There are many different methods to prevent pregnancy. Some include artificial hormones in the form of birth control pills, the shot, or the patch. Others include natural means of understanding your fertility.
Hormonal contraception (the pill, depo shot, patch) works by attempting to block an egg from being released from the ovary (ovulation). It also thickens a woman’s vaginal secretions, making it difficult for sperm to travel up the reproductive tract. The last mechanism of action, if the first two fail, is a changing in the lining of the uterus so if conception does occur, the embryo cannot attach to the uterine lining.
Typical symptoms of hormonal contraception can include:
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Fluid retention
- Mood swings
Symptoms of hormonal contraception can be extensive in some women that include:
- Blood clots
- Impaired vision
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Problems with future pregnancies
There are two different types of IUDs. The Mirena IUD is a hormonal IUD that works in similar ways compared to other types of hormonal birth control and also has similar side effects. Typically, this IUD only lasts for 5 years before it needs to be removed.
Then, there is the copper IUD, which does not have any hormones. This IUD can be in a woman’s body for up to 10 years before removal. The primary mechanism of action of this IUD is creating a constant inflammatory response in the uterine lining, preventing embryos from attaching to the wall of the uterus.
Both IUDs have increased risks for ectopic pregnancy, perforated uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, and embedment of the device’s arms into the wall of the uterus.
Fertility awareness based methods (FAMs) are natural methods in which women are taught their body’s natural signs of fertility and infertility. Certain FAMs have been extensively researched and scientifically proven to be very effective (up to 99+% effective) in avoiding pregnancy. These methods are 100% natural — there are no drugs, chemicals or devices involved, which is one reason many today find it to be a positive and refreshing alternative to artificial methods.
While the effectiveness is the same, FAMs is an organic way to be in charge of your fertility without struggling with any adverse side effects that are common with hormonal contraception. Hormonal contraception causes your body to act in an unnatural way in order to avoid pregnancy and can potentially cause health risks including difficulty in conceiving when you are ready to start a family. With FAMs you never risk your health because there is no added hormone. It can also be used to help achieve pregnancy. Women who use FAMs experience a greater sense of empowerment through self-knowledge regarding how their bodies naturally work.
Please contact our office to further discuss details of your different options. When deciding how to plan your family it is important that you are aware of all your options so that you may make an informed decision.