4 Reasons to Say, "Thanks, Birth Control!"
Why are you thankful for birth control?
When I started taking the birth control pill at 16, it was to help with unbearable cramps. I had been missing a day or more of school every month because of my period. After I started taking The Pill, my cramps almost disappeared and my period became more regular. Once I got to college, I switched to a hormonal IUD (intrauterine device, a small birth control device, often shaped like a "T" that goes in the uterus). That IUD helped me finish college and grad school without cramps or any unplanned pregnancies. Thanks, birth control!
More than 88% of women of reproductive age in the United States have used birth control at some point in their lives. There are a lot of reasons to be thankful for birth control — and everyone's are different. But here are a few reasons we can all say "thanks."
- Birth control lets you decide when to get pregnant.
Starting or growing a family is a big deal. Access to effective birth control lets you decide when (and with whom) you have children. Whether you're waiting for the perfect partner to have kids with, already have the number of kids you want, want more kids but not right now, or don't want kids at all, birth control puts you in the driver's seat of your reproductive health.
- Birth control can help you achieve your goals.
Being in control of when or whether you get pregnant means having more freedom to pursue educational, professional, and personal goals. Research has linked better access to birth control with major educational and professional achievements for women. A recent study asked more than 2,000 women how using birth control to prevent pregnancy had affected their lives. Sixty-four percent said birth control definitely or somewhat helped them finish school, 64% said it definitely or somewhat helped them get or keep a job or pursue their career, and 71% said birth control definitely or somewhat helped them support themselves financially.
- Birth control has health benefits.
Lots of women use birth control for reasons other than pregnancy prevention. Besides helping regulate your period, birth control can have some great health benefits. Depending on your method, birth control can:
- Decrease the risk for ovarian and endometrial cancer
- Help with painful or heavy periods
- Protect against sexually transmitted infections (thanks, condoms!)
- Reduce acne
Being able to decide when you get pregnant also has major health benefits. Mothers are healthier (PDF, 687 KB) when they can control when they become pregnant, and healthier mothers are better for babies.
- There are more birth control methods than you think.
Many people know about only a few birth control options, like condoms and the pill. In fact, there are over a dozen different methods of birth control and even more options within each type of method. There are methods that are safe for new moms, methods that work for folks with health conditions, methods with different kinds of hormones, methods with no hormones, and the list goes on. And because of the Affordable Care Act most health insurance plans are required to cover the full range of FDA–approved birth control methods (PDF, 914 KB) without out-of-pocket costs!
Ready to say, "Thanks"?
On November 10th, we're celebrating in a big way. Join us to say "Thanks, Birth Control" by sharing an e-card and using the hashtag #ThxBirthControl to be part of the conversation!
Jill Eversole is a digital media intern at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She works on creating online content for Bedsider.org, a website to help young adults use birth control consistently and effectively. Jill has a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, where she focused on sex education and pregnancy prevention.