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Birth Control No-Nos

birth control photo

Birth control is offered in many varieties with different instructions, so it can be confusing for women to know that what they are doing is correct. By using birth control correctly, you can increase its effectiveness.

Here are the different methods of birth control and the common errors or actions you should avoid to keep yourself protected.

Hormonal Contraception

Hormonal methods of birth control have a low chance of error if used correctly. The pill is a common choice, but the first mistake is selecting the wrong pill for your body and lifestyle. Call your doctor for an appointment today to explore options and make the right decision.

Birth Control Pills

Missing a pill or forgetting to take the pill for a couple of days can negatively affect the way it works. This common error can be helped with certain steps. If you forget your pill, take one as soon as you remember, even if that means you take 2 in one day.

If you forget 2 days of pills, take 2 the day you remember and 2 the following day to get back on track. Use a backup method until your next period.

A big “no, no” when using the pill is to avoid taking rifampin, a drug used to treat tuberculosis, as it interferes with the effectiveness of the pill.

General antibiotics are fine; however, be sure to use another form of birth control if you need to take anti-seizure drugs, anti-HIV drugs, and some anti-fungal medications.

The Patch

The patch is less effective when you apply it at the wrong time of your cycle. To have high effectiveness, you must implement it on the first day of your menstrual cycle or the first Sunday following your period.

Also, be cautious of the day you change your patch, and do not apply it to skin that is moisturized, has make-up, or is ultra dry.

Vaginal Rings

The vaginal ring releases hormones into the body the same way the pill does. A typical mistake is not inserting it within 5 days of the beginning of your period.

You will also be at risk of getting pregnant while using the ring if you forget to remove it after 3 weeks and don’t replace it within 7 days.

Condoms and Barrier Methods

When using a female condom, common mistakes include not applying enough lubrication and not entering the penis directly into the condom. Make sure to remove the female condom carefully after sex to avoid leakage.

With male condoms, effectiveness is decreased if you do not leave enough space at the tip or do not remove the air before intercourse. Never reuse condoms, and make sure to hold the base when withdrawing. Be sure to check the expiration date before use along with the size and fit.

If a diaphragm is not the right size for you, then it will not be as effective. Be sure to consult your doctor with questions at any point when using contraception. A common mistake to avoid is leaving your diaphragm in for more than 30 hours. Plan to remove the diaphragm or sponge 6 hours after sex and no sooner.

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

With IUDs being almost mistake-proof, they are one of the most effective forms of birth control. However, as with the pill, the ring and the diaphragm, the IUD only protects users from pregnancy, not sexually transmitted infections.

Error or lack of effectiveness can arise from not checking the placement of your IUD after insertion. Be sure to check for the string inside your vagina as directed by your physician.

Do not use a copper IUD if you are allergic to copper. If you are not in a committed relationship and have multiple partners, the IUD may not be the right choice for you. Similarly, with other forms of birth control, do not use an IUD if you are pregnant. When taking contraception post-pregnancy, check with your OB for the best course of action.

Final Thoughts

If you are considering birth control or are currently unhappy with your contraception, call your doctor with questions or for an appointment to explore options.

Birth control is primarily designed to protect you from an unwanted pregnancy. It does not provide STD protection, so always use condoms if you are not in a committed relationship or may be at risk for STD exposure. To increase the effectiveness of your birth control, make sure to educate yourself about the risks and follow the appropriate instructions.