To kick off Women’s Health Week, Geneseo Healthguards invited Planned Parenthood outreach specialist Rachel Snyder to give a talk titled, “Birth Control Options: What’s Right for You?”
Planned Parenthood of Western New York guarantees private, non-judgmental reproductive health care to men, women and children; this includes their commitment to working with groups to increase knowledge about sexual health. They serve over 40,000 people per year in the western New York area.
During the presentation, Snyder dispelled myths and gave overviews about methods of birth control, which encompassed long action and reversible methods, short-term options and emergency methods.
Long action reversible contraception methods—frequently abbreviated as LARCs—includes intra-uterine devices, implants and shots. They are defined by the fact that the user does not need to remember to do anything—like take a pill—for an extended period after implementation and that they are reversible, unlike a vasectomy or hysterectomy.
The most common method of these is the IUD. Snyder addressed the common misconception that IUDs are only for people who have already had children. More young people use IUDs as their form of birth control, however, due to the fact that they can last up to 12 years, depending on the brand and type.
For college students, Snyder recommended the arm implant, known as Nexplanon.
“The advantages to this is that there is no invasive gynecological exam, it’s not as permanent and there is less pain than an IUD since the cervix doesn’t need to be expanded,” Snyder said.
The final method of long action reversible contraception methods is the shot Depo-Provera. This needs to be administered every three months.
Snyder also talked about short-term methods of birth control, which included male and female condoms, birth control pills and the NuvaRing.
Additionally, this section of the presentation featured videos on how to put on and use male and female condoms properly. Snyder warned against using both at the same time, however, as she said that this creates friction, which can cause an uncomfortable experience.
Snyder went on to mention the importance of using a water or silicone based method of lubrication with condoms, in order to dispel the friction that condoms may cause.
Birth control pills, condoms and the ring are considered short-term methods of contraception because they both require regular action by the user. A common misconception about the ring and birth control pills is that they cause the user to gain weight, but this is untrue, according to Snyder.
To end her presentation, Snyder spoke about emergency contraceptives: the copper IUD and the morning after pill. Both options work up until five days after unprotected sex, with the copper IUD being the most effective.
One type of morning after pill—called Ella—comes in second after the copper IUD in terms of its productiveness, as Ella is just as effective all five days. Plan B, while effective up until five days, only works best if taken within three days.
In a question and answer session, attendees brought up the policies of the current administration in relation to reproductive rights.
Many people came to Planned Parenthood right after Inauguration Day to get long-term contraceptives such as IUDs and implants because they were afraid that access to birth control would be limited, according to Snyder. Title X, which is well defended in New York State, protects a person’s right to contraceptives.
“You still have nothing to worry about in regards to contraception,” Snyder said.