Until you’re ready to have a baby, birth control is essential. And, on average, young girls begin having sex in the early teen years and often wait to have babies till their 40s. So, that’s almost 25 years of needing “protection” from what nature intended… babies! So, what to do till then? I have so many conversations with women about what is the best form of birth control and what won’t damage their fertility for later. Here’s the short and skinny version! Here, I’m only focusing on baby-prevention. It’s a whole different conversation to have around STD prevention– please note that this post will not address STDs and how to protect against them.
1) Pills — Oral contraceptives are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, they do in fact expose your body to prolonged exogenous hormones and it usually takes a while to reset the body back to normal hormonal patterns. Even then, it may be more difficult to get pregnant for women who have used OCPs for many years. What you should know: If you choose this method, give yourself at least a year to two years buffer to regulate your hormonal patterns and detoxify your body before “trying.”
2) Merena IUD — This option is also hormonal. However, the exposure to the amount of hormones is lower and more localized. The benefit of this option is that there are usually few side effects but if you’re not getting your period on a monthly basis since having the IUD, know that this is affecting and impacting your future fertility– even if your doctor says it’s totally fine for you to not have a period every month.
3) Copper IUDs — This is a non-hormonal, local option, that usually doesn’t have too many side effects. Many women do have severe cramps, at least for the first few months. Also, beware: copper IUDs can cause copper and zinc in your body to go out of balance, and hence potentially cause lowered immunity. Also, worst case scenario is copper toxicity.
4) Cervical caps — These are an easy option, that’s non-hormonal, and local. It does expose your body to a small amount of toxins from the spermicide, however, the spermicide is necessary– this increases cervical cap effectiveness to 99%. The downside? Well, men definitely don’t love it and it takes some getting used to.
5) Tracking and Rhythm Method– If done correctly, is 98% effective. However, on average, people usually do it well enough for only 90% effectiveness. So, if you’re going to use this method, it is critical to do it well and get some training from a pro before forging into it yourself! There are lots of great online training courses… if you’re like me, you’ll want the live trainings where you can ask questions and be engaged. I have found that books are not the greatest way to learn this method but it may be the right place for you. If you are interested in taking a class on this topic, I suggest one of the classes from Her Fertility with Hannah Ransom.