This post is in partner with Ava Women. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Please read my disclaimer page for more information.
As a mom of four, I have learned a lot. Motherhood teaches you things in itself, but I can say that I’ve been focused on my health journey more than ever during all of it. One of the things that is always on my mind is how to reduce my body’s toxic load. A big contributor to a woman’s health issues is birth control.
Before I became educated on the healthy lifestyle I have come to love, I was totally opposite from the woman I have become. I was a young socialite who loved going out with my “friends,” binge drinking and smoking cigarettes. I ate tons of late night McDonalds, Wendy’s for lunch, processed foods at my apartment and BBQ buffet plates every Sunday. I would go out to Redbone Alley or Percy and Willies and order drinks, appetizers, an entree with a salad, and dessert. I took antidepressant medication and birth control that caused me to gain weight on top of the weight I accumulated from drinking and eating so poorly. The medications only made me more depressed causing me to turn even more to my comfort: food. I still battle my urge to emotionally eat when our work week gets stressful or family problems come about. A few months before I met my husband, I had a realization that who I was, was not who I wanted to be. So I started changing my life piece by piece.
I started with researching and reducing my use of the antidepressant and birth control. What I found was that many birth control pills contain high levels of estrogen that effectively convince your pituitary gland that you are pregnant (this explains some of the side effects of the drugs) and that you don’t need to ovulate. Because your body thinks you are pregnant, the uterine lining thickens. Once you start the placebo pills, however, your estrogen level drops suddenly, and your body menstruates “normally.”
Some physical and emotional changes take place that are permanent while you stay on the pill. Many of these changes occur as your body’s response to synthetic estrogen.
These changes include:
- Larger breasts
- Weight gain or loss
- Reduced or increased acne
- Slight nausea
- Emotional sensitivity right before your period
- Mood swings throughout your cycle
- Irregular bleeding or spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Decreased libido
The above side effects might be enough to deter some women from taking birth control, but many women are just not aware of them, while others justify the side effects because the pill is so convenient. Take a second to imagine taking your birth control pill, feeling depressed and then taking an antidepressant to handle your mood swings and hypersensitivity. However, adding an antidepressant could then contribute to even lower libido, which would surely be noticed by you and your partner.
My point is that birth control pills are a prescription drug with very real ramifications on your overall health. Knowing this doesn’t change that I have to take precautions and figure out a birth control method that I feel comfortable with.
After doing some research, I came across a method that I felt was a good choice for me, and for my family. The most popular form of natural birth control is Natural Family Planning (NFP). This practice limits sexual intercourse to naturally infertile periods; including portions of the menstrual cycle, during pregnancy, and after menopause. Another term you may have heard for this method is Fertility Awareness.
Some women can be intimidated by NFP and have no idea what to do or how to start. With advances in technology though, there has never been a better time to EASILY practice NFP – Ava takes all the guess work, temping, and charting out of the process. To help me practice Natural Family Planning, I am wearing an Ava bracelet at night. Ava is a clinically tested device that uses sensor technology to reveal what’s really happening with your cycle—whether you’re trying to conceive, pregnant, or just want to better understand your body. Worn only during sleep, Ava eliminates the guesswork around tracking your cycle. Wearing this bracelet at night has been the easiest method I’ve ever used. I don’t have to remember to take a pill every day, I don’t have to get a shot, and I don’t have to get anything implanted in my body. You can purchase your own Ava bracelet at a discount with my personal code. Use code: LITTLESOUTHERN at check out for $20 off your order.
Have you heard of NFP? Have you tried NFP? I’d love to chat about your experience, or answer any questions!