Birth Control after Infertility

Ha. HAHAHA. Right?

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a TMI post, so I figured it’s about time, right? 🙂

6 years ago when we were desperately trying to conceive a baby, I spent hours crying and railing at the fact that I’d chosen to actively prevent pregnancy through hormonal birth control for 10 years. I felt like I had missed my window of opportunity to become a mother, and I still believe that 10 straight years of being on hormonal birth control (age 18-27) couldn’t have been great for my body.

Fast forward 5 years to last summer when I had a 2.5 year old and a 6 month old and a husband who wasn’t (yet?) on board for a third baby, and we suddenly found ourselves thinking about contraception & actively preventing another pregnancy. It was SO.FUCKING.WEIRD.

At any rate, I know a lot of people with PCOS or Endo or other issues go on hormonal birth control to help control their symptoms, but I just can’t get on board with putting synthetic hormones in my body again, so I knew that traditional birth control pills or the Nuva ring (my previous go-to methods) were out. I’m still holding out hope that my husband will come around to the idea of a 3rd child someday as well, so a vasectomy was also off the table.

There are a couple non-hormonal options out there like the diaphragm & spermicide (nope) and condoms (ugh, hell no), but really it was the IUD that interested me most. Paraguard is the non-hormonal version of the IUD (Mirena has hormones), it’s good for 10 years (but easy to remove sooner if you’d like), and it was covered by my insurance (good to know, because they usually cost $800-1000).

IUD-2

I’ve heard/read some horror stories about how painful insertion was, how horribly heavy periods became, or that a partner felt them during sex, but honestly – none of the above were true for me. This cycle I’m on now is the first one I’ve even had breakthrough bleeding on, but that’s the only annoying side effect I’ve noticed.

  • Insertion of the IUD was quick and (mostly) painless – it basically felt like the twinge you get when you’re having your PAP done and they swab your cervix. I’m sure every woman is different, but for me it was no big deal.
  • Periods – mine have always been super irregular (thanks PCOS), and that’s no different since this is a non-hormonal form of contraception. Some people report heavier periods, and mine were definitely heavier than before on days 1-3, but they’re still about 5 days long, and it’s not crazy heavy.
  • Partner feeling it – nope, never. I check for it once every month or two to make sure it hasn’t slipped into my uterus or something, but Charlie’s never felt it. To check for it you just squat like you are going to check your cervix (am I the only TTCer that did this?) and with your fingers you should be able to feel the little coil curled around by your cervix. Easy peasy.

Finally, the copper in Paraguard interferes with sperm movement and egg fertilization and is over 99% effective (with no user error to worry about like forgetting to take a pill).

So there ya go… a quick, slightly TMI post for any of you other there considering a non-hormonal form of birth control!

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22 comments

  1. I think this is the route I’m going to go after I have the baby. Thanks for all of the info!

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    1. I seriously love it!

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  2. Thanks for the info! I actually just started taking the pill again almost two weeks ago. McMister hasn’t gotten a vasectomy yet; so, we were using condoms. They don’t bother me, and I was hoping they’d bother him enough to just get snipped 🙂 But my periods have always been super heavy and 7 days long without the pill. Then, I had kids, and they have been INSANE ever since. Nearly two weeks long and so heavy it’s scary. So, I just got back on the same pill I took for 10-ish years, and I’ve either been spotting and/or on period for 15 days straight now 😡 I just am really weirded out by putting a device inside me (I know that makes no sense since I’m putting hormones inside me hahaha.)

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    1. Ugh. Endless periods suck, especially when you know you’re done having kids!! And yes, it’s weird that you’re weirded out by it. 😉 Do you use tampons? Because I feel like tampons are way more *invasive* in a way because even perfectly inserted you can feel them from time to time. I have NEVER felt the IUD!

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      1. I do, and I hate them, too haha. It’s just the permanent(ish), I guess long term is more accurate, nature of the IUD being inside that freaks me out. But you’re right, tampons are also weird, just not AS weird 🙂

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  3. I loved my ParaGard for the same reasons you list, until I got pregnant on it! My husband and I decided that the next time we would choose a birth control that IF it failed it wouldn’t be potentially life-threatening to me or the baby (if you are in the one percent, there’s a 50% chance of ectopic pregnancy because ParaGard does such a good job at making the uterus inhospitable that an embryo is likely to end up in the tubes). But now we have our third baby. Maybe you will, too! 😉 Actually I tell anyone I know that I’m the one percent, so they don’t have to worry. 🙂

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    1. LOL. I totally thought about you when I was writing this post, but decided not to scare my readers. 😉

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  4. I love your TMI posts….Aside from these methods my apparent go to method is abstinence as it is apparently the only 100% effective route….now watch me end up pregnant 😉

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    1. Not 100% effective with ART involved. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. sangela71 · · Reply

    My experience with the insertion of my IUD was the same as yours. I have the Mirena, and although I know some people want to avoid the hormones, one nice side effect has been that I haven’t had a period since it was inserted (over two years). I don’t miss them! 😀

    I am 44.5 years old and should be coming to the end of any theoretical fertility I had left, so I’m considering having the IUD removed as simply unnecessary, and I’ll confess I am not looking forward to the return of my period. (My mom continued to get hers sporadically until almost age 55!)

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    1. Yeah, I might change my tune over the next 10 years and switch to the Mirena some day, but while I’m still thinking about #3 *maybe* – I’m really hesitant to do anything with hormones. Before I knew how f*ed up my body was while TTC though, I sure loved having many months at a time between periods!

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  6. I know this isn’t the “popular” form of prevention, but we use NFP. After all it took to have our first 2 kids, and have male factor issues, I almost laughed thinking that would ever be an option.

    However, I did not want any more hormones in my body (had enough of those thanks!) so since our last child we have used NFP (he is now 20 months with no surprise pregnancy.)

    I think the key is though, our issues were on the male side. My cycles are super regular so that isn’t an issue. I use digital OPK’s and CM to track ovulation and an app (my ovulation is literally the same day each month for the last 9-10 months) and no more babies (yet!) lol. We avoid those 5-6 days around ovulation as well (which is the hardest because that’s when you want to the most!)

    We aren’t doing permanent BC so this works for us. We have come close within 3 days of ovulation once or twice and no pregnancy. We aren’t planning on anymore, but after all we have went through to have our kiddos I will never say never 😉

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    1. Yeah, my cycles are so irregular that would never work for us! I also have way too many friends who got pregnant after sex 5 days before O for my husband to ever agree to that method 😉 glad it works for you though!

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      1. Totally get why with irregular cycles it would be hard!

        Yes if you avoid the whole week pretty much you are good! I honestly found it’s RARE for sperm to live 5 days. Most research shows the chance then is like 3-4 percent vs 30 percent the day before or OF ovulation! I think the truth is more people miscalculate their “O” date or they aren’t as careful because they don’t mind another baby haha!

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  7. Another angle to consider… my mom had breast cancer in her 50s and died of ovarian cancer (unrelated to the breast cancer) a year ago in her 60s. I feel like a ticking timebomb. I discussed it with my OB and he said that lowdose hormonal birth control actually reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. Something about keeping the hormones regulated and in balance. I considered Mirena since it is hormonal. But a close friend got pregnant with baby #3 while on Mirena. I decided on a pill for now, until hubby gets the big V or I get my tubes tied. We struggled to conceive baby #1, but #2 and #3 happened fairly easily. So I’m not taking any chances!

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    1. That’s funny to me for why you switched to pills, only b/c IUDs are over 99% effective and pills are 91-99% depending about how good you are about taking the pills, interactions with antibiotics, etc. 🙂

      I’ve read somewhere about the low dose hormonal birth control lowering your chances of ovarian cancer, but for me I’d still rather not have synthetic hormones in my body until I’m totally sure we’d done TTC. It’s nice to live in a time while we all have options!

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      1. In hindsight, I should have had my tubes tied while the doc was delivering #3 by planned c/s. But i just wasn’t ready to close that chapter at such a vulnerable time. As far as hormones, I feel like I’m doomed either way, which is not a pleasant way to live. I could write a novel about that, but I’ll spare you! Yes, it’s great that we all have options!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Time to get TMI ( I love getting TMI ).

    It took me 18 months to get on the pill after Alex. We weren’t trying, but we have always used the pull out method successfully. No hormones, no condoms, nothing inserted in me and (TMI overload) – I’ll take the immediate “mess” over the next day “mess” (if you know what I mean) any day of the week!

    But I went on the pill recently just to help with my periods and acne. Hormones work for me in that case!

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  9. my sister had this and had it removed recently because it became painful for her – painful periods and cysts. I hope it works for you, seems like a good option.

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  10. I’m on the Paraguard, too, and so far so good!

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  11. I was also against hormonal bc, but what I discovered is that the levels of progesterone in the Mirena are so low that they only act locally, unlike bcp – and i can tell that I am cycling normally with it in based on my EWCM… although periods have stopped which is a super added bonus :).

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    1. Ooh, this is really good info. I hadn’t realized that!

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