There are lots of things you can do for National Women’s Health Week, but we say be proud if you start with just a couple. And if you’d like more detail about how the Affordable Care Act could affect your birth control coverage, check out the article the National Women’s Law Center wrote for us laying it all out.
Bedsider’s #1 Tip for Financial Wellness Month…
With the first month of 2013 winding down, plenty of us have already broken our New Year’s resolutions. But if getting your finances in check was one of yours, don’t despair—January is Financial Wellness Month and there’s still time to start the year off right.
You don’t have to be as into birth control as we are to get that it’s a super-important piece of the financial wellness pie. The awesome news? As our friends at the National Women’s Law Center recently laid out for us, most health insurance plans are now required to cover contraception without co-pays or deductibles. That means that if you have insurance, cost shouldn’t be a factor in deciding which birth control method is right for you.
For folks who don’t have insurance, super-effective birth control may still be a worthwhile investment. And your state or community might just offer programs to help women get low-cost (or free!) birth control.
Our #1 tip for Financial Wellness Month? Spend some time today or tomorrow making sure you’re covered in the birth control department, then head into February with those adorable piggy banks of yours in a row.
A break is definitely the best thing for your body right after a pregnancy, but if you’re not exclusively breastfeeding in a very particular way, you can ovulate (or release an egg) as soon as three weeks after birth. So what’s a new mom to do? For starters, I’d recommend looking into the IUD, the implant, or the shot for birth control. All three of these methods are low-maintenance, effective, safe for new moms, and totally fine to use while breastfeeding.
Method Monday: IUDs!
Okay, we confess. We talk about this method a lot. But considering how many points the IUD has in its favor (Super-effective! Reversible! Long-lasting! Low-maintenance! …!!!!!), and how much misinformation is still out there about it, we just feel there’s still plenty to be said. Like what? So glad you asked…
- The IUD is the longest-lasting non-permanent birth control method available in the U.S.—and by long-lasting, we’re talking anywhere from 7 to 12* years, depending on which kind you get. That’s how long the IUD can protect you from pregnancy, but if you decide you want to get pregnant after 3 years (or 1 year, or two months…), you can have the IUD removed anytime and should return to your normal fertility level pretty much immediately.
- There are two kinds of IUD—one called Mirena, which works because of a low dose of the hormone progestin, and one called ParaGard that contains no hormones whatsoever and works thanks to a small amount of copper.
- The ParaGard IUD is the only super-effective non-hormonal birth control option—it lasts for up to 12 years and it’s eco-friendly!
- IUD insertion can hurt a little (or a lot, depending on the person), but most IUD users—even those on the “a lot” side of the spectrum—say it’s well worth the pain.
- The ParaGard IUD can be used for emergency contraception (EC) within 5 days of unprotected sex—in fact, it’s by far the most effective EC option available! Unfortunately, it seems like not a lot of people know that…
- Until recently, IUDs had a bad rap in the U.S., which is probably why they’re not as commonly used here as they are in other countries. Two groups in the U.S. who are more likely to use an IUD? Gynecologists (lady docs are 3 times more likely than the average U.S. woman to have an IUD) and participants in the Contraceptive CHOICE project in St. Louis, who were counseled on different birth control methods and then given their pick of the methods for free. Fortunately more and more U.S. women are getting the message that the new models are safe and super-effective and are deciding to give it a shot.
- There are lots of persistent rumors about who can use the IUD and who can’t—and most of them aren’t true. Even some health care providers aren’t up to date when it comes to IUDs, so if your provider discourages you from considering it, check out Nurse Lola’s great (read: hilarious) suggestions for how to deal.
- Another rumor about the IUD is that it’s super expensive—but it may be more affordable than you think. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, many insured folks should now (or soon) be able to get any FDA-approved birth control method without co-pays or deductibles. If you don’t have insurance, there may be other programs in your state to help you get the birth control you want without breaking the bank. And even if you have to pay for the IUD, it might still be worth it cost-wise if you’re planning to have it for a while.
And now, your moment of awkward, IUD-related zen.
*NOTE: Mirena’s manufacturers say it lasts up to 5 years, but in Europe it’s approved for up to 7. ParaGard’s manufacturers claim it can be used for up to 10 years, but studies have shown it’s effective for up to 12. For more on why manufacturers’ labels might not always reflect the latest research, check out our article “What’s in a birth control label?”