We keep getting users over the last couple years who are using a combined hormonal birth control method, but also still seem to think they do or will have normal ovulation cycles while using those methods.
For example, “Oh, gawd, I use the pill but I had sex and I’m sure this was during my ovulation time! Do I need Plan B?”
But if you’re using those methods properly? You don’t ovulate.
(And you don’t need to use Plan B, because the method you already use is already doing everything Plan B does and more.)
Those combined methods work in three ways, by suppressing ovulation (and changing your cycle throughout all of each method pack or cycle to do that), thickening cervical mucus and thinning uterine lining. So again, if you’re using your BC method properly, you’re not ovulating: one big way these methods work is to keep that from happening, through all of each cycle.
Don’t believe me? Chart for a cycle or two, every day, using cervical mucus and/or basal temperatures. Then compare that chart to sample charts you can easily find online from people who are ovulating. You’ll be able to easily see that those charts are like night and day, and that you aren’t seeing what those folks are.
You can’t tell a woman’s method of birth control by looking at her, but you’ll know if she’s using an IUD, or intrauterine device, because she won’t be able to shut up about it. My friends who have IUDs, not known to recommend so much as a hairdresser, extol the virtues of the device with the unsolicited but contagious conviction of the Avon lady. The difference is they’re not making a commission.
I mentioned this phenomenon to an acquaintance, Lisa, who said she, too, was getting it from all sides. Two out of three of her closest friends have IUDs, which once turned a dinner conversation into a two-on-two conversion mission. Meanwhile, a cousin tipped her off to a Planned Parenthood program that offers free IUDs to qualified women. Lisa wasn’t looking for a new form of birth control. But, like a line on a room in a rent-stabilized apartment or a too-good-to-be-true sample sale, the benefits of the IUD appear to be too great to keep to one’s self. “Women who have IUDs seem eager to defend them and argue in favor of switching to them,” she said.
They begin by explaining that the T-shaped device (“Smaller than a penny!”) is inserted by a doctor or nurse (“You’re in and out in fifteen minutes”) and remains in the uterus (“I’m part bionic”), preventing pregnancy for up to ten years with minimal side effects — other than the quasi-religious fervor.
Myunscientific survey suggests that a vocal IUD enthusiast can convert(and will brag about converting) two women each year. Call it IUD evangelism; the voluntary mandate among users to spread the good news appears to be working. In 2002, IUDs made up 2 percent of Americans’ contraceptive use. Now combined use of the ParaGard copper IUD and Mirena hormonal IUD accounts for more than 10 percent, and the rate is expected to continue rising, thanks to inclusion in the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate and the strange blend of word-of-mouth marketing and feminist consciousness-raising they inspire.
Read the rest at New York Magazine here.
September 26th is World Contraception Day. Yay! We love contraception THIS MUCH. We love the potential ability for everyone to always be able to decide if and when they’re going to become or be part of a pregnancy; if and when they do or don’t create a family, if and when reproduction is going to be part of their sexual lives.
We’d love it even more if that kind of agency and access was a reality for every single person on the planet.
Today, help yourself to some of our content on contraception:
Or, you can go right to each page for any available methods (sparing vasectomy and tubal ligation, pages and methods coming to the list soon!):
Still want more? (So greedy! Good for you!) You can use the search function at our site to find much more, or use our tags, for birth control contraception, or any individual method you want more information about. And by all means, if you’ve questions you want to ask directly about contraception, how to use it, how and where to get it, we’re always standing by at our message boards or SMS service and are glad to help you out.
RH Reality Check always does a bangup job with this day, and this week, there are already several excellent pieces over there, including from IPPF, Robin Marty, Martha Kempner and more, so we suggest them as a great next stop today.
Teenage girls may prefer the pill, the patch or even wishful thinking, but their doctors should be recommending IUDs or hormonal implants — long-lasting and more effective birth control that you don’t have to remember to use every time, the nation’s leading gynecologists group said Thursday.
The IUD and implants are safe and nearly 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, and should be “first-line recommendations,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in updating its guidance for teens.
Read the rest at the Washington Post here.
This is a fantastic sea change: we’re so excited to see the ACOG recommend this. For so long, goof-proof, long-acting contraceptives we know are the most reliable at preventing pregnancy have effectively been kept from young people, with the first-choice recommendation — usually the pill — a method that in studies, has been shown to be far less effective for teens than older people, especially after the first few months of use, primarily because it’s just awfully easy to mess up.
While plenty of doctors have finally let go of the notion that nulliparity (not having been pregnant before) presents an issue with IUDS, some still won’t advise them for younger people due to STI concerns, as mentioned in this article.
If you find yourself in that situation, ask your doctor to look up the current data. The scoop on that as of the last few years is that for around just the first three weeks after IUD insertion, contracting an STI is indeed something that could cause serious health concerns. However, a person can reduce those risks by simply using condoms for that time period, or abstaining from sex altogether. You can let your healthcare provider know that either of those is what you intend to do to limit or eliminate those risks.
(Of course, we think using condoms regularly, for people of any age, is a good idea since STIs are always a possible issue.)
Also, of course: there’s no one best method for any group of people, despite the title of this article. What method is best for anyone is very individual. So, ideally, a healthcare provider should tell you about ALL your options, and have a discussion with you, about you, to help figure out which one is best for you. If they’re not doing that? Consider switching to a clinic or practice that’s specifically focused on sexual and reproductive health.
Unquestionably, due to the efforts of religious and political fundamentalists at the state and federal level to deny women access to reproductive health care of virtually every kind, the benefit that has gotten the most media attention is the one involving contraception without a co-pay. Many media outlets (see ABC, NBC, Grist, Shape.com) and some columnists, including our colleague Amanda Marcotte, have described the new birth control benefit as making contraception “free,” most frequently, for example, stating that now women will have access to birth control for free.
This is not the case, and it is misleading—and politically dangerous—to say so.
To get birth control without a co-pay means you have an insurance policy. No one can walk into any pharmacy today and get the pill without a prescription, which in any case first entails a visit to a doctor’s office. No one without insurance can walk into a doctor’s office and get an IUD for for free, nor any kind of contraception, unless they pay out of pocket or meet the means test for and are covered by Medicaid, an increasingly difficult enterprise in itself but the subject of a different article. Ten percent of women in the United States who work full time are currently uninsured and without coverage, they do not have access to “free” birth control. Nor do other women without insurance, or those whose plans are, for logistical reasons or because they were grand-fathered, not yet compliant with the ACA on preventive care. None of these women have “free” birth control now, and they will not later even if they get insurance. (See the National Women’s Law Center Guide on what to do if you have questions about your insurance plan and contraception without co-pay.)
Why? Because if you have insurance, you pay for it, either by virtue of your labor or out of your own pocket, or, depending on the situation, both.
Read it all at RH Reality Check here.