Many women face the question, “Should I use birth control?” Or, if you have been using birth control for a while, you also may wonder if you should take a break from it.
Let’s discuss what to consider regarding beginning or stopping contraception and where you can go in for outstanding OB/GYN care.
The Big Question: Do I Want to Start, or Add to, My Family?
After all, pregnancy changes your life. So, consult with your spouse or others about whether it’s time for a child to be added to your home. Are you well-positioned with a stable relationship, job, and childcare resources? If not, birth control may be the right choice for you at this time.
Additionally, if you happen to be considering taking a break from your current birth control method–barrier, pill, patch, implant, or something else–remember that no contraception means a real possibility of pregnancy when you are sexually active.
What is My Health Status, and Will Birth Control Affect it?
Every hormonal birth control carries some risk to a woman’s health, even if she has no serious conditions, such as obesity, tobacco usage, or diabetes. If you are 35 and up and a smoker, birth control pills and other hormone-based contraceptives increase the risk of blood clots, stroke, and breast cancer.
These risks seem to increase during the initial few months of taking the pill (or starting it again after a break) but lessen over time. However, these prescription medications decrease the risk of uterine and colon cancer.
Regarding taking a break from birth control, research indicates no health benefit from stopping contraceptive methods, even if you have used them for a long time. In fact, fertility rates for women who did not use the pills are similar to those who did use them, stopped, and then attempted to get pregnant. In other words, pregnancy rates within one year of “trying” are basically the same for women who used birth control and those who did not.
Finally, if you take a break from contraception, remember that you may get pregnant immediately. So, are you healthy enough to become pregnant and carry a baby through birth? Be sure to address this last question with your PCP and/or your OB/GYN doctor. A careful review of your medical and obstetrical history can help you determine if you’re physically prepared for the actual rigors of pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and more.
Will I Use Birth Control Consistently?
If you and your doctor determine it’s time for birth control, remember this: any contraceptive method works only when used correctly and consistently. That means taking a birth control pill at the same time daily as directed or waiting until your physician says it’s safe to have sex if you or your partner have been permanently sterilized via tubal ligation or vasectomy. If you select a barrier method, such as a cervical cap or condom, it must be used every time you have sex without exception.
Aishling Obstetrics & Gynecology Provides the Care Women Need in Kendall and Dekalb County, IL
Starting or stopping birth control is an important decision that impacts health and home. So, our board-certified physicians, Dr. Brett Cassidy and Dr. James Hawkins, are here to help you navigate birth contraceptive choices, so you understand what’s best for you.