Okay so this post definitely took me a few moments to really press the “publish” button… because duh, it’s a little awkward! BUT I don’t want it to be! I have gotten questions & have engaged in conversation with so many women about birth control, how it works, what to use (what not to use) & what it really means to be “on birth control.” Have you ever thought about what is actually happening in your body if you are taking a synthetic pill every day? Or what the side effects may be, not just in the moment, but in the future when you want to start having kids? If you don’t know the answer to these questions, my goal is not in any means to change your process, but just to answer some questions I have gotten! I also share my experiences & what I use now!
I am by no means a medical professional & I think you should always confide in your primary care doctor or gynecologist to really know what’s best for your body! This post is focused on natural vs. pills & I won’t be talking about IUD’s in this post as it would be too much!
So I actually am one of the lucky ones (I guess you could say) who has never had major issues with my period & had a pretty consistent cycle, allowing me to never really have to ask my doctor to help me get it to “be consistent.” I know this is one of the most popular reasons young girls get on the pill, and that in itself makes me a little sad! I’ll get into that more later…
But basically, when I was ready to “take the next step” in my relationship, if you know what I mean 😉 , I automatically went in to the doctor & got started on the pill. Regardless of my older sister telling me there were other ways to prevent pregnancy, I was just so scared of getting pregnant before I was ready, that I wanted to do the thing that was 99.6% effective in preventing it. After being on the pill for about a year – & a handful of mood swings, some weight gain, skin issues, etc. later, I decided that I would actually listen to what my sister (who is a nurse btw), had to say.
She was all about natural prevention & shared a book with me about it – Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Okay GIRL, regardless of if you are preventing pregnancy, trying to get pregnant OR not even being sexually active, you HAVE TO read this book. You learn SO much about your body. I think men should even read this book as well haha! Just so they can really understand the process of a cycle, why mood swings happen, when you can get pregnant, when you can’t, etc. It’s great for you ladies out there that may be having trouble with getting pregnant as well.
Alright so anyways, this book changed my whole perspective. I started actually paying attention to my cycle. And I’m not talking about just marking days on a calender, I’m saying I would really pay attention to what was going on down there (haha), how I felt each day (back aches, headaches, mood changes, sore boobs, tired, super attracted to my man hahaha, etc)! Okay, so I won’t get into the uncomfortable conversation this can lead to as far as what exactly to look for, the book does a great job explaining everything (and I mean everythingggg) … but what I want to make clear, is that when you start paying attention, you really start to have a fairly clear idea of what your fertile days are!
It is so crazy how our bodies are on this consistent cycle & all we have to do to know more about it is just pay attention & know what to look for! On a consistent basis, I use the free app Glow to track each day… they also just have an amazing website with all sorts of tips/advice if you are struggling with fertility as well. But just as this app can help you find the days to get pregnant, it also helps you avoid pregnancy (*hand raise here!)
So after I read that book & decided I wanted to try a natural prevention method – I started researching. I dove into what periods really are, why we need them, why it seems crazy to be okay with being on a birth control option that doesn’t give you a period for 6+ months.
This was when things really started making sense to me… I will share a few major things I have learned, but will also link the articles so you can do your own research as well!
WHAT IS YOUR CYCLE?
Basically, your cycle is when follicle-stimulating hormone & estrogen levels in your body increase, and a mature egg then develops in the ovaries. Then, ovulation occurs when the luteinizing hormone increases & progesterone releases. Progesterone is good because it is what causes the uterus lining to thicken, being a good spot for a fertilized egg to plant & develop. If this eggs is never fertilized by sperm, the lining & egg & everything sheds, hence causing your period… So many girls don’t realize that you actually can only get pregnant on 4-7 days of the month!!
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS: WHAT THEY ARE & HOW THEY WORK
what they are: the pill contains synthetic forms of estrogen & progesterone
how they work: the purpose of the synthetic forms is that it keeps the levels of your estrogen & progesterone consistent. this means eggs never develop enough to be mature to accept fertilization AND the lining of the uterus is never mature enough to allow an egg to implant
BIRTH CONTROL PILLS: SYNTHETIC HORMONES, SYNTHETIC PERIOD
Since the lining of the uterus & the eggs never fully mature, this means the “bleeding” you get during your period while you are on the pill is never actually a period. So if someone is on the pill for 5 years, they never actually have a complete menstrual cycle or bleeding for those 5 years. This is also why I said it is sad that young girls are being placed on the pill to “regulate” their periods because a) it doesn’t actually regulate a period, it just makes a synthetic one & b) if these girls decide to be on it for a long time, they may find difficulty later actually having a consistent, “real” period when they want to get off the pill!
WHY BE CONCERNED WITH IT?
It sometimes is so easy to be like hey, not having a period for a few months, or now being “regulated” by birth control makes my life so much easier. It’s easy to turn a blind eye to the fact that maybe it’s not okay that we are not allowing our bodies to naturally go through its real cycle. We have them for a reason & what’s tough is that not having a natural cycle for a long period of time makes it harder later for you when you want to have a natural cycle!
I am definitely not trying to act like a know-it-all or say that there aren’t benefits to being on the pill, because there is some research saying it can decrease ovarian/endometrial cancers, BUT all I am asking is that you learn about your body & do your own research! There are natural ways to help you get your period consistent & your cramps less painful – just do some research on them (some include nutrition & exercise – OR minimizing exercise).
WHAT WORKS FOR ME NOW
For the past 2 years I have been successfully tracking my cycle & preventing pregnancy. I absolutely love the fact that I am in so much better tune with my body & I don’t have to take anything synthetic to get there!
On the days I know I am ovulating, we use other forms of protection or just simply don’t have sex. If you know your days, add a day or two of it at the end of it as well & just be careful on those days. I hope this gave you an idea of what is working for me & why I decided to do it! I am by no means preaching to what you should do or trying to scare anyone! I just have gotten a lot of questions about it all & wanted to address it in one post 🙂
xo – brewed blonde
There are so many articles out there with such good research on the pill, fertility, natural prevention, etc. so rather than reading more about me blabbing, I will link them below so you can take a look for yourself!