Birth Control: Know your body and available resources to inform your decisions
Ladies, for all of you who have healthy active sex lives, but do not want children at this time for whatever reason, this one’s for you! When expressing one’s sexuality physically, it is of utmost importance to be aware of your body and take steps to ensure you do not become pregnant, if that is your goal. Body awareness includes paying attention to your menstrual cycle and other body sensations (e.g., nausea, weight changes, PMS signs, pregnancy signs). Further, it is important to remember you have the choice to prevent pregnancy if you so wish, and taking the steps to do so is your responsibility. At this day in age, there are a plethora of options to choose from! Including a wide variety of birth control pills, patches, intra-uterine devices, etc. for you to discuss with your gynecologist, as well as non-medical prescription options, like condoms. In the unfortunate case you do not want to procreate, but your normal birth control method has failed, it’s important for you to be informed about your options to inform your subsequent course of action. The first option is to utilize the morning after-pill, also known as Plan B. While this pill may interrupt your normal menstrual cycle and may have some minor side effects (e.g., nausea), it is effective in preventing pregnancy in 85-90% of women when taken as directed. However, if this option fails, it is important to take prompt steps in assessing your possible pregnancy and taking advantage of the information technology can provide us so quickly! Upon failure of your typical birth control method and the morning after pill, it is important that you promptly visit your gynecologist to evaluate if you are pregnant or not. Fortunately, medical technology can inform us of pregnancy as soon as 15 days after conception. So, upon learning of your pregnancy or lack thereof, you can make an informed decision. For those of you who may choose to terminate the pregnancy, it is important that you make this decision quickly, as we find that women find the overall experience, while stressful, to be more palatable and less traumatic when divided cells are terminated, as opposed to a tiny in utero baby with a heart beat. Take home message: Know your body, know your options, and make informed choices.