How To Ask for Birth Control
Sexual activity shouldn’t have to be something you’re ashamed to talk to your doctor about. Depending on where you live, it can be difficult to get a prescription without having to have an awkward conversation. Especially for teens and young adults who are still on their parents’ or guardians’ medical insurance, it can be difficult to have that conversation for fear it might get back to their family or their doctor will judge.
Birth control is a vital resource for those who are sexually active and need protection because it lowers the risk of getting pregnant as well as the severity of period symptoms. Even if it is uncomfortable, it is essential to get what you need and important to be able to talk with your doctor about your options.
Below are some things to keep in mind when talking to your doctor.
Your doctor is likely to have questions about your medical and sexual history when you ask for birth control, and you should be prepared with those answers. The most important thing is to be honest with your medical professional. Keeping information from your doctor means they can’t correctly assess what birth control may be the best fit for you. If they don’t know your medical history or any other things you might be experiencing, the birth control they prescribe could conflict with your medical conditions.
You should also be prepared to ask about any potential side effects, benefits, and the effectiveness of each birth control option they suggest. These questions will help you feel more empowered when talking through your options. Your doctor should be able to answer all of your questions effectively and help reassure you about any of your concerns.
Research Your Options
Birth control comes in many forms, so you should be aware of what methods are available to you before you talk to your doctor. The more information you have going into the conversation the stronger you will feel about your decision. Below are the common types of birth control options.
These are what you typically think of when you think of birth control. Oral contraceptives can come in two forms and are either hormone-based or progestin-only. Both methods come with different possible side-effects but their effectiveness is generally the same.
Hormonal Birth Control: These pills are generally 91% effective if used correctly. They are a mixture of estrogen and progestin which work together to keep your body from producing eggs, thus lowering your risk of pregnancy and regulating your period.
Progestin-only Birth Control: Without the addition of estrogen, these mini-pills are about 91% effective. They may be recommended if your body doesn’t react well with the combination hormone birth control.
These pills need to be taken daily to ensure their effectiveness and should be used in combination with other contraceptive measures to make up for the 9% that isn’t effective.
Quite like oral contraceptives, the patch has a 91% effectiveness. The patch is made for those who can’t keep up with a daily pill and would prefer something a bit more low-maintenance. You’ll wear the patch all week and then put on the next one at the end of the week. You will have to take a week off from the patch so your body can regulate, but then once that week is over you return to usage as normal. So that’s three weeks on, one week off. Like hormonal birth control, it will keep your body from producing eggs.
This method has slightly higher effectiveness at about 94% and can last up to 3 months without the need to re-inject. You can administer it yourself or by your doctor. It is also recommended as a possible ward against ovarian cancer.
The implant is one of the highest on the list as far as effectiveness goes. It is over 99% effective and you don’t have to worry about getting it replaced for four years. It keeps your body from releasing eggs while also making the mucus in your body thicker so that the sperm won’t be able to reach the egg as easily. It can be a little nerve-wracking the first time as it needs to be inserted under the skin in your arm, but it isn’t as scary as it seems.
Progestin IUD’s can last anywhere from three to six years and have an effectiveness level the same as the implant. It is 99% effective which makes it ideal for those who don’t want to worry about keeping up with their birth control. Copper IUDs can lengthen the time between implantation and can last up to twelve years.
Take a Breath
Your doctor is there to help you. Their goal is to help keep you healthy and safe. Your sense of comfort, the intimacy and knowledge you have of your body, and what you know you need are important for your doctor to hear. Keep in mind that, if you fear your doctor is judging you or not providing you with what you need, you have the right to ask for a new doctor.
People use birth control for plenty of reasons besides preventing pregnancy, like lightening periods, PMS relief, protection against cervical or ovarian cancers, and helping with anemia. As long as you come prepared, your doctor should be able to help you make the best-informed decision for your body and your needs.