especially those who wish to still have children one day. That’s where hormonal birth control comes in. It gets the job done, while still giving you the chance to change your mind about having kids.
The beauty of taking the pill or having an IUD inserted is that it allows you and your partner to have sex without the need for a condom or withdrawal. Using those methods can lessen the likelihood of an unplanned pregnancy, but the chances of getting pregnant are still the same regardless of how many methods you use at the same time.
Foregoing the condom and withdrawal methods allow you to have sex that’s not hindered by barriers or stop-gaps during the deed. Of course, your guy will be extremely thrilled about this news, but you still need to consider your options. A less than 100% chance of success still means that there’s an itty bitty chance that you could be the exception.
Thus, there’s always the slight chance that you could end up being in the 0.01% minority group. Mother nature can sometimes prevail, whether you like it or not. Your job is to lower the chances as much as possible, and be realistic about the possibility that you may become pregnant.
Before you try these birth control methods, you should discuss it with your OB-GYN. They will advise you on how to properly use each method, when to take it, where you can get it, etc. You should never solely rely on the information that the internet gives you, as there are a host of uncredible sources out there.
If you want to know more about what to expect, here are the pros and cons of hormonal birth control. Your doctor will tell you about these, but it’s a good idea to go in prepared with questions or concerns you may have.
Pros of birth control pills
#1 99% chance of not getting pregnant. Yay!
#2 More estrogen can mean clearer skin for some users.
#3 Regulates your ovulation within a few months.
#4 Some pills act as diuretics that can lessen your water retention.
#5 Estrogen powers the female sex drive, thereby increasing your libido.
#6 Lessens the intensity of menstrual cramps without the need for pain killers.
#7 Decreased chances of ovarian cancer.
#8 Reduced risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.
#9 Reduces risk of ectopic pregnancy.
#10 Reduces symptoms of endometriosis.
#11 Reduces the chances of breast cancer.
#12 Allows you to experience sex without barriers like condoms and desensitizing spermicides.
#13 Less expensive than a baby.
Cons of birth control pills
#1 Does not protect against STDs and STIs.
#2 Adverse drug and substance interactions when not taken as advised by the doctor.
#3 Dangerous side effects include low blood pressure, osteoporosis, and many others. Ask your doctor about the risks.
#4 Adverse interactions include breakouts like acne.
#5 Increased chances of heart and blood vessel disease for women ages 35 and up.
#6 Weight gain due to increased appetite when using ordinary birth control pills.
#8 Breast tenderness.
#10 Mood swings. Ugh.
#11 Takes longer to return to normal menstrual cycle when you decide to stop using it.
#12 Increased chances of pregnancy when not taken diligently.
#13 More expensive than condoms and abstinence.
While there’s always a slight chance of pregnancy and STDs any time you choose to have sex, the above forms of birth control can greatly reduce these risks. Just remember to do your research so you can make an informed decision, and you and your partner will experience less stress as a result!