Does Birth control Affect Fertility?
Until you’re ready to have a baby, you may not want to take chances. Sometimes, women opt for birth control-- but hormonal contraceptives are not without their fertility risks. On average, young girls begin having sex in the early teen years and often wait to have babies till their 40s. So, that’s almost 25 years of needing “protection” from what nature intended… babies! So, what to do till then? I have so many conversations with women about what is the best form of birth control and what won’t damage their fertility for later. Here’s the short and skinny version! Note: Here, I’m only focusing on baby-prevention. It’s a whole different conversation to have around STD prevention– please note that this post will not address STDs and how to protect against them.
Options 1-4 do pose potential risk to fertility so in no way am I suggesting these are recommended. So speak to your natural healthcare provider about the best route for you. Option #5 is the safest for fertility, and actually will help you be way more in tune towards your fertility for later!
1) Pills — Oral contraceptives are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, they do in fact expose your body to prolonged exogenous hormones and it usually takes a while to reset the body back to normal hormonal patterns. Even then, it may be more difficult to get pregnant for women who have used OCPs for many years. What you should know: If you choose this method, give yourself at least a year to two years buffer to regulate your hormonal patterns and detoxify your body before “trying.”
2) Mirena IUD — This option is also hormonal. However, the exposure to the amount of hormones is lower and more localized. The benefit of this option is that there are usually few side effects but if you’re not getting your period on a monthly basis since having the IUD, know that this is affecting and impacting your future fertility– even if your doctor says it’s totally fine for you to not have a period every month.
3) Copper IUDs — This is a non-hormonal, local option, that usually doesn’t have too many side effects. Many women do have severe cramps, at least for the first few months. Also, beware: copper IUDs can cause copper and zinc in your body to go out of balance, and hence potentially cause lowered immunity. Also, worst case scenario is copper toxicity.
4) Cervical caps — These are an easy option, that’s non-hormonal, and local. It does expose your body to a small amount of toxins from the spermicide, however, the spermicide is necessary– this increases cervical cap effectiveness to 99%. The downside? Well, men definitely don’t love it and it takes some getting used to.
5) Tracking and Rhythm Method– If done correctly, is 98% effective. However, on average, people usually do it well enough for only 90% effectiveness. So, if you’re going to use this method, it is critical to do it well and get some training from a pro before forging into it yourself!
How does hormonal birth control impact future fertility?
1. impacts your gut and vaginal microbiome
2. increases inflammation
3. depletes nutrients like B-vitamins, Magnesium, Selenium, and Zinc
4. thins the uterine lining
5. Disconnects the communication between the brain and the ovaries
All of these are crucial to support your fertility. So, if you have been on birth control previously and are now struggling to conceive, don't fret. I've got ya! We have devised systems to help undo the damage.
And.... if you're trying to decide whether you should take birth control or not, consider what I have shared above and make the best decision for you!
If you're trying to get pregnant, let's chat. Too many couples wait too long before talking to someone. And too often, they reach out to me after it's too late. So, please don't wait! It doesn't cost you anything to DM us and see if we can help. Easy right?