My choice of contraception

Yesterday I explained reasons why I decided to stop taking the oral contraceptive pill and one reader was interested in learning what alternative birth control methods I use.

I just want to make it clear that I’m not an expert on reproductive health and I am not trying to discourage women from using the pill. If you do take the pill, or use any other form of contraception, and you are happy and healthy then keep doing what your doing! I, of course, 100% support your choice.

The only way to definitely avoid an unplanned pregnancy is to abstain from sex, there is a possibility of falling pregnant using any contraceptive method. The methods I am going to share are what I have found work for my body and relationship. So like anything in life, you need to find what works best for you. It’s our bodies so ultimately it’s our choice, so it’s important to be informed.

When I first came off the pill, I wanted to use the rhythm method. This is where you track your monthly cycle and then either avoid sex or use other contraception on days you are fertile. This method is 76-88% effective. It’s worth bearing in mind that the pill is 91% effective. To begin with I didn’t feel confident in knowing my cycle because I’d manipulated it with the pill for 8 years. So for the first 5 months we used condoms. Using a condom is 85% effective.

I track my cycle with 2 apps called Natural Cycles and My Cycles. Natural Cycles involves me measuring my body temperature every morning and is said to be as effective as the pill. I avoid having sex on days I know I’m fertile. We also use the withdrawal method – even on non fertile days in case my tracking is not accurate. By doing this we are happier that we are reducing our risk of getting pregnant. The withdrawal method is 78% effective but it relies completely on the guy.

The methods I use now may not be as effective as the pill but I am happier because they are less invasive. I have a partner who supported and even encouraged my decision to stop taking the pill. We understand and accept the risk and both agreed that the effect the pill could be having on my health wasn’t worth continuing to take it.

I am very fortunate that my cycle is regular and I can usually predict my ovulation and period with great accuracy. I understand that this may not be the case for all women. I hope this answers some questions from yesterday’s post! Ladies, please feel free to share your experiences and what works best for you!

Paula

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