“Couples know more about cars, computers and microwave ovens than they do their own fertility” C Norman. Fertility Education Trust
When I first saw this quote it rang true to me, we research our purchases, how we’re going to spend our money and what devices we want to buy for our everyday lives, things that don’t affect our health at all, but we don’t question the contraceptive choices we are given by our doctors. We aren’t told about the potential risks (blood clots) or side effects (depression, reduced sex drive, no return of fertility) that hormonal birth control has, nor that it effectively puts us into a state of menopause by stopping ovulation – a vital sign for health in women of fertile age.
Dr’s are given a role in our lives with a lot of trust instilled in their advice which is accepted without question. It was only when I became pregnant with my eldest daughter that I realised I had not experienced much of the health system as whilst growing up most ailments were treated naturally using naturopathic methods or homeopathy with lots of research into what would help and what would delay recovery.
Let’s face it, Drs are trained to generally practice prescribing medicines for illnesses, not treat women’s health – women’s health is not a specialism of a GP, pregnancy is most definitely not an illness and our fertility cycles do not benefit from hormonal birth control. It is literally the only drug given to STOP a natural function, let that sink in for a moment…. By taking hormonal birth control we are stopping something that should happen on a regular basis within our bodies, we aren’t fixing it, just stopping it from happening until some future date when we stop taking it because we want to have children or find that we are having unexplained side effects that weren’t there before we were taking the pills/had an implant or an IUD.
Hormonal Birth Control is described as having a targeted effect on the fertility cycle, however, this is virtually impossible because of the role of the pituitary glands and the brain in our cycles overall. As with all functions in our body there are multiple messages sent from our brains to our extremities which are affected by what we take into our systems. You literally can’t put fake hormones in your system without it affecting your whole body. I do not say this to judge women who choose to take hormonal birth control, I say it because we are so misinformed about these drugs and the research into their effects on the body is not published and readily available – when was the last time you read the information leaflet with a prescription you were given? Was it even highlighted to you by the Dr prescribing it?
What I am trying to say overall is that information is power, we should know what we are putting into our bodies, we should be given the pros and cons of the drugs and have the potential side effects explained to us. We should also as women be educated about our cycles from a young age so we can make decisions around our contraceptive choices based on the fact that we can only get pregnant on a maximum of six days of our cycle and how to track this.