Imagine being intentionally kept in the dark about information that you need to make sound decisions affecting your life.
Imagine knowing someone who could teach you this information and provide you with access to the tools, but they don’t because they’re too busy to get into it with you. If they do provide you with access to a tool, it’s a tool of their choosing and you don’t learn enough about the other tools to decide for yourself which one would work best for you.
Imagine that everyone around you gave you small bits of information, but they create a confusing and conflicting picture that makes you fear acting upon any of the information.
These scenarios are a reality for many girls and women when it comes to contraception. Girls and women, especially those from religious or conservative backgrounds, are often denied education about contraception based on other people’s fears that teaching girls and women about contraception will give them permission to have sex without fear of the “consequence” of pregnancy. I was raised in religious schools and all I learned about contraception was that it is dangerous, ineffective, and sinful.
As a family nurse practitioner, I provide family planning counseling several times per week. I have 15 minutes with each patient and there is just no way to discuss all contraceptive options and answer all questions in such a short period of time. Research shows that there are times when healthcare providers choose a form of contraception for their patients by offering it as the best, safest, or only option, leading the patient to stop using a contraceptive that they felt pressured to start in the first place (Gomez & Wapman, 2017). Add to that, when patients come to the clinic with parents, friends, or partners, patients might not feel comfortable or safe discussing something so personal and there are few ways for them to learn about contraception in a private setting from a reliable source.
It feels like everyone has a contraception horror story. We’ve all heard the one about the baby born clutching his mother’s IUD in his fist. We’ve also heard stories about contraception leading to weight gain, mood swings, and blood clots. There are elements of truth to these stories, but they do not represent the whole truth. Nearly 65% of childbearing-age girls and women in the US use some form of contraception (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019). Generally speaking, contraception is safe and well-tolerated by most of the people who use it.
Where can you find accurate information about contraception?
There are several free, online resources where a you can learn about contraception. The CDC has a great website for the general public that breaks down the different contraception options. Scarleteen has an informative sex education website for teens and young adults, which even has tips on accessing contraception around the world. Bedsider is my personal favorite and it's the website I share with my patients when discussing contraception options. What I like the most about Bedsider is their compare methods tool, which allows you to do a side-by-side comparison of the options that you like the most.
Choosing Your Contraception
If reading about contraception isn’t your thing and you want to hear about your contraception options from an experienced healthcare provider, I invite you to sign up for the waiting list for my upcoming on-demand comprehensive contraception course. In this course, I will discuss:
All methods of contraception, including barrier methods, hormonal methods, and non-hormonal methods
How to use each method of contraception
How effective the methods are for pregnancy prevention, based upon typical use versus perfect use
How to use contraception to regulate or eliminate your menstrual period (and why you might want to do that)
Side effects and precautions regarding contraception
Questions to ask your healthcare provider about accessing and using contraception
This webinar is perfect for all women and girls of childbearing age, especially those who:
Want to give sound advice to the women and girls in your life about their contraception options
Are trying to complete their education, start a business, advance in their careers, and have a stable home life
Want to choose when, how, and with whom to get pregnant
Aren’t ready to have a child or who don’t want to have a child with their current partner
Have heavy, painful, or prolonged menstrual periods
Take medications that may cause birth defects
Have medical conditions that make pregnancy and/or childbirth difficult or dangerous
Have experienced pregnancy, birth, or postpartum trauma
Simply do not want to get pregnant (right now or ever) for literally any and all reasons
Sign up for the next contraception webinar and make your own informed decision about which form of contraception is right for you!
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15–49: United States, 2015–2017. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db327.htm#:~:text=of%20Family%20Growth-,In%202015%E2%80%932017%2C%20approximately%2065%25%20of%20women%20aged%2015,of%20contraception%20(Figure%201).
Gomez, A. M., & Wapman, M. (2017, Oct). Under (implicit) pressure: young Black and Latina women's perceptions of contraceptive care. Contraception, 96(4), 221-226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2017.07.007