Pills, patches and IUDs oh my! There are so many factors that go into choosing the best contraceptive for you. While some ladies are lucky in finding their soulmate straight away, others might need to play the field until they find their perfect match. At Vee, we’re acting as cupid and have compiled some of the most accessible contraceptives to make choosing a birth control method as easy as swiping through Tinder.
*Note, none of these protect against STIs. Don’t be a fool, wrap his tool.*
We have a love/hate relationship with ‘The Pill’. It’s a hormonal contraceptive which contains a combination of estrogen and progestogen and, at 99% protection, is by far the most common form of birth control in Australia. If you choose this, you’re marrying someone who needs to eat their dinner at 6pm on the dot every day as the Pill requires a strict routine of taking it at the same(ish) time daily. Choose to deviate and it could increase your chance of becoming a baby mamma. A lot of us take the pill for the added benefits, like clearer skin and lighter bleeding, but there are downsides too. Common side effects include weight gain and mood swings. Not something we want in our repertoire.
No, it’s not just for smokers. Skin patches can be used for vitamin absorption, medicine and birth control. It’s the exact same makeup as the pill but instead of eating it, you stick it on your arm. Since it’s so similar to the pill, it comes with the same benefits and downsides. The biggest difference is obviously visibility. You’ll be wearing it for 3 weeks straight, then giving yourself a week off for your period.
Taken every three months, the injection is a popular choice for girls who can’t be bothered taking a pill every day. It’s usually injected into the arm or booty and is about 99% effective. As it’s every three months, if you experience any hormonal side effects, you’re going to have them for the whole three months. Could be great (chocolate cravings), could be awful (psycho mood swings). It also really impedes your fertility for up to 18-months after stopping. So if you’re envisioning a bun in the oven in your near future, this might not be the contraceptive choice for you.
Surgically Insert It
A hormonal IUD is 99.8% effective and a copper - or non-hormonal - is 99.2%. After insertion, they’re good for up to five years and ten years respectively. And considering you don’t have to remember to take anything, inject anything or patch anything on, your chances are looking pretty good. You can get down to business at any time without fear. The catch, however, is you need to get it surgically implanted on your uterus and it usually comes with a fair bit of pain in the beginning. If you opt for a hormonal option, many lucky ladies notice a considerably lighter time of the month, whereas the Copper one generally will cause heavier periods overall. The copper one works because its properties naturally help kill off sperm and help eggs survive and you get the added bonus of no artificial hormones. It’s just you, your cycle and your little copper friend. Like everything though, there are downsides. Besides an increased flow, many women experience worse cramps and are at a much higher risk of developing bacterial vaginosis. If you’re after an IUD, do some serious research and consult your GP which option would be best for you.
The implant is a flexible rod that a doctor will insert into your upper arm. Similar to an IUD, it lasts upto three years and is easily forgettable. As it has artificial hormones, you run the risk of hormonal side effects. Although, unlike the injection, it’s immediately reversible which makes iit a great option for long term birth control, especially if you’re not as young as you used to be. At 99.99% effective, it’s one of the most consistently effective methods. The one drawback is that you can feel it, and some of us may not like feeling like we’ve got a metal matchstick under our skin.
The vaginal ring is something you can stick up and take out yourself. It’s kind of like the newer, sexier version of a female diaphragm. It contains both estrogen and progestogen and you chuck it up there for 3 weeks at a time, throw it away and replace it with a new one. The ring works the same way as the pill and patch do, by stopping ovulation. Again, with anything that has added hormones, you run the risk of experiencing various side effects.
If you’re not a fan of added hormones (and hate the thought of a copper IUD), there are other ways you can avoid getting knocked up. Apps to track your cycle are the new, trendy thing on the contraceptive market. Natural Cycles is the most famous one. At 93% effective, it helps track when you ovulate so you know when you can get jiggy with it carefree, and when you should be a little more conservative. Other ways of tracking when you’re the most fertile include monitoring your temperature, cervical mucus and calendar dates. Since we know how busy us boss ladies are nowadays, unless you’re dedicated and thorough, it might not be your best bet.
We’ve come a long way since the pullout. And since we’re all different, we all react differently to different methods. It can be a bit overwhelming assessing your options at the start, but consult your GP, do your own research and know that if something’s not working for you, you can always try something different until you find what works for you best. Sex is great and at Vee we want you to enjoy it without the risk of getting pregnant.
Enjoy yourselves ladies