Posts Tagged ‘birth control’

Take care of your reproductive health

Monday, September 11th, 2017

If you’re planning to get pregnant in the future, it’s important that you take care of your reproductive health now.

Visit your health care provider regularly

Make sure you have an annual checkup with your provider. Your provider will most likely:

  • Give you a physical exam that includes taking your weight and checking your blood pressure
  • Give you a pelvic exam. This is an exam of the pelvic organs, like the vagina, cervix, uterus and ovaries, to make sure they’re healthy.
  • Do a Pap test. This is a medical test in which your provider collects cells from your cervix to check for cancer.

Protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

An STI is an infection that you can get from having unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected. Many people with STIs don’t know they’re infected because some STIs have no signs or symptoms. Nearly 20 million new STI infections happen each year in the United States. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself from STIs:

  • Don’t have sex. This is the best way to prevent an STI.
  • If you do have sex, have safe sex. Have sex with only one person who doesn’t have other sex partners. If you’re not sure if your partner has an STI, use a barrier method of birth control, like a male or female condom or a dental dam. A dental dam is a square piece of rubber that can help protect you from STIs during oral sex.
  • Get tested and treated. The sooner you’re treated, the less likely you are to have complications from your infection.
  • Ask your partner to get tested and treated. Even if you get treated for an STI, if your partner’s infected he may be able to give you the infection again.

If you’re not ready to get pregnant, use birth control

More than half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Planning your pregnancy can help you have a healthy baby. If you’re planning to have a baby, you’re more likely to get healthy before you get pregnant and to get early and regular prenatal care during pregnancy. If you’re not ready for pregnancy, birth control options include:

  • Abstinence. This means you abstain from (don’t have) sex. Abstinence is the only birth control that’s 100 percent effective. This means it prevents pregnancy all the time.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs). An IUD is a small, plastic T-shaped device that your provider puts in your uterus. Hormonal IUDs contain progestin and last for 3-5 years. Non-hormonal IUDs contain copper and can work for up to 10 years.
  • Implants. An implant is a tiny rod that contains progestin and is inserted into your arm. The rod is so small that most people can’t see it. Implants can last for about 3 years.
  • Hormonal methods. These methods, like implants, non-copper IUDs, the pill and the patch, contain hormones that prevent you from releasing an egg. Without the egg, you can’t get pregnant.
  • Barrier methods. Condoms and diaphragms are barrier methods because they work by blocking or killing your partner’s sperm so it can’t reach your egg.

Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Valproate sodium and related products linked to birth defects

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a statement about the increased risk of birth defects when a fetus is exposed to valproate sodium and related products (valproic acid and divalproex sodium).

The birth defects are neural tube defects, craniofacial defects, and cardiovascular problems. A neural tube defect is a defect of the brain and spinal cord. A craniofacial defect affects the face and the skull.

Valproate sodium and its related products may be used to treat migraine headaches, certain seizures and other conditions. If a woman is taking any of these products, she should talk to her health care provider, preferably before she gets pregnant. The risk of birth defects is especially high during the first trimester.

Thinking about another pregnancy?

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

thinking-about-a-babyYou may not be thinking about having another baby right now, but that might change in the future.  So it’s important to stay healthy for yourself, your family and in case you decide to get pregnant again.  Here are some things you can do:

– Leave time between pregnancies.  For most women, it’s best to wait at least 18 months before getting pregnant again.  This gives your body enough time to get ready for another pregnancy.  it also helps you adjust to life as a mom.  Babies are born healthier when there is plenty of time between pregnancies.  But not all women can wait that long because of their age or other factors.  Talk with your doc or midwife about what’s the best interval for you.  Use birth control  (your provider will help you choose the best one for you) until you’re ready to get pregnant again.

– Take a multivitamin with folic acid  in it every day before you get pregnant.

– Get a preconception checkup before you conceive to make sure you’re as healthy as you can be.

Make a reproductive life plan with your partner.  Ask yourselves:  How many children do we want? How far apart do we want them to be? How can I stay healthy before my next pregnancy? How will I keep from getting pregnant until we’re ready for another child?

You can get pregnant while breastfeeding

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Breastfeeding has a host of great benefits for moms, but don’t rely on breastfeeding or the absence of your period for birth control, or… surprise!  Breastfeeding may decrease the odds of becoming pregnant by delaying the return of a woman’s menstrual period.  Contrary to popular myth, however, it does not prevent pregnancy, even if the mother is not menstruating.  Many women ovulate before they see their period return.

If you want to be certain not to conceive again until you and your partner are ready for another child, speak with your health care provider about when to return to using contraception.  By the way, oral contraceptives containing estrogen may decrease milk production for some women.  If you think that might be a problem for your milk supply, discuss different birth control options with your provider.