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Do's and Don'ts of birth control

Several years ago, as I walked down the halls of Labor and Delivery, I realized that many of the women had not planned to be there. So, what happened? The fact is many women are sexually active and say, "if it happens, it happens." Definitely, we could be more intentional about bringing a new life into this world. Over the years, we've definitely become more in charge of our bodies and our decisions. Many women use some form of birth control and are actually happy with their birth control choice.  If you are considering your options, here are few dos and don'ts to consider:

Do's

1. Know your truth. You are either planning pregnancy or preventing pregnancy. Why do sexually active women get shocked by a positive pregnancy test? That's what happens when...

2. Know your medical history. Some illnesses like hypertension or migraines may disqualify you from certain types of birth control. 

3. Try out a new type of birth control for at least 2-3 months giving your body time to adjust. If you switch too quickly, you may be missing out on your best option.

4. Consider ALL your options including the daily pill, weekly patch, monthly Nuva ring, quarterly Depo Provera injection, Nexplanon every three years, and IUD every 3-10 years.  There IS a method of birth control that will work for you.

5. Remember that it is okay to just say no to sex. Abstinence is the best method of birth control if you know you are not ready for what comes next.

6. Consider a tubal ligation if you are completely done having children. However, your monthly bleeding may get heavier in the future. A vasectomy could be a better option.

7. Avoid analysis paralysis. You think about it so much then get pregnant while procrasting on deciding which method of birth control to use. This happens a lot.

Dont's

1. Don't forget to discuss birth control during your GYN visit, especially if you're having side effects. We love to see that you're taking charge of your fertility.

2. Don't use Depo Provera if you have a tendency to gain weight. Depo Provera causes weight gain in at least 25% of users.

3. Don't use the patch or Nuva ring without an app or reliable method of tracking removal/insertion days. Trust me, you will forget. 

4. Don't start your pills after the first week of your cycle. Don't skip a pill. Don't stop the pills in the middle of the pack. These three scenarios could lead to bleeding that can get pretty annoying. Don't even bother with pills if you're like me and can barely remember a daily multivitamin. Consider the more hands-free methods like IUD or Nexplanon inserts. 

5. Don't use the patch if you are overweight. The manufacturers give a limit of 198 pounds, I've seen women who weighed less get pregnant on the patch. 

6. Don't stop your birth control several months before your wedding. You might get pregnant sooner than you expected. Most forms of birth control wear off as soon as you stop.

7. Don't assume you have to stick with any method of birth control permanently. As a woman, you have a right to change your mind at any time.

Do you have a birth control dilemma? Let's talk about it.

Author
Dr. Chetanna Okasi Dr. Okasi is a board certified obstetrician/gynecologist, and the medical director of Women's Wellness MD. Her mission is to help women achieve total wellness of mind, body, and spirit.

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