Birth Control 101

I have so many things I want to write about birth control.  I want to write about the fact that birth control isn’t talked about enough.  I want to write about the fact that too many people think birth control is only a political issue.  I want to write about how many women take birth control to make their periods easier to manage.  I want to write about how some women take birth control to make their periods lighter and less painful.  I want to write about how some women take birth control to have periods because they have poly-cystic ovarian syndrome, a syndrome that causes women to stop having their periods. I want to write about how some people in our government want to control women’s access to birth control.  I want to write about the personal, societal, and factual implications of this.  I want to write about how certain women have better access to birth control based on their skin color, perceived ethnicity, geographical location, income, perceived gender, whether or not their are in an abusive relationship, and how all these aspects cross over and around and relate to one another.  I want to write about how fucked up it is that people think their personal relationship with their god should dictate other women’s personal relationships with their lady parts.  I want to write about how infuriated I am that the same people who don’t believe in birth control also don’t believe in abortions or helping single mothers take care of their children or access to public education for all children or sex education for teens or taxes for public resources that can help these families thrive or low income housing or ANYTHING that will help the mothers who are trying to take care of children that these people don’t think should be prevented in any way.  I want to write about how necessary birth control is to prevent abortions and struggling single mothers and teen pregnancies.

I could write a novel about all those things.  Maybe I will one day.  Today is not that day.  Today I am going to write about the big BC.  Loving yourself means taking control over your body, especially when some people are trying to take you over, whether it be physically, mentally, politically, and/or emotionally.  Coming to you daily from Madison, Wisconsin!  Fighting the good fight to keep women in the know about what’s to know about your reproductive options!

Enough with my rant.  If you’re into videos, here is a good introduction to birth control.

I found an amazing organization that is everything birth control.  Any question you could ever have about BC at the tip of your fingertips on their website.  Check out Bedsider to get an awesome, interactive view of what’s available.  You can even use filters to find out which will work best for you when.  IT’S TRULY AMAZING.


  1. Long Term Birth Control (a one time insertion/shot/implant that lasts for a longer period of time, removal by a doctor)
    1. IUD (intra-uterine device)
      1. Paragard (copper, non-hormonal, lasts up to 12 years)
      2. Mirena (localized hormones, lasts up to 5 years)
      3. Skyla (smaller, localized hormones, lasts up to 3 years)
    2. Implant
      1. Implanon
      2. Nexplanon
    3. The Shot
      1. Depo Vera
    4. Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM) (for new mothers, a natural way to prevent pregnancy will regular breastfeeding, lasts up to six months or longer)
  2. Shorter Term Birth Control (something that is taken daily, weekly or monthly and can be removed by the woman, from longest lasting to shortest)
    1. The Ring (Nuva Ring – flexible ring containing hormones inserted digitally into vagina, removed every three weeks, one week off, new one inserted)
    2. The Patch (Ortho Evra – thin plastic patch put on skin, new patch each week)
    3. The Pill (taken daily for 24-26 days, many different brands, two different levels of hormones)
      1. Progestin-Only Pills
      2. Combination Estrogen-Progestin Pills
  3. Emergency Contraception (for situations when a birth control method failed or was not used, EC only prevents pregnancy – not STIs)
    1. Plan B (single dose pill that prevents release of egg and/or implantation into uterine wall, must be taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse)
    2. Paragard IUD (prevents implantation into uterine wall, also a long term birth control option)
  4. Barrier Methods (per sexual act)
    1. Male Condom (most common, condom put on erect penis, also protects against STIs/STDs)
    2. Female Condom (inserted into vagina with flexible ring, can be inserted up to six hours before intercourse, protects against STIs)
    3. Diaphragm (a small cap that gets inserted into vagina, can be inserted hours before intercourse, DO NOT protect against STIs)
    4. Sponge (inserted into vagina, immobilizes sperm, DOES NOT protect against STIs)
    5. Spermicide (inserted deep into vagina shortly before intercourse, immobilizes sperm, DOES NOT protect against STIs)
    6. Dental Dams (a latex square used for cunnilingus to prevent STIs, does not prevent pregnancy)
  5. Fertility Awareness-Based Methods (best when all combined, work best for people trying to get pregnant)
    1. Temperature Method (record temperature daily to determine ovulation)
    2. Cervical Mucus Method (record cervical mucus daily to determine ovulation)
    3. Calendar Method (keeping track of your periods on a calendar to determine ovulation)
    4. CycleBeads (keeping track of period with string of beads)
  6. Permanent Birth Control (requires surgery)
    1. Women – Tubal Sterilization
    2. Men – Vasectomy
  7. Abstinence (having no sex whatsoever, requires serious self control)

You do YOU!

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