Aware of the cloud of political tension that has been hanging over our heads since the election, I had a lot to think about as my annual OB-GYN appointment approached. I was on the pill, but with all of the uncertainty surrounding women's sexual and reproductive healthcare, I had my mind set on getting an IUD. Much to my surprise, I ended up choosing the NuvaRing.
Why I Wanted the IUD
I've always been nervous about getting pregnant before finishing school, or having a life. But accidents happen all the time, and I know I'm not the only girl out there who forgets to take her pill every now and then. In my mind, the IUD was like an insurance policy.
An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small, T-shaped plastic device that, instead of having to take a pill once every day, is inserted into the uterus by an OB-GYN. There are five different brands which last anywhere from 3 to 12 years.
I was set on choosing the IUD as my form of birth control because it's incredibly low maintenance. A doctor puts it in...and that's it. No more nagging alarm on your phone to take a pill at the same time every day. What I didn't know was that there is another form of birth control that's almost as low maintenance—with extra benefits.
Why I Chose the NuvaRing
As my doctor and I were discussing the IUD, she asked if I had thoughts on any of the other forms of birth control, including the shot, the patch, the implant, and the NuvaRing. Previously having no knowledge of the NuvaRing, I asked for more information.
The NuvaRing and the IUD are very similar. Instead of being T-shaped, the NuvaRing is a plastic ring about the size of a hair tie. Both are inserted into the body, but the NuvaRing works a bit differently than the IUD.
The ring is inserted into the vagina once a month, and it stays in there for three weeks (the three weeks of the month that you aren't on your period). At the end of the third week, the NuvaRing is removed so you can start your period. Then after that hormone filled week, a new ring is inserted.
In addition to being very similar to the IUD, the NuvaRing has an extra benefit I wasn't expecting: regulatory hormones within the ring. In contrast to both the pill and the NuvaRing, the IUD that my doctor told me about (Paragard) has no hormones. My doctor told me that this means that there's nothing to regulate or aid your body when it comes to acne, weight gain, or unwanted hair growth. Although there are some IUDs that do have hormones, none of the IUDs she recommended for me do.
With the added benefit of regulatory hormones, as well as the happy medium of only having to remember to swap out the ring once a month, the NuvaRing was the clear choice for me. I was honestly shocked that I had never heard much about it before, because it's a great choice for girls and women to have.
As far as using the ring goes, the insertion is pretty easy. You squeeze the ring together and push it up the vagina as far as feels comfortable, and that's it.
At first it feels kind of weird, and I wasn't sure if I had it in all the way, but it is possible for the ring to be inserted too far. I consulted NuvaRing's website, which says that there should only be discomfort if the ring is not inserted all the way. With no discomfort, I decided I must be in the clear.
Taking the ring out is just as simple. You hook your finger around the ring and pull it out. Both the feeling and practice of inserting and removing the ring are sort of weird, but it's just because most women aren't used to putting a plastic hair-tie-shaped thing up their lady parts. If you are, well, do ya thang, girl.
I want to spread the word about the NuvaRing, and the importance of being informed on what's available to you, especially at a time when our rights are being threatened and reduced. Do what you can to stay in the know and make the right choice for you. If you want to learn more about the IUD, the NuvaRing, or any other forms of contraception, head over to Planned Parenthood's website or any location in your city.