What are your goals for your birth control? This is often one of the first questions that is asked, and is a great question to consider for yourself when setting up a birth control consult. Often these goals are related to effectiveness (what works the best at preventing pregnancy and for how long), avoiding side effects (such as acne, weight gain, mood swings, etc), level of intervention (ex: having something placed vs having something you do yourself), and what other therapeutic effects it may provide (such as having a lighter/less painful period, regulating your cycles, or having a minimal impact on your cycle).
What conditions do you have that may change what options we consider? Most forms of birth control consist of hormones, specifically estrogen and progesterone or just progesterone alone. There are many cases where adding estrogen should be avoided, including those with high blood pressure, migraines, history of blood clots, liver disease, or who are taking certain medications (just to name a few). People who are breastfeeding are generally encouraged to avoid estrogen since it can impact their milk supply. Some medical conditions may require you to avoid hormones altogether. Even if you are completely healthy, some methods may not be right for you based on their side effects. For example, if you have heavy and painful periods, you may not want to go with an option that could potentially make them worse. This is why we make sure we extensively review your medical, gynecological, and surgical history as well as any medications you are taking before starting any hormonal birth control.
What level of involvement do I want in managing my birth control? As many long-acting, reversible contraceptive options (LARCs) such as IUDs and implants are becoming available, the question of how involved someone is with handling their birth control is becoming more popular. By this we mean do you want something that you would want to manage on your own daily (like a pill), something that you only have to think about changing every few years (like an IUD or Nexplanon), something that is more permanent (tubal ligation or vasectomy), or somewhere in between (shot, patch, or ring). This is a personal question - we all know ourselves better than anybody, and we know if we are really great at managing a daily routine, or if we would do better on something that we do not have to think about as much.
What am I comfortable with, and where are these feelings coming from? A lot of people go with an option that they have heard about the most or that they have heard their family/friends have used. On the flip side, a lot of people want to avoid a method that they heard someone had a bad experience with. Your level of comfort with a method is obviously important, but one thing to keep in mind is that every single person is different and just because someone had a good OR bad experience with a method does not mean that you will. Perception of risk is subjective, meaning that even if a side effect is very rare, if you have someone you know that experienced it, it makes it seem more likely that it could happen to you. Talk with your provider about side effects or rare events that can occur, review statistics that go through how common they actually are, and then assess how comfortable you would be with a method.
If this brought up any questions, feel free to reach out to one of our True Harmony providers! We are happy to meet you and walk with you through this process.