Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Hormonal Birth Control and IUD's....

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This is something that I have been thinking a lot about lately after talking with friends who have no idea how these particular types of birth control can work. This includes the pill, patch, ring, depo shots and long term implanted hormones. This is geared as an informative post, especially to those who are pro life and believe life begins at conception. It frustrates me that most doctors are not up front with this information. I even remember being taught in nursing school that hormonal birth control prevents ovulation and that is a partial lie.

Here is an excerpt from Contraceptive Info:

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All hormonal contraceptives have at least three mechanisms of action. Artificial female hormones are the active ingredient in all hormonal contraceptives — estrogen and progestin. Some products contain both hormones and others progestin only. Using both hormones together is somewhat more effective than progestin alone, but the estrogen component is responsible for most of the serious health hazards associated with hormonal methods.

  1. Hormonal contraceptives prevent ovulation. No egg is released so sperm cannot fertilize it. It is widely agreed that this is a major mechanism of hormonal birth control.

  2. A woman may ovulate anyway. Hormonal contraceptives may also prevent fertilization by changing the consistency of natural secretions in the vagina, making it harder for the sperm to reach the egg. It is not clear how effective this mechanism is in preventing fertilization.

  3. A woman may ovulate anyway, and sperm may still reach the egg, resulting in fertilization. When this occurs, hormonal contraceptives make it difficult for the embryo to implant in the uterus by keeping the edometrium (lining of the uterus) thinned. This results in the death and expulsion of the embryo. Most scientists agree this occurs, but it is not clear how often. Some doctors do not prescribe hormonal contraceptives because they find this mechanism objectionable. [more about this...]

IUD's

Hormonal IUDs: Hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by releasing the hormone progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus, acting as a barrier to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. This type of IUD also affects the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilized egg from being implanted, should fertilization occur. Progestasert IUD must be replaced every 8-24 months. Since this IUD was discontinued in 2001, any woman who had one implanted should have had it removed by now. The Mirena IUS is the next generation of hormonal IUDs and can be used for up to five years. More about the Mirena IUS...

Non-hormonal IUDs: For copper IUDs, the metal itself seems to exert a spermicidal effect. The copper also affects the lining of the uterus by not allowing a fertilized egg to implant, and it stimulates the production of prostaglandins, chemicals that affect the hormones needed to support a pregnancy. ParaGard is a long-term IUD that may be left in place for ten years.

All mechanisms of the IUD are not completely understood. The IUD may also cause inflammation of the uterus, preventing implantation of an embryo and making it more difficult for sperm to enter. Unlike regular hormonal contraceptives, IUDs do not prevent ovulation.

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I am not anti birth control, but believe in barrier or natural methods. I just want those of you out there who believe life begins at conception to know the truth: Birth Control does not always prevent ovulation and as the information stated they are not sure how often a woman actually ovulates and a fertilized egg could be not allowed to implant in the womb.

6 comments:

Ace said...

Great post, sadly I suffered from this ignorance and may have lost a child early in our marriage. We need to be educated about our bodies and how they work it is our responsibilitiy!

Many Blessings :)
Ace

Teresa @ A Life At Home said...

Great post, Dainelle. It needs to be said more often. I tell anyone who asks me the truth about the way birth control works. I have had quite a few christian women, even those in my own family ignore what i've said. It's sad.
The way they get around not really considering hormonal birth control and IUD's aboortifactants is by the medical definition of a pregnancy, which doesn't start until the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus. So, legally it is not an abortion.
So, when you ask your doctor if it is an abortifactant the medical answer is no. But, if you believe in life beginning right after the egg is fertilized, then it can work as an abortifactant.

Linda said...

Amen!

.... and not only that, but it will seriously mess up your body. I have used oral contraceptives before, and I'm still recovering for it.

My period used to be EXACTLY on time since I first got it.. but after I took pills for a while, my whole rhythm is messed up.. Really, it's one of my biggest regrets ever! :(

Greetings from the netherlands ;)

Anonymous said...

I happened upon your blog and I wondered what your opinion may be for a tricky situation. I have Rhuematoid Arthritis and began to take a toxic drug called Methotrexate. If you get pregnant while taking this drug it can cause a miscarriage or severely harm the baby. They would not let me start taking the drug until I was on some sort of birth control. I had never been on anything before because of reasons you wrote about in your post on it. I ended up having an non hormonal IUD (Paraguard) put in.
It seems to be a no win situation. If I don't take the drug I will most likely end up in a wheel chair as my RA was extreme and did joint damage in only a year of trying to fight it naturally with out drugs. My RA is much better since the drugs, yet I feel a twinge of guilt because of the IUD.
What are your thoughts?
Thanks
J

Dani said...

J

I think you are in a hard situation. I personally could never use an IUD b/c the way it works is to keep fertilized eggs from implanting into the uterus. My husband and I believe that life begins at conception. For us the only way we "prevent" is a barrier method that way if we get pregnant the baby has every chance to stick.

As for you I cannot make that choice for you. I have a friend in a similar situation. She has to be on mood stabilizing medication for depression. Medicines that could be harmful to baby if she were to get pregnant. She and her husband choose hormonal birth control pills after much prayer and consideration. They are thinking of starting a family soon and she will have to wean herself off her medication and stay off it while pregnant.

I am not sure if you are even looking to become pregnant at this time, but all the advice I can really give is to arm yourself with all the knowledge you can on the subject and pray for the answer that is best for your situation.
Hope that is helpful someway to you.

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