Didn't Like Hormonal Contraceptives? Dos And Don'ts For Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy

If you are like many women who want to prevent unplanned pregnancies, you may have asked your doctor for a birth control pill and looked forward to taking it. However, you may have developed unwanted side effects that led to you discontinuing the pill and wondering what your other options are. The good news is that there are many non-hormonal birth control options that you can consider and your doctor can prescribe. However, it is important to avoid the hype surrounding other pregnancy prevention methods that have not been proven to be effective in medical studies. 

Read on to learn do's and don'ts for preventing unplanned pregnancies when you don't want to use a hormonal birth control option. 

Don't: Family Planning Apps

You may have heard of "natural family planning" that typically involves a woman tracking her monthly cycle on the calendar and only engaging in intercourse on days she is suspected to be non-fertile. Never rely on this method of family planning, because a woman's cycle can vary from month to month and many women have accidentally become pregnant when following the "calendar method" of preventing pregnancy. 

However, there are now family planning smartphone apps out that track a woman's fertile and non-fertile days much more accurately based on her daily basal temperature reading. While you may be tempted to rely on one of these apps as natural pregnancy prevention, realize that not all women's healthcare experts feel that the apps are reliable enough to rely on as a sole pregnancy prevention method. 

In addition, you have to take your temperature first thing in the morning for the app to accurately predict your fertile and non-fertile days, and while you may plan to take your temperature every morning, in the end, if you end up forgetting a day or two, you would end up having to rely on another form of non-hormonal birth control anyway. 

Do: Ask Your Doctor for a Cervical Cap or Diaphragm

While there are other forms of non-hormonal birth control, cervical caps and diaphragms are very popular and effective when used properly. Both are devices that you cover with spermicide, insert into your vagina before intercourse, and remove afterward. However, they differ slightly in shape and usage. 

A diaphragm is a small rubber cup that you must insert immediately before sex and keep in place for six to eight hours after intercourse to prevent pregnancy. However, you can leave it in place for up to 24 hours after intercourse. 

A cervical cap can be made of latex or silicone. It is smaller than a diaphragm in diameter and, while a diaphragm is relatively flat, a cervical cap is shaped like a small "hat." Also, unlike a diaphragm, a cervical cap must be kept in place for a full eight hours after sex to prevent pregnancy, yet can be kept in place for a full 48 hours after intercourse. 

Which is right for you? Speak to your doctor to see which is best for your individual anatomy and which fits best into your lifestyle. 

If you asked your doctor for the birth control pill or another form of hormonal contraceptive and realized the you did not like the side effects that the hormones can cause in some women, then follow these do's and don'ts for choosing a non-hormonal form of birth control that works better for you. For more information, contact establishments like Abortion Care.