For something so important to our quality of life, you’d think that you’d know everything there is to know about birth control by the time that you’re old enough to use it. Not only is that not true. But there are tons of active disinformation out there too.
Here are five things you absolutely should know about birth control.
Plan B Has a Weight Limit
Hopefully you’re never in a position where you have to use emergency contraception. Especially if you’re over 165 pounds. Plan B, the most popular morning-after pill, loses effectiveness for anyone over that weight. And it’s completely ineffective for women over 175 pounds.
Ella is another morning after pill, which has a much higher weight restriction. So it might be a better option for some people. Spread the word!
You Don’t Have to Take the Pill at the Same Time Every Day (Probably)
Most women on the pill are on a combination pill, which doesn’t need to be taken at the same time every day. Doctors just tell you that so then you form a reliable habit. (because it does need to be taken daily, all the same.)
If you’re on a progestin-only pill, though, then it does need to be at the same time every day. Because of this, doctors are more likely to prescribe a combination pill, be sure to check! There are tons of reasons to switch up the pill that you’re on. (some pills lead to reduced libido or even depression) So don’t hesitate to switch up your birth control method if you can’t remember to take your pill consistently.
You Have to Keep Your Pill Down
Your protection can falter if you throw up your pill two hours or less after taking it. A lot of people don’t even think about it, but it makes sense. You absorb the hormones through your digestive system. So it follows that if you throw them up, you could have a problem.
Breastfeeding Isn’t Enough
Tons of new moms think that if they are actively breastfeeding, they can’t get pregnant again for a while. That’s not true.
While breastfeeding can help prevent further pregnancy, it’s not effective enough to rely on by itself. Having one kid (especially in your 20s) is difficult enough, so use multiple methods of birth control if you want to space them out.
Just Because It’s an Option, Doesn’t Mean It’s Safe
There are a lot of birth control options, and you’ll have to weigh some pros and cons to decide which one works for you. But keep in mind that just because it’s an option doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe. One brand of the patch has some serious problems, as does Essure, a non-surgical, non-hormonal birth control option. It’s only now being restricted by the FDA, and the dangers have been known for years. IUDs are coming back now, but there was a serious scare back in the 1980s.
This isn’t meant to freak you out, just to incentivize you to do your research. Birth control is really, really important to a lot of people out there. So make sure that you scrutinize your options and understand what you’re doing to your body. There might be side effects or risks, but you need to weigh them against your health and the life you want to live.