Dispatches from a College Sexpert: Be a Birth Control Original
We’ve all said it—“I’ll have what she’s having,” “I’ll get the same as her,” “What she got,” or something along those lines. We may say it at the store, at the movie theater, or at a restaurant, but many of us also take that attitude when we’re getting on birth control.
Of course friends generally give great advice and, if they recommend their birth control method, it’s with our best interest at heart. But is the perfect method for your friend going to be perfect for you? Maybe. But since our bodies and lifestyles are all different, choosing a birth control method solely because someone you know is using it is a mistake. So before you succumb to pill pressure and simply say “I’ll have what she’s having,” here are 10 dos and don’ts to consider when choosing a method.
Your Body and Your Life:
1) DO explore all your options if you’re getting on birth control for the first time or switching methods. There are lots and you can find them all on Bedsider.
2) DON’T think it’s all about biology; also consider how birth control can best fit into your lifestyle. If you can’t remember to do things on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, the pill, the patch, or even the ring could be hard to remember (although Bedsider does have awesome birth control reminders you can get via text or e-mail to make it easier).
3) DO think about whether or not you can handle something inside you. The most effective methods are the IUD and the implant because they’re put in by a doctor and have basically no risk of user error (you can’t lose them, place them incorrectly, or forgot to take or replace them). But they’re inside you and some women are uncomfortable with that.
4) DO have honest conversations with your friends about what they like and don’t like about the methods they’ve tried.
5) DON’T assume that your side effects will be the same as your friends’—everyone’s body is different.
6) DO look up real stories on Bedsider about women’s experiences with different methods to get more first-hand perspectives on all the options.
7) DON’T think a method isn’t effective just because that one friend of a friend got pregnant while she was using it. Unfortunately, not everyone uses their method correctly and consistently.
8) DO read this article on how to talk to your doctor.
9) DON’T put all your eggs into one basket. Have a list of 3 methods you’re interested in before you go to the doctor’s office or health clinic—Bedsider offers a build-your-own method comparison tool that lets you print information on up to 3 methods to bring to your appointment.
10) DO the math. Call your insurance provider (or look it up on their website) and figure out how much they cover of your top 3 methods and how much it will cost you in a year, 3 years, 5 years, or however long you plan to not have kids. You can also see if you qualify for free birth control here.
“Let it be” gif courtesy of Marina.
Catherine Rivera is an intern for Bedsider. When she’s not counseling, teaching, researching or writing about sex and relationships, this Stanford University student can be found passing out condoms to her fellow students, mentoring middle school girls, indulging her sweet tooth, reading the news, or attempting to get inside the heads of her four younger brothers. Catherine doesn’t have a personal tumblr (yet), but you can follow her on twitter @cmrivera2013.
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