10 Questions to ask yourself before choosing a contraceptive method.

  1. Do I want permanent or temporary contraception? Most people know how long they want to prevent conception. Problems arise when they choose permanent methods and then they change their minds. Permanent contraceptives are by and large permanent. The more common problem however, is when people who do not want to have any more children use their temporary contraceptive of choice and ignore the warning that contraceptives can fail even when used properly.
  2. How soon after cessation of contraceptives do I want to conceive? – Contraceptives to some extent alter the normal functioning of the body. Thus, return to the usual functioning state can be immediate but it can also be delayed even up to a year depending on type of contraceptive, length of use and the individuals own body mechanisms.
  3. Do I want a hormonal or non – hormonal based contraceptive? – This is a question many people do not actively seek clarification on when they seek advice.  This should be an important consideration because of route of administration as well as side effect profile.
  4. Do I smoke? – A person who smokes and is on hormonal contraceptives has an increased risk of developing DVT (Deep Venous Thromboses). Thus, if you are seeking advice on contraceptives, inform the person that you smoke.
  5. Do I know my blood pressure? – Hormonal based contraceptives can result in an increase in Blood Pressure. In some instances, this necessitates cessation of the contraceptive methods and change to another one.
  6. Do I need protection from STIs? – Depending on one’s relationship, consideration should be given to protection of self and partner from sexually transmitted infections.
  7. I’m I breastfeeding? – There are contraceptives that are not recommended in breastfeeding mothers and thus care should be taken when selecting a contraceptive method. In addition, a good percentage of unplanned pregnancies occur after delivery when breastfeeding mothers assume that they cannot conceive that quickly.
  8. I’m I ready to deal with physical side effects like acne and weight gain? – Many ladies do not want to have to deal with issues of acne and weight gain as adults. More so, if it is due to something preventable like choice of contraceptives. Unfortunately, there is no method to determine whether one is at risk of the above. Thus vigilance is needed in monitoring weight gain when on hormone based contraceptives. The good news is that this is usually reversible once the contraceptive is withdrawn.
  9. Do I have Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding? – This basically means that before one begins any contraceptives one should know what their regular menstrual flow is like. Women with irregular flow should be investigated and managed appropriately before starting on any contraceptive. The reason is that contraceptives can interfere with ones flow by reducing the amount, increasing the amount or resulting in irregular menses. This can mask other important issues that should be dealt with like cervical cancer.
  10. How forgetful are you? – Some contraceptives are taken daily; others are received every 3 months. Forgetting to use one’s contraceptives can result in an unplanned pregnancy. One has to be vigilant.

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