While we hear people preaching safe sex constantly, it’s less common to hear the reality that practicing safe sex isn’t so simple after all. Why? Finding your perfect form of birth control can be a long, drawn out process.
If we listened to every birth control horror story we heard from a friend of a friend of a friend, we would be sexually abstinent (yet another an unrealistic concept they teach us). We’re here to tell you that although birth control isn’t one size fits all, it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming to find your fit.
Before jumping the gun and choosing whatever form of birth control your best friend is on or the first one your doctor suggests, it’s worth it to do a little research and self-reflection.
Here are some simple steps to make the process a bit smoother and easier to manage.
1. Know your options
The good news is that there are loads of options to choose from that all have the same end goal: to prevent pregnancy. The bad news is that each form of BC can affect every woman differently. Much like dating apps, many women try out different kinds of BC before landing on their perfect match. The most common method is “The Pill”, which comes as progestin-only or combined with estrogen. There are also long acting reversible contraceptives, like IUDs, which notoriously get the most side eye because, well, the idea of keeping something inside your body for years on end can be unsettling. But again, each method has its own flaws and benefits. Our point? Again, much like dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Your future self will thank you for carefully considering all types of birth control before you jump in.
2. Know yourself
Once you’ve gotten to know each form of birth control, there are vital questions to ask yourself and things to consider before committing to “the one.” Some include:
- Am I trying to conceive soon?
- Am I sexually active?
- Will I remember to take a pill at the same time every day?
- Why am I taking it? Aside from pregnancy prevention, birth control can have other benefits, such as preventing acne and controlling painful periods.
- How important is convenience?
Prepping answers to these questions for your doctor’s appointment will help you end up in the right place.
3. Talk to your doctor
Having enough information about the types of BC and which ones do and don’t align with your lifestyle, health conditions, and preferences prior to going to your doctor can go a long way. Of course, it’s always good to ask questions and voice concerns, but this is much more valuable if prior research has been done.
Remember, you're not alone in finding this overwhelming. Be honest with your doctor and don't feel pressured to try one form over the other.
Congrats! If you follow these steps, you’ll have an easier time finding your compatible birth control. Hopefully, it’s a match made in heaven -- but don’t worry if it isn’t! For example, Jamie started on the pill and had negative side effects. Eventually she switched to an IUD, and now she couldn’t be happier. Everyone is different and has different needs, so rest assured knowing you're not alone in this search.
So, try to be patient and remember to breathe. Even after finding your perfect match, no birth control is 100% effective, so be sure to keep track of your period. Some birth controls can actually take away your period completely, so if you’re nervous, it doesn’t hurt to take a pregnancy test every couple of months to live your best life with a clear mind. Not sure how often you should be taking pregnancy tests? Stix makes it easy. Follow this link to be sure you are testing enough to maintain a peace of mind.