Birth Control 101

Birth control. The greatest invention since sliced bread. Whether you believe in the powers of birth control for medical and/or protection purposes, there is no doubt that birth control is currently in danger of becoming unavailable. With Trumpcare coming and going in congress, one thing remains constant throughout the different proposals made so far: birth control should not be widely and easily available for female citizens. The threat of taking away birth control coverage under employers as well as the eradication of Planned Parenthood is eminent and birth control could soon be next to impossible for many young women to get their hands on. That being said, now is the time to go out and get birth control if you think there is a possibility of needing it in the near future. Birth control can be especially crucial for medical purposes, however it's always a good idea for young women to start on it even before the possibility of intercourse to protect against an unwanted pregnancy-- which will also not be covered under the newly proposed Trumpcare and will cost women hundreds of dollars for something they cannot control. So, are you thinking about getting birth control but don't know where to begin? Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. IUD. By far the smartest option for long-term protection against an unwanted pregnancy is an IUD-- a small copper or medical-grade plastic T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus that stops any formation of cells. The copper IUD can be kept for up to 10 years which means it can withstand any healthcare changes that the United States will go through in the near future. The hormonal IUDs can be kept anywhere from 3-5 years which is at least good enough for Trump's current term. The best part: there is no maintenance while the IUD is in you for those years. You can basically just forget about it. Most health insurances these days cover part if not all of the cost for an IUD and it is certainly worth the money spent. 

2. Implant. An implant is a very small rod with hormones that is implanted into a female's arm right under the skin and can last up to four years. The procedure only takes a few minutes and the area of your arm is numbed so there isn't pain. This is another great option for women who don't want to take a pill every single day and either need the hormones or would prefer a hormonal method of birth control. The best part? Four years of protection without any maintenance. 

3. Birth control shot. This method can be a better option for those who don't like taking a daily pill because the shot is needed only once every three months. It's also hormonal and acts quite like the pill except you only have to worry about a four-times-a-year dose rather than daily. 

4. Birth control patch and birth control pills. These two types of birth control are very similar in their types and amounts of hormones as well as the classic three weeks of use and one week of non-use. A new patch is placed on the belly, upper arm, butt or back every week for three weeks and then one week off-- just like birth control pills are taken daily for three weeks and one week off. 

5. Condoms. When used correctly in conjunction with any of the above types of birth control, the risk of pregnancy and STDs is dramatically decreased. Luckily, even if future healthcare decides to take away availability of birth control, condoms will most likely still be around for purchase and use. Free access to condoms on the other hand could certainly be threatened so it's not always the cheapest option since condoms aren't covered under current healthcare. 

There are certainly more forms of birth control currently on the market however these are the most popular and/or the smartest long-term options especially in the state our country is going in terms of healthcare and birth control access. If the IUD isn't an option for you, look into the implant for the next best long-term option. After that, discuss with your healthcare professional about the best ways to get ahold of and maintain access to your birth control-- whether it be weekly, monthly, or quarterly. And remember, stock up on those free condoms now while they are still available!

Women deserve access to birth control no matter the circumstances-- don't let the government get in the way of how you care for your own body. 

Find more info about birth control here

{The views of this author do not reflect the views of the UNCW chapter as a whole.} 

[Photos courtesy of manrepeller, theblaze, latina, and publichealthwatch]