Why are women hesitant to talk about birth control?
A study conducted by the Singapore Medical Journal on Singaporean women between 21 and 49 years of age shows that while there is a high awareness of contraception such as condoms, contraceptive pills, tubal litigation, and the IUD (intrauterine device), there is far less awareness about other types of birth control methods.
As such, the study concluded that “women in Singapore have poor awareness and knowledge of contraception, especially long-acting reversible methods” and “more effective ways are needed to educate women about contraceptive methods”¹.
Mums, while you may be wary of some stigmatisation or judgement associated with birth control, you have a right to make an informed choice about it. Ultimately, it’s your body and comfort level, and you should make the choice that works best for you.
The best way to go about doing that is to have more open conversations about birth control. To get the ball rolling, we addressed some of the most common birth control questions asked by our mum readers!
What are the most common forms of birth control?
Many mums have this question and we posed the question to our theAsianparent online community. While some mums joked about abstinence as the 100% safest method of birth control, most of our readers recommended methods such as birth control pills, condoms, and tying of tubes, and IUDs. They also added that it’s important to consult a doctor before taking any pills.
In addition, there is a host of other lesser-known options available including implants, shots, vaginal rings, and internal condoms. You can find out more about other birth control options here.
Can you take birth control pills while breastfeeding?
Yes, you can safely use hormonal birth control methods right after giving birth and while you’re breastfeeding. These include the shot, Mirena IUDs, and some types of birth control pills (called mini-pills). They will not cause you or your baby any harm².
While traditional birth control pills contain a mixture of the hormones estrogen and progestin, the mini-pill contains progestin only. Estrogen is believed to be a cause of reduced milk supply and a shorter duration of breastfeeding so the mini-pill is a safer option³.
Which is the most effective birth control method besides contraceptive pills?
Not everyone is keen on the pill so many mums are curious to explore other options. Once again we took to our mum readers and it turns out that some birth control methods are definitely more preferred than others. Some mums prefer to practice abstinence on their fertile days while others recommend IUDs. The shot is also an option for a few of our mums.
Experts say that some birth control works better than others and the most effective types of birth control are implants and IUDs as they are the most convenient and foolproof to use. Other methods such as the pill, ring, or patch are also really good at preventing pregnancy but only when used perfectly.
But let’s face it, human error is highly possible so there’s a higher chance of these methods failing as compared to the implants and IUDs⁴.
What are the benefits and risks or side effects of birth control pills?
Generally, birth control pills offer a slew of benefits. These include being 99% effective (when used as directed), a convenient and safe contraceptive method, leading to lighter periods and may help to decrease the discomfort of menstrual cramps.
It’s also proven to help with conditions such as vaginal dryness, acne, ovarian cysts, and much more. In fact, the pill can lower your risk of ovarian cancer by 27% and the risk of endometrial cancer by 50%⁵.
But like everything else, birth control pills do have their fair share of cons. They can cause headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, and bleeding between periods. These side effects tend to go away after you’ve taken birth control regularly.
Dr. Vera from Doctor Anywhere addresses other common questions on women’s sexual health and wellness.
Mums, we hope that in answering your top questions about options, you now have a better understanding of it. Remember, there are a host of birth control options available, and for good reason.
Furthermore, birth control isn’t just for preventing pregnancy. It can also be taken for other purposes such as managing period pains and even improving your skin health!
However, with the many options available, it is also important to note that you should always seek the advice of a licensed doctor when deciding on which birth control option works best for you. Different women have different needs and their bodies function differently, so to each her own! GPs are your first point of contact for female health and contraceptive advice, whenever starting on a new birth control method.
So you see, mums, there are no embarrassing questions when it comes to your sexual health and wellness. In fact, you can even speak to a women’s health doctor on your phone, from the comfort of your home.
With Doctor Anywhere, consult a doctor 24/7 on the app and receive medication delivered to you within 3 hours, or head down to any of our 9 islandwide clinics. Doctor Anywhere offers health checks and screenings, designed especially for women, so that you can stay on top of your health.
See a Women’s Health GP anytime, anywhere
Remember, knowledge is power and we’re here to support you, whenever you need it.