Why I Got Nexplanon -- And You Should Too

Plenty of girls in the world are all too familiar with birth control long before they even start to consider having sex. Women go on the pill for all sorts of reasons -- to regulate their period, acne, endometriosis, cramps and so on. In middle school and high school, we learn all about different types of methods of birth control amidst the giggles of nervous pre-teens. We are bombarded with information about all the horrible (but treatable) STIs we can catch, and are reminded that only abstinence -- ah, yes, glorious abstinence -- will protect us from ever getting herpes or, even worse, pregnant.

 

While Michigan legislators like to tell us to keep our legs firmly closed until marriage, a lot of us aren’t particularly interested in waiting that long. Whatever your opinions are about waiting until marriage, or having as much sex as humanly possible before the words “settle down” start to have a nice ring to them, it’s important to practice safer sex. Women deserve to know what their options are and have the opportunity to explore them until they find the best birth control for their lifestyle and personal health needs.

 

If you’re someone like me (i.e. in a committed, monogamous relationship), you’re not necessarily concerned about any of the STIs that our high school health teachers drilled us on. However, you might be concerned about a certain p-word: pregnancy.

 

In my life, and in my relationship, abstinence is unexpected, unnecessary, and unwanted. Prior to college, I had never been on birth control. I tried out the pill for a couple of months my freshman year, but I was absolutely awful at remembering to take it on time, and I experienced a few side effects that made the pill unfeasible for me. I had a friend who got an IUD, but I quickly decided that wasn’t for me. For awhile, my partner and I were just relying on condoms, but the relatively high failure rate of condoms prompted me to search seriously for a reliable, long-term method of birth control.

That’s when I started to look into Nexplanon.

 

You’ve probably heard the commercials before: “Armor up with Nexplanon!” However, if the only part you remember is the catchy tag-line, here are some basics.

 

Nexplanon is a small birth control implant that goes in your arm. It’s over 99% effective and it protects you from unwanted pregnancy for 4 years. A nurse or doctor simply puts the implant in your arm and voila! You’re protected for several years with a low-maintenance, highly effective birth control option. While it won’t protect you from STDs, it will definitely protect you from pregnancy. The most common side effect is changes in your menstrual cycle, particularly persistent spotting between periods. For some women, their period becomes more regular. Others stop having a period altogether. If you change your mind about Nexplanon, you can simply go back to your doctor and have it taken out.

 

My personal experience with getting Nexplanon was quite simple and it definitely could be for you too! First, I called my insurance to make sure that the procedure is fully covered (which it was). Health insurance currently has to provide coverage for birth control, but stay tuned since that could be subject to change under the Trump administration. I decided to have the procedure done at my local Planned Parenthood in Lansing, mostly because I don’t currently have a primary care physician, and also because Planned Parenthood is an incredible resource for women for all kinds of reproductive health needs.

 

I scheduled an appointment online through their website. No consultation was necessary -- I simply showed up the day of my appointment and had the implant put in. My experience at Planned Parenthood was overwhelmingly positive. My conversation with the clinician at Planned Parenthood was the first conversation I’ve had with a medical health professional that made me feel respected and capable of deciding what I want for my body. They empowered me to make my own decision and were supportive and friendly throughout the entire process. Within an hour, the implant was in my arm and I was free to head home. I left Planned Parenthood with a little card reminding me of the date in a few years when I’ll need to get the implant removed and a new one put in.

The healing process was almost as easy as getting the procedure. Since I’m a paranoid patient, I babied my arm a little more than necessary for about a week. I periodically check to make sure it feels okay, but otherwise I hardly even know it’s there.

 

My favorite thing about Nexplanon is the security I feel in my relationship and my sex life. Nexplanon helps make it possible for me to feel safe and comfortable exploring my sexuality, without worrying about pregnancy throwing a wrench in my life plans. Sometimes women feel like they need to explain away their desire for birth control with innocent reasons like helping their skin or regulating their period. But, it’s okay to want birth control just because you want to have sex. It’s okay to be sexual, and it’s okay not to be ready yet too.

 

No matter what you decide, be sure to carefully research your options and remember that your body is your own. You don’t owe anyone an explanation for why you want birth control, and you don’t need to apologize for being sexual. If you want to learn more about Nexplanon, or your other birth control options, peruse Planned Parenthood’s website for details on all the options available to you.