Previous: Quick Update: DoeEyes
Next: Choice - a short biography of Margaret Sanger



View count:174,813
Last sync:2022-10-29 11:15
In which Lindsey chats about a bunch of the varied methods for pregnancy prevention.

Sex Shields:
Pulling Out:
Choosing Birth Control:
So at some point our ancestors figured out putting a penis in a vagina leads to pregnancy. And since then, we've been trying to do one without the other. Not everyone, of course, but most.

Ancient Egyptians took to wine and garlic douches or suppositories made from spoiled milk and crocodile turds. Yep, feces in the vagina. It makes slightly more sense, though, if you know that the Egyptian god of fertility is associated with the Nile crocodile. Luckily, we've expanded our options.

Ancient Greeks and Romans figured out that covering the penis was useful, like condoms, and they added their version of the modern-day sponge to the list, a list which includes over two dozen options for preventing pregnancy!

With all these options, there's a better chance of finding a method that suits the user. What do you have to consider? Overall health, how often you have sex, the number of sexual partners you have, if you eventually want to have children, how well each method works or is it effective in preventing pregnancy, any potential side effects, your comfort level using it, and cost. With these considerations in mind, I'm going to do a quick run through of the methods currently on the market. The number that shows up here is the method's effectiveness, which I'm going to start at 100, the rate it would be if I weren't having sex.

It's much lower if I use one of these fancy shmancy things. This is typically known as a "female condom," but I prefer to call it an "in condom." It is worn inside the receptive partner, and because it is so heavily lubricated on the inside and out it makes for smoother sex. Inserted like this. This part stays on the outside of the body, and then penetration occurs safely like this.

"Male condoms," or "on condoms," are also in this sex shields episode. There can be a lot of user error here, so if you want them to be effective, learn how to use them! Condoms, except lambskin, have the added the added benefits of preventing sexually transmitted infections, like chlamydia and HIV. Downside, they're one-time-use, so the amount of sex you can have is limited to the quantity of condoms accessible.

Then, there are other barrier methods which create a barrier between the sperm and the cervix, the tip of the uterus. This would include caps, diaphragms, sponges, Lea's Shields (which I don't have), and many of these are paired with another form of birth control called spermicide.

So you know that the suffix "cide" refers to killing: pesticides are pest killers, spermicides are sperm killers, and there are many weapons of destruction to choose from. Jelly; this is film, meant to be folded up and put inside the vagina to dissolve; foam, which comes in this canister with an applicator to fill it up like this, then inserted like a tampon. There are also these little suppository spermicides which are like waxy bullets. None of these are going to be used at the same time. The active ingredient in all these spermicidal methods is nonoxynal 9, which, while it's great for killing sperm, can also be an irritant.

Then, there are the hormonal methods, which release synthetic hormones into the female body and communicate the message, "Don't release an egg!" This includes the pill, patch, ring, shot, implants, and some IUDs.

These are all forms of the pill. There's a pill for each day of the menstrual cycle. Take one orally, every day, same time.

The patch is like a sticker that adheres to the skin, here, here, here, here, away from elastic bands or other things that can rub it off, like bra straps. It stays on for a week, or is supposed to. Then, you take it off and put on a new one, again, again, until week 4 when you don't wear it. You bleed, and then start again.

The ring, which looks a lot like the one in the in condom, is inserted the same way but has hormones. That's why it's kept in this packaging, because hormones are activated to release when it heats up and gets wet, as in your internal body temperature and vaginal moisture.

The shot, which you may know as Depo-Provera, is a needle injection of hormones that lasts up to 3 months.

This is a demo of an implant. Implants are tiny matchstick-sized tubes with hormones in them designed to release hormones over multiple years. This part of the demo is meant to show how it's implanted by a clinician under the skin in the upper arm. You'll notice this is green because it's a demo, but they're not actually that color.

Another device that is placed in the body for long durations is the intrauterine device, or IUD. Here is one trapped in a plastic uterus. Get it? "In the uterus" device. Some are made of copper and last for 10 years, zapping sperm and disorienting them. Others are made of plastic, like this fun one, and release egg-halting hormones in addition to directionally impairing the sperm.

Sterilization is intended to be a permanent option, and entails cutting, cauterizing, and/or tying off the tubes that transport egg or sperm cells to places where they can unite. Vasectomies impact the vas deferens in the scrotum, and tubal ligation impacts the Fallopian tubes.

You've probably heard of not having sex as a birth control method. This is "abstinence." Abstinence as a birth control method is abstaining from sex until you decide you want to have children. People abstain before and during ovulation, which is using the rhythm method or calendar method. Doing it effectively includes tracking vaginal discharge and basal metabolic temperatures. There are apps to help and thermometers.

Lactational amenorrhea is another technique where people maintain the period of infertility following childbirth by breastfeeding their infants. Do you see how effective that can be?

Then there's withdrawal, withdrawing the penis before ejaculating (video here and in the description.) 

And if pregnancy happens with any of these options, there are still more options to control birth, which I'll talk about more later, but you probably know of them as the emergency contraceptive pill and abortion.

When it comes to pregnancy prevention options, there are really awesome online assessments that will suggest methods that are the best for you. This is a video of me going through the Planned Parenthood version which is posted on my daily vlog, DoeEyes.

Stay curious.