Unless you would like to have kids in the near future, you need to consider your options for birth control. Several methods of birth control exist but here they have been split up in 3 sections.
A condom is nothing but waste. You use it and throw it away. However, the result of not using a condom can be even more wasteful. Think about the risks of STD’s or bringing a kid into the world when you are not ready.
Condoms are made from liquid latex. This is heated to become solid. During this, all-natural process, some chemicals called nitrosamines are produced. This carcinogenic substance has no immediate health risk but exposing yourself to as few chemicals as possible might be a good idea. A few brands that produce condoms without this chemical are: Lovability, Sustain Natural and Glyde. These brands are also 100% vegan.
Condoms are great when you are loving the single life but, when you are committed to one partner you might want to consider the options that are more long term and sustainable.
Remember to dispose of your condoms in a responsible way. Technically, condoms are made out of rubber and can be composted but this takes a very long time. A used condom should be thrown away in the garbage.
DO NOT FLUSH CONDOMS DOWN THE TOILET.
Hormonal birth control
Condoms are the only contraceptive that also protects against STD’s. Unfortunately, condoms are not completely safe even when used correctly. The failure rate of condoms is about 3%. Meaning about 3 out of 100 condoms used, fail. This is a pretty high percentage so a different method of birth control next to condom use might be a smart idea.
This brings hormonal birth control into the picture. Putting these extra hormones into your body to prevents pregnancy but, there are some serious side effects you need to take into consideration:
- Increase risk of blood clots (about 3 to 4 times more likely)
- The synthetic hormones in hormonal birth control will leave your body through urine and will end up in the ocean causing a negative impact on aquatic life.
For the birth control pill specifically
- Easy to forget which can disrupt your entire cycle and protection that month.
- Blister packaging produces a lot of waste.
Next to these downsides, my Mirena IUD (=hormonal IUD) also made me depressed which I only found out after I had it removed because I wanted to get pregnant. So no more hormonal birth control for me anymore.
So, what options are left?
You might think about the withdrawal/the pull-out method/coitus interruptus method but this is very unreliable and takes great control and trust in your partner.
The temperature method to know when you are ovulating is also a possibility. You monitor temperature changes in your body and when there is a slight increase, you know your ovulation is near. You get to know your body better and avoid intimacy before you ovulate. However, when you have a very irregular cycle (for me that is between 4 and 8 weeks), takes commitment to temperature your body every day for weeks to find out when you are ovulating (yes, I have done this before to find out when I am ovulation because I want to get pregnant). Also, when you, for example, cut your finger, you might have a slight infection, causing your temperature to rise resulting in a false positive making this method unreliable. Therefore, this method is not for me.
Sterilization is an option when you are sure you don’t want (more) kids. However, I am not sure yet if I want more kids but once I am sure, my man and I will definitely talk about this.
So, that leaves one last method (at least for me), the copper IUD. This one of the few hormonal free options out there for women and can last up to 12 years. The copper IUD used to be only an option for women who gave birth but this isn’t the case anymore. IUDs have become smaller and nowadays these are also suitable for women without kids. The only downside of the copper IUD is that the menstrual flow can be heavier and there can be more cramping. As my period has never been very heavy after the birth of my baby, my choice was rather simple. The placing of the IUD is no fun but it is over within minutes and you are protected for years.
Condoms are still the only birth control method that also prevents STD’s but there are sufficient vegan and chemical-free options out there. If you have a committed partner check your options for long term birth control as these are much more sustainable compared to condoms.