Choosing a method of contraception* is a personal decision. With a lot of different options to pick from, it’s about finding one that’s right for you and fits with your body and your life. This series of blogs is about my experience changing my method of contraception.
My name is Megan and I’m a youth educator at SHQ. That means I get to spend my days talking to people (mostly young people, but also people who work with young people like youth workers, school nurses, teachers etc.) about sexual and reproductive health, contraception, relationships, porn, sex and technology, gender and sexual diversity, consent…pretty much anything you can think of that has to do with sex and people! I absolutely love what I do, and a big part of my job is giving people information and making them more comfortable to talk about sexual health…and hopefully that’s what this blog, and the next couple, are going to do. I’m going to share with you my experience of changing my method of contraception.
*FYI Contraception is something that you do or use to prevent pregnancy
So here goes…
Like so many other people, having control over my reproductive health and having the ability to choose when I have kids is something that’s really, really important to me. For almost the last decade, since I was around 18, I have been using the combined oral contraceptive pill (the pill) as my main method of preventing pregnancy. There have been times across those 10 years where I’ve used condoms too-sometimes as a backup for the pill, sometimes when I was sober enough to remember I didn’t want chlamydia, and one time when I forgot to take my pill packets when I went travelling overseas.
Over the years I have become very good at taking my pill every day, which is really important for making sure the pill is working effectively. But there were definitely times in my early pill taking days, especially when I was at uni, that I wasn’t so good at taking my pill every day: when study, parties, hangovers and a complete lack of routine meant I forgot to take it on more than one occasion. Looking back, I’m pretty lucky that over the last decade, through all of the pill mishaps and occasional condom use, I’ve had access to free STI testing and the emergency contraceptive pill (aka EC, the morning after pill^), things I’ve used on more than one occasion.
The pill has been a pretty good option for me for most of the last 10 years, minus the bits I’ve already mentioned, and for a long time I thought it was my only option other than condoms. So like lots of other women I haven’t really thought about trying other contraceptives: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right!? Well, maybe it is worth considering the other options…SPOILER: there are lots of different options, and some are more effective than the pill and mean you don’t have to remember to take a pill every day!
For me the big push to rethink my contraceptive choice is upcoming travel plans. I don’t really want to be dealing with prescriptions and doctors and time zones and unpredictable schedules and trying to remember to take my pill every day. So I want something to set and forget, something that requires little or no effort on my part. I know a fair bit of general information about contraception and what is available because of my job, but I still want to talk it through with someone who knows more than me. It’s also really important to talk to a health professional about your individual circumstances and contraception options. So I’ve booked an appointment at the SHQ clinic to have a chat with one of our doctors and get all of my questions answered.
Want to know how my appointment went? Read my next blog Me and my ovaries Part 2: so can you tell me a bit more about that…
^ the morning after pill isn’t a very good name for it because you can actually take it up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but it is most effective when taken within the first 24 hours after sex.