So now you’re almost ready to make the decision to get off the Pill and launch yourself into a Pill-free life!
Or maybe you’re not convinced, and need some more guidelines for making your decision.
How do you actually make your decision about which contraception is right for you?
I’d like to give you some guidelines as to how to choose another form of contraception, from all the information we’ve discussed so far. A kind of road map of contraception, if you will.
If you are still not sure about getting off the Pill, this road map will help you decide. Who knows? The Pill might be your best option at present. But at least you’re making a more informed choice.
Before you look at the road map of contraception, take note that it may not all make perfect sense on first read.
Unless you’ve read this blog series on Getting Off the Pill very carefully, some of the terms may be unfamiliar to you.
So use the pointers below the flow chart to help you as you’re looking through it:
A few pointers for when using the flow chart:
Complete, permanent and reversible contraception
The terms complete, permanent and reversible are used loosely, except for hysterectomy and total abstinence, which are probably the only ones that truly make pregnancy impossible.
Ethical and personal considerations
Along the way, you’ll be guided by your own philosophical, moral, ethical, and personal compass. Ultimately, no one can tell you what’s right for you except you. This goes for all the steps, even though I have only included it in a more obvious section on the bottom left, when deciding among hysterectomy, periodic abstinence, and tubal ligation. I particularly included the “ethical/personal” dimension here because of many women telling me over the years that they objected to the idea of a hysterectomy (for example, for uterine prolapse or painful periods) if it wasn’t completely necessary.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Be aware that there are no methods of contraception that are 100% protection against sexually transmitted infections. (Take particular care not to misinterpret my simplified guideline for if “STI focus is needed”.) Be very clear as to whether this needs to be your focus or not.
The Reality of Reliability
“Reliability focus” is also an over-simplified concept. As I said, no form of contraception is 100% reliable. I have differentiated the three of Mirena IUD, Implanon implant and Depo Provera injection from the Pill not because of the theoretical effectiveness – the Pill is right up there at 99% – but because it happens that women forget the Pill, lose effectiveness due to illness etc and lack protection, ending up with an unintentional pregnancy. Many women have told me they chose Depo Provera, Implanon or the Mirena IUD for this reason – they can’t trust themselves with the Pill.
Natural Family Planning Methods
Finally, I have differentiated the Billings Ovulation Method from other forms of “natural family planning”, as they’re known, (Symptothermal Method, the Creighton Model and Natural Fertility Management) because there is more research on Billings and often a wider availability of teachers. If you choose a natural family planning method, don’t do it from a book, website and especially not an app! Learning with a teacher is a must if you want the high effectiveness rating possible with these methods.
So there you have it! Enjoy finding your own answer to the contraception question!