Blog Issue No. 12
Written by Brey Fuhrmann and edited by Justice Fuegen for Sharktooth Living
Babies: they're squishy and chubby, always smell good, and live a simple life of eating and naps (which, let's be honest, are all of the same things we aspire to in life!) We love a good baby, but we also respect that bearing children isn't for everyone.
While some women might like to remain barefoot and pregnant for a couple of decades (rock that belly mama!), others might prefer one or two children. And some women might not even want children. And you know what? All of those options are valid, respectable, and absolutely okay.
As women, we have the beautiful freedom of choice. We are free to choose what we want to do with our bodies and when. So, not your time for a baby or prefer the forever title of “auntie”? We got you.
Birth control comes in many shapes and sizes. Some are more of a lifestyle change, some are to be used during sex, while others are more schedule-based such as taking a pill. We are about to dive into the many different options for birth control, as well as the in's and out's of each one. We hope this helps you make an educated decision so you may choose the best one for yourself!
Lifestyle Change Birth Control
These forms of birth control include the pull-out method, fertility awareness (sometimes known as natural family planning or the rhythm method), and even breastfeeding. It’s important to note that these are not fool proof and have the highest chances of failing. The pull-out method is best when used with another form of birth control like a condom. If semen enters the vagina you could become pregnant. Ladies, if his pull out game is weak, use at your own risk!
Fertility awareness includes taking your temperature, documenting changes in cervical mucus, and tracking your menstrual cycle so you know when you are ovulating. This can be tricky if you have an irregular cycle. Our best advice when following a fertility awareness method is to educate yourself about your body!
"I've used fertility awareness as a form of birth control for almost a year. It's an incredibly empowering way to keep track of my health and take control of my body. My husband has actually started to become aware of my cycles as well, so I don't feel like I'm doing it alone. He makes sure to ask before we have sex whether or not it we need to use protection or if it's a 'safe' day. It's been a beautiful part of our relationship.
I use the program Natural Cycles, which is a one time purchase. So while the upfront cost is close to $100, it's actually much less expensive than other forms of birth control. You simply make an account, download the app, and start tracking your temperature. The app then tracks whether or not you are fertile!"
Breastfeeding is the least effect form of birth control in this group. Many women don’t have a period when breastfeeding, but be warned, no period doesn’t always mean no ovulation. It is very likely you could be ovulating without a period.
During Sex Birth Control
These types of birth control are used during sex. They include condoms, cervical cap, spermicide, diaphragm, and a birth control sponge. Condoms are great because they prevent pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases or infections. They fit over the penis and stop the sperm from entering the vagina.
A Diaphragm and cervical cap are silicone discs that you place deep inside your vagina to prevent sperm from reaching your cervix. They work the best when paired with spermicide.
Spermicide is a chemical you put into your vagina. It works by blocking the sperm from reaching the egg and stopping the sperm from swimming well enough to be effective.
Lastly, a birth control sponge. It fits similar to a diaphragm or cervical cap in your vagina and blocks the entrance to your cervix so sperm can’t get past. Unlike the other forms of during-sex birth control, the sponge contains spermicide that weakens sperm while blocking it.
Hormonal Birth Control
The birth control shot, ring, patch, and pill are all hormonal options. These aren’t taken during sex but rather on a specific schedule regardless of if you are sexually active or not. The pill is taken at the same time daily. It’s important not to forget to take the pill and to stay on a regular schedule to get the best control.
The birth control patch is worn on the upper arm, belly, butt or back. Your skin absorbs the hormones from the patch that stops stops ovulation. The patch is replaced weekly.
The birth control ring is placed inside your vagina. It releases hormones directly into your vaginal lining and stop ovulation. The ring should be replaced monthly for it to be effective.
The birth control shot is given about every 3 months, or every 12-13 weeks. It works by releasing hormones to prevent ovulation.
All of these options could be a good fit for you depending on your lifestyle and it’s important to think about the frequency these need to be replaced when choosing the right option for you.
Long Term Birth Control
The IUD and implant are much longer term birth control options. The birth control implant is hormonal and it can last up to 5 years without needing replaced. It is a small rod shaped device that is inserted into your arm. The hormones it releases prevent you from ovulating.
Unlike other birth controls the IUD can either be hormonal or non-hormonal, and can last 3-12 years depending which one you choose. It is inserted into your uterus and is one of the most effective forms of birth control on the market. These options are the lowest maintenance as they are a get it and forget it birth control option.
Permanent Birth Control
For the women who plan on never getting pregnant, there are a few permanent options that might be worth looking into. These options include tubal ligation for you or a vasectomy for your male partner. A tubal ligation is also referred to as “getting your tubes tied” and works by blocking your fallopian tubes. It’s important to note that you will still get your period after this procedure but won’t get pregnant.
For your male partner, a vasectomy could also be an option. A vasectomy works by cutting the small tube in his scrotum to block sperm from leaving his body.
It’s important to choose the best option for you! You will hear so many different opinions from so many different people, but at the end of the day it's important to remember that everyone handles and experiences things differently.
What works for her may certainly not work for you and that’s okay. It’s also important to remember that NONE of these birth control options are 100% effective; yes, even the permanent options and only synthetic condoms will prevent against STDs.