According to research, 99% of sexually active women that fall in the 15-44 age bracket in the US have used birth control. While research is much scarcer in Europe, 4 out of 5 women of childbearing age are estimated to be using contraception. It’s also assumed due to the freer society in Europe that women use birth control more freely than in the US.
Family planning has been classified as a human right according to the UNFPA. Hence, every woman has the right to do with her body what she believes is healthy for her. In order to help you out, here are 7 birth control tips that not only make birth control more effective, but also much safer.
How to Take Birth Control Pills?
There are several ways you can get on the pill.
First Day Start
These are meant to be taken on the day that you begin your period. The pregnancy protection kicks in immediately. Hence, there is no backup contraceptive required.
True to their name, these are meant to be started right away. They’re an option if a doctor confirms that you’re not already pregnant. They need time to build in your body. For these, you’ll need a backup contraceptive like a condom for 7 days.
Some pill packs are arranged to start on Sunday. They are meant to be taken after menstruation begins. However, they’re not meant if you’re having sex right before.
Types of Pill Packs
- 21 day pills are designed to last until your period each month.
- 28 day pills are designed to last you the whole month. The first 21-26 pills contain estrogen and progestin. The rest are dummy pills which allow for menstruation.
- 91 day pills are meant to last for 84 days. The last 7 have estrogen only, or are inactive. These are for when you have your period in the last 7 days.
- 365 day pills are meant to last the entire year. These make your periods much lighter or stop them from happening at all.
Ensure You’re Taking the Right Pills
Remember to always consult your physician before you take birth control pills. They will not only check you for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), but also your blood pressure. You may also need a full gynecological exam before you’re prescribed the right pill. This is one of the best tips for birth control.
What pill you can take can depend on your blood pressure, your smoking habits, your family history of disease, etc. Other things that may affect what pill you can take include:
- If you started breastfeeding within the past month
- If you have migraines with aura
- If you have complications related to diabetes like nephropathy, retinopathy or neuropathy
- If you’ve had surgery within the recent past
- If you have any type of liver disease
- If you have unexplained uterine bleeding
- If you’re over 35
What to Do About Missed Doses
We’re all human so we’re bound to miss a dose every now and then. Set reminders on your phone to make sure that you don’t miss doses regularly.
You may want to consult a physician if you’ve missed a dose or consult your local pharmacist. Also, make sure to use a condom if you can’t find the name of your pill if you’re having sex during this time.
Finally, educate yourself about emergency contraception; more on that later.
Always Have Backups
Remember to have backups with you at all times. You should always be prepared if you’re going to be taking a trip or going on a date. Even if you’re in a normal situation where you’re going out with friends or simply going shopping, take birth control along. This can be in the form of a pill or in the form of a pack of condoms.
Do this especially if your partner is new to you. It’s best to use a condom in this scenario. This is the only form of birth control which protects you from STDs and can prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
Talk to Your Partner
It’s always the right thing to do to be honest with your partner. Birth control maybe awkward as a topic, but you’re going to have to come clean. If you’re trusting enough to have sex with someone, it’s important that they earn your trust and you earn theirs.
Being open and honest about the types of birth control you use and when you use it is crucial. It’ll also help your partner understand how they can do their part in ensuring active birth control use.
Finally, sharing with your partner can help you shift to a different type of birth control when the time comes. If you and your partner are comfortable with a certain type of birth control than others; you should discuss it.
Don’t Cheap Out
Remember to always use trusted brands when going for birth control. This will not only ensure that your birth control is effective, but that you’re protected from infections. Read the labels for FDA approval and never go for novelty birth control like flavored condoms.
Size matters as well. So be open and honest with your partner when you’re selecting condoms. Comfort and fit doesn’t just help in better sex, but safer sex.
Educate Yourself About Emergency Contraception
Remember that we’re only human. Hence, if you make a mistake, you should always have a backup plan. Emergency contraception is for when all else fails. The most popular is the morning after pill. It can be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex or contraceptive failure.
The important thing to know here that it doesn’t terminate pregnancy. It can only prevent one. In this way, it works as all other birth control methods do. It’s not an alternative to an abortion pill and shouldn’t be treated as such.Using these tips for birth control can keep you healthier and your relationship much richer. If you need further advice on different types of birth control, please contact us at FPA Chicago.