A friend's daughter was on birth control to regulate period from age 18 - 24.
8 months ago, she convinced her daughter, who wasn't dating anyone, to go off it - for health reasons.
Now she's met someone and will need some form of birth control. IUD is usually not given to women who haven't given birth (right?). Are there any natural-ish options, other than condoms?
I'd recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, the info in it got me through all of my 20's and early 30's baby free.
When birth control was needed during fertile times I loved, loved, loved my cervical cap. It can be worn for 48 hours (which means you can put it in ahead of time if you start to feel randy around ovulation), and it relies more on suction than spermicide for pregnancy prevention so you can make your own with ky or corn starch paste and a little lemon juice if you are sensitive to chemicals in commercial spermicide.
I also got an ovulation detection kit where you put your saliva on a piece of glass, and then look through the little microscope that comes with it. If it creates a little feather patterns when it dries that means you're ovulating and precautions should be taken. Only detects current ovulation though, and does not warn you if it is about to happen, so maybe a better tool for trying to make babies than to prevent them.
Also, if she is with a guy who respects her and has some degree of self control, withdrawal method, though not perfect is still 80+% effective, some say it rivals condoms when done faithfully.
No now the new IUD - non copper and very low progesterone are recommended for woman of child bearing age. They can have it taken out and fall pg the next cycle - lower dose hormones makes it safer than the OC - but it still has hormones - its said to protect the Uterus because you often had lighter periods - its not as good as nothing but its better than getting pg when you dont want to!
It's true that doctors here in the US don't like to give the IUD to a woman who hasn't given birth, but they will try it if the lady really wants to. And there are IUDs that are hormone-free.
The problem with giving the IUD is that it's harder to adapt to if you haven't given birth. For the first few months there can be cramps and pains that are worse than one's regular menstrual cramps; these and other adjustment symptoms can sometimes be excruciatingly intolerable for women who don't have the, erm, elasticity that come with a full-term pregnancy and birth.
And at $300+ before insurance, the IUD can be an expensive item to discover you can't handle. (Although in some states the public health clinics offer IUDs for a sliding scale fee.)
So she would need to look into it carefully before going the IUD route.
Some of the other suggestions here are good ones, but NOT the "early withdrawal/coitus interruptus"! It's possible for a woman to get pregnant just by rubbing genitals, with no penile insertion. She doesn't need to gamble with that.
I know the answer that is recommending withdrawal is getting downvoted, but consider that it is shown to be pretty much as effective as condoms, which to me doesn't mean that withdrawal is a good method, it just demonstrates how terrible condoms are. And I've known women who have gotten pregnant because of them. I might be one of them if I hadn't noticed one broke and took the morning after pill, which was an extremely unpleasant experience. The birth control pill is the single BEST method. The pill has some issues, but honestly, in the modern world they pale in comparison to the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy. A modern lifestyle that involves wanting to have non-reproductive heterosexual sex requires modern tools like the BCP. The IUD is very foolproof, but it's hard to get a doctor to give it to you if you haven't ever given birth before for the reasons Frugal Jen mentioned. And honestly, I found the potential side effects kind of scary.
Methods like Taking Charge of Your Fertility are primarily designed for women who are already in a long-term relationship or marriage where getting pregnant might be a little annoying, but not completely unwanted.
Now a woman who truly doesn't want to take the pill can be in relationships that don't involve intercourse, or with a man who is snipped. But few young women are going to chose to do this.
Also, here is the recent Mark's Daily Apple article on it which has some more info and the comments are pretty good.
The copper IUD would be a good non-hormonal (but well functioning) method of birth control. I am actually getting it put in next month, and they recommend having it put in WHILE your on your period..something about the uterine wall being softer and more flexible. They will also give you 2 pills of misoprostal to take the morning of your IUD procedure to further relax the uterine walls. The doctor I spoke with yesterday at the IUD consultation said it's fine for women who haven't given birth yet...
Well, the 'paleo' solution is to get pregnant when you are fertile.
Our society is so completely artificial. If earlier generations of females had spent their 20s doing everything but having children, the species would no longer exist.
I got a copper IUD inserted about two months ago, and I really love it so far. (I am 26 and have never been pregnant). I think a lot of people are biased against the copper IUD because of the idea that it "increases cramps and bleeding," but in my experience (which, admittedly, is rather short-term) an anti-inflammatory diet will decrease menstrual cramps/PMS symptoms to the point where they're hardly noticeable. I had never been on hormonal birth control before I got the IUD placed, and my periods were VERY painful (while not eating paleo). There were entire days every month where I could barely stand because I was in so much pain. I had to load up on NSAIDS (not realizing how bad they are for you) and my mood swings were crazy. I had days when I cried for hours and hours straight for no reason. In contrast, I've had one period since getting the IUD inserted + adhering to a paleo diet, and I've had no real issues. I didn't have any mood swings, no cramping, didn't have to take any NSAIDS, and I experienced very little water retention. I think the "downsides" to a copper IUD are nothing that can't be managed with a healthy paleo diet.
Mine was covered by my insurance, but I would have gotten it even if it hadn't been -- the upfront cost is expensive, but i's good for 12 years, and after it's put in, it requires no maintenance. My boyfriend has felt the strings once or twice, but he says it's not painful, and he just moves them out of the way. I enthusiastically recommend it. I also have friends who have them and love them.
I'm pretty skeptical about artificial hormones. I have a lot of friends who've had terrible experiences on hormonal birth control.
There are plenty of methods. Charting a cycle works if one is dedicated enough to ensure not to be sexually active around ovulation - ironic that we're most horny then though :-/
There's diaphragms, but I think they're a bit of spontaneity killer.
The IUD is a non-hormonal method which any female can use, pre or post birth. I'm in the UK, so docs in the states might have a suffering opinion, but that's all it is... Opinion.
The IUD is the most effective form of birth control out there right now. The minera is supposed to make periods lighter and easier, while the copper IUD increases cramping and bleeding. I just got the minera put in last month, and my doctor mentioned that they are becoming more popular (at least in Canada). I had no issues getting it despite being in my 20's and childless.
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