Medically reviewed by Sophia Yen, MD, MPH – Written by Pandia Health Editorial Team
Birth control serves many different purposes in addition to preventing pregnancy. According to Planned Parenthood’s Ask the Experts page, methods such as the pill and the patch offer numerous benefits including, but not limited to, clearer skin, lighter periods, and improved mood. They can even help to alter the length and timing of one’s menstrual cycle (i.e. some pill packs do not include sugar pills and allow one to only get a period once every three months).
Regarding longer-term outcomes, birth control can also be utilized as a helpful tool for women who experience symptoms of perimenopause, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These conditions can lead to negative health consequences if not treated, and birth control may be prescribed as a form of treatment.
There are various reasons why individuals may oppose birth control usage. For instance, many women decide to not take birth control (which is completely within their right to do) due to fear of weight gain, mental health side effects, risks of certain types of cancer, and/or the expense of the actual product. With that said, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider – ideally one who specializes in women’s health – before starting any form of contraception.
Each individual has different needs, which is why there is such a great variety of birth control options on the market. It is also necessary to separate facts from fiction, as the benefits of birth control often outweigh the minor symptoms that may be experienced when new hormones are introduced to the body.
On a different note, some conservative and religious groups discourage contraception, as they believe that it promotes sexual activity for pleasure rather than reproduction. However, there are so many reasons why a woman might choose to be on birth control, whether it is related to sex or other health-related outcomes; taking birth control to prevent unplanned pregnancy, for example, is a responsible choice for those who are not ready to raise a child.
These aforementioned groups oppose birth control for its purposes of empowering women by giving them agency over their own bodies, which is an idea that disrupts traditional gender roles. While each individual has the right to their own beliefs, it is not fair for women to be held to specific standards by those who cannot experience the same bodily changes (i.e. people who cannot become pregnant from unprotected sex) or who possess differing religious, social, and political notions.
Furthermore, the existence and preservation of birth control enhances the success of the entire nation by giving women and other marginalized groups autonomy over their own bodies and lives. If you’re still not convinced or simply want more information, here are four reasons why birth control is important:
Rates of unintended pregnancy have dropped to an all-time low and have saved women billions of dollars due in part to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a provision that seeks to expand health care accessibility to people across the United States.
Unexpected pregnancies cost U.S. taxpayers $12 billion annually, an amount that could be decreased if birth control accessibility and education are encouraged rather than shamed. Insurance companies also benefit from the availability of contraception, as their financial responsibility for covering unintentional pregnancies is reduced. It’s a win-win!
Fewer Unplanned Pregnancies
Access to effective contraception leads to a decline in unplanned pregnancies and abortions, as presented in a study known as the Contraceptive CHOICE Project. Plus, two-thirds of the women in the U.S. who are sexually active and using birth control account for only 5% of unplanned pregnancies while the other 95% are from those who are not on birth control or who are using it incorrectly or inconsistently. Yay for preparation!
Decreased Period Symptoms
Birth control has the ability to enhance the quality of one’s life by making periods less of a burden. Not only can it help to regulate one’s cycle, but it can also improve acne, reduce PMS symptoms (cramps, headaches, low energy, etc.), and even eliminate a monthly period.
Raise your hand if you like feeling healthy and fit during your period!
Contrary to popular belief, a monthly period is not necessary for optimal health. For this reason, using birth control to skip a period is normal and healthy. After all, why should an individual experience unpleasant symptoms when they do not need to?
If you’re interested in how to safely and effectively skip your period with birth control, check out Pandia Health’s #PeriodsOptional campaign.
Support for Marginalized Groups
Access to contraception is imperative for women and many other marginalized groups including people of color, LGBTQ+ folks, those who are differently-abled, and those who are economically disenfranchised. It is common for individuals in these communities to be hesitant to seek help given the discrimination that continues to persist against them.
Furthermore, it is crucial for healthcare providers such as Pandia Health to keep fighting for affordable and accessible birth control for all. Every individual with a uterus should feel empowered to take charge of their own reproductive health, and making the decision to begin birth control is a huge step in this process.
Overall, providing access to and supporting contraception leads to benefits that go beyond simply preventing pregnancy – both the economic and social outcomes can positively impact the nation as a whole. Birth control, regardless of what form it takes, is a critical element of reproductive healthcare and should be available to everyone regardless of religion, income, age, gender, race, sexuality, etc. After all, one does not need to be on birth control to realize that its accessibility and affordability greatly improves the lives of those around them.
If you’re ready to start or continue your birth control journey, check out Pandia Health’s FREE delivery service. Order up to a year’s supply of your desired prescription directly to your mailbox with automatic renewals to get that #PandiaPeaceOfMind.
If you live in AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, MI, NV, TX, TN, PA, WA, or WY, you can schedule an online consultation, and one of our expert doctors will write you a new prescription. For those who have an existing prescription, we can transfer it into our system so you can #SkipTheTrip to the pharmacy.
What’s most important to remember is that it is an individual’s choice as to whether or not she uses birth control. While no one should be denied affordable and accessible birth control, women do not need to take it in order to be healthy and happy.
With that said, anyone who is sexually active and not on birth control should use a barrier method (condoms, diaphragm, spermicide, etc.) in order to prevent unplanned pregnancy – these methods should be implemented regardless to protect both partners from STIs.
At the end of the day, whether a woman chooses to or not to take birth control, she has the right to feel confident about her decision as long as it benefits her own physical and mental well-being.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to inform and encourage conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health. This article was written for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.