Those period-free months were fun while they lasted, weren’t they? But no sooner have you forgotten all about what it was like to be in “that time of the month”, she returns with a vengeance. If you’re not quite ready to try and fall pregnant again when your periods do come back — or if you’re certain that your baby-making days are over and you’d rather stick pins in your eyeballs than get up the duff again — what’s a girl to do? Should you head to the nearest pharmacy and stock up on the Pill? Or are there better options?
When you head back to your GP or obstetrician for your six-week postnatal check, chances are he or she will have “the talk” with you and remind you that you’ll need to consider your options for contraception.
While getting down and dirty with your partner is the last thing on your mind (and will be for some time, unfortunately) you do need to start thinking about birth control — whether you plan to eventually create more small humans or not.
The Pill is an obvious choice, but there are pros and cons to consider carefully before you rush into any decisions. Here are some reasons why the Pill may not be an ideal birth control method for you.
The Pill is only effective if it’s taken correctly — meaning it needs to be taken at the same time, every day. So if you’re the type of person who forgets things easily, and you won’t remember to take it every morning like clockwork, you could be increasing your risk of an accidental pregnancy.
The best contraception methods for forgetful souls are those that don’t require any effort, like intrauterine devices (IUD). Also, if you’re certain you won’t be partaking in any further baby-making activities, you could consider a more permanent form of contraception, like tubal ligation.
You want to have another kid as soon as possible
If you’re keen to get back on the baby-making horse, the Pill could impact your chance of falling pregnant, because you’ll need to wait for your natural cycle to return after you stop taking it. For most women, this happens fairly quickly, but for others, it can take several months.
One of the best short-term contraception methods is the faithful condom. The withdrawal method can be as effective as a condom, but only if done properly.
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You’re concerned about side effects
Research has suggested the long-term use of the Pill may increase the risk of cancers, such as cervical cancer and liver cancer. There is mixed evidence supporting a link between breast cancer and the Pill.
The Pill can also increase blood pressure, affect cholesterol levels and increase risk of cardiovascular disease in women over the age of 35 who smoke.
Why take the Pill?
For most women, the Pill is a safe and effective choice of contraception. In addition to preventing pregnancy, the Pill also:
- Regulates the menstrual cycle
- May prevent recurrent ovarian cysts
- Helps to protect against endometriosis
- Helps to relieve painful periods
- Helps to clear acne
- May help to reduce the risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer
Can taking the Pill affect my fertility if I’ve already had a baby?
Available research suggests that taking the Pill shouldn’t affect your fertility, but if you think you want another baby, you’ll need to allow time for your cycle to return after you stop taking it. If your periods haven’t returned after three months of stopping the Pill, chat to your GP.