Contraceptive Shopping vs Shoe Shopping: Which Do You Take More Seriously?

BirthControl-ShoesPhotoBirthControl-ShoesPhotoBy Susan Wysocki, President of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health /

I think choosing a method of contraception should be like buying a new pair of shoes. We would never consider buying shoes after looking at only one pair. We wouldn't consider going to the store that offered only one style or color. We don't expect that our favorite pair of shoes when we are 20 will be our favorite pair when we are 30 or 40.

Yet, sometimes we choose and use methods of contraception with less thought (and sometimes less information) than we do picking out a pair of shoes. Finding the right method of contraception, I dare say, is far more important than that pair of shoes. And, I like shoes.

Similar to shoes, there are contraceptive choices that are more or less appealing depending on your lifestyle and age. There are contraceptives for daily use, monthly use, or those that can be used for 5 years or more, but are still completely reversible. Also like shoes, most methods of contraception need a "breaking in" period. Starting a hormonal method, no matter what kind, usually takes a few months for minor adjustments. But they can become our most comfortable "shoes" after that. Most importantly, because there are many choices, there is never a time when a woman should go without effective contraception when she does not want to become pregnant. There are always other choices available.

Unlike shoes, where there are few myths and misunderstandings, there are many things that are believed about birth control methods that aren't true. Do they cause weight gain? Do they cause difficulty getting pregnant when stopped? Do they cause cancer? The answer to these questions for methods of contraception is no, no, and no! With the possible exception of injectable contraception that may cause some weight gain for a woman who has already gained a considerable amount of weight regardless of whether they have ever used a contraceptive method.

Knowledge about choices, benefits, risks, and the right fit is as important for contraception as it is for getting those shoes that are too good to pass up.

Susan WysockiSusan WysockiI invite you to join me on May 12, 2011 at 7:30 pm EST/ 4:30 pm PST in a live, online conversation "Contraception in Your 20s, 30s, 40s (and Beyond?)". Get your questions ready. Click here to where the live chat will take place.

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