As women, we have choices to make. Different types of skin care products that work for us, types of pads/tampons that are comfiest and the [HB1] best way to protect ourselves from unplanned pregnancy. You have no idea how many first timers are anxious about picking the right birth control (I know I was one of them) and at times end up making the wrong choice because of the lack of information. The three popular choices for women are:
- Birth Control Pills
- Depo-Provera (aka the Shot)
Birth Control Pills
The way birth control pills work is simple; you take them once every day at the same time. Basically, the pill contains hormones that stop ovulation. No ovulation means no egg for fertilization. No fertilization means no pregnancy. The pill also thickens the mucus in the cervix, TMI! But this makes it harder for the sperm to swim towards the egg. You need to start taking the pill the day after your period has finished and abstain from sex for a week until the pill fully kicks in.
Everyone is different, meaning some will experience acne free skin and others will experience breakouts after taking the pill. Ask your doctor for more information about the different types of birth control pills to find your perfect fit.
Depo-Provera (Birth Control Shot)
Some say the shot has horrible side effects while others say the shot is their preferred method of birth control. As I stated above, everyone is different. Like the pills, the shot stops ovulation in its tracks with the hormone progestin and also causes thick mucus in our cervix. Every 3 months you must go in to retake the shot. It is recommended to take the shot one week after the start of your period. After taking the shot, it will protect from pregnancy almost right away. The shot is safe and in most cases it does not cause any health concerns.
IUD (Intrauterine Device)
If you haven’t heard of an IUD, it is a tiny device inserted into your uterus. Some say there is mild pain once it is inserted but after it should feel quite natural. The IUD prevents pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move so they don’t reach the egg. Fun fact: Para-guard, which is a type of IUD, can work as an emergency contraceptive after just 5 days of having unprotected sex, how awesome is that? Because there are various brands of IUDs, an IUD can be removed anywhere from 3-12 years. There might be some spotting after its been removed but expect to return to a normal flow right away.
Talk to your doctor to find out what contraceptive is best for you. The contraceptives listed below can range anywhere from $0-50 and at times can be found at your local health clinic for free with insurance.
The best way to avoid pregnancy is by staying abstinent or practicing safe sex by using condoms. None of these contraceptives listed above prevent STDs, please use caution. The FIU Student Health Clinic provides free testing and condoms for students and staff.
For more basic information on other types of contraceptives go to www.plannedparenthood.org
cover photo: www.thenationalcampaign.com