As an article from Broadly talked about in excellent detail, the responsibility of birth control nearly always falls on the woman taking it. This comes as no surprise to most women who have been in relationships with men — from IUDs to Plan B to getting on the pill, the expenses of birth control are mostly shouldered alone.
At Neuman GYN, you can trust that our women’s health clinic and gynecologist, Dr. Carole Neuman, are here to provide the compassion and care you deserve, because we get it. We get how birth control, while an amazing form of technology that allows so much more freedom and choice for women, can have its moments of being a burden. The side effects, the costs, and the appointments all make it feel like you, as a woman, are expected to deal with everything on your own.
Instead of trying to grin and bear it, know that our gynecologist can help support you in so many ways with trying to find the best birth control. But in addition to working with our caring and empathetic team, we’ve compiled some ways that your partner can support you as well. When you have more than one person at your side, you’ll have the best possible experience with your method of birth control.
For anyone who’s with a woman on birth control, this one’s for you. Find out how you as a partner can be supportive of your significant other, and share in the responsibility.
Don’t wait to be asked for help.
If your girlfriend or wife has never asked you for help, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t need it. Women are socialized to think that pain is a part of many of their health experiences — period cramps, side effects from birth control, and even losing virginity are all considered (and expected) to be painful. When women are raised thinking that pain is a part of life, and that they need to just get through it on their own, it can be difficult to think that asking for help is even an option.
Asking questions and checking in is a great first step. Become familiar with your partner’s form of birth control, any symptoms that come from it, and start to recognize if these symptoms start to come up. Here’s a quick guide that, while not at all conclusive, could be referenced, and used as a talking point with your significant other:
- Hormonal birth control, such as the pill, the implant, Mirena (IUD), or a Depo-Provera shot, all use hormones to lower the risk of pregnancy. There are a wide variety of side effects that can come from hormonal birth control, some of the most common being mood swings, nausea, weight gain, headaches, and changes in periods/period symptoms.
- Non-hormonal birth control, such as a copper IUD (Paragard), condom, or diaphragm, use other methods to lower the risk of pregnancy. More often than not, side effects come from a copper IUD, due to its long-term placement in the body (copper IUDs are effective for at least 10 years). Side effects can include heavier periods, increased cramps, and back pain, to name a few.
Having a conversation with your partner is the first step to understanding how their birth control works, what (if any) side effects exist, and how this complicates their life. Approaching this topic with compassion, empathy, and a willingness and genuine nature to help can begin a dialogue, from which you can figure out ways to help.
Check in with your partner.
Similar to not assuming they don’t need help, it’s important for you to check in with your partner. Even just asking “how are you feeling?” can be a great segue to finding ways to make a difference in their overall life. If you know that they were experiencing some negative symptoms, such as cramping from the other day, find out if things have improved. By checking in with your significant other, you won’t simply be gaining better insight and understanding about her experience with birth control. You’ll be comforting her, and making yourself known as someone she can rely on.
In our next blog, we’ll continue with some other tips on helping support your partner and their birth control. When couples think of birth control as a “we” aspect, instead of a “she” one, everybody benefits. Communicating and sharing in the responsibility of preventing pregnancy closes the gaps between any resentment or inequity that can come up. The best partnerships are the ones in which people treat it as exactly that — a partnership. This means celebrating in the joys and working through the issues, together.
Until next time, remember to schedule gynecologist appointments with Dr. Carole Neuman in Jacksonville! You can expect another partnership to form when you visit our women’s health clinic, because Carole Neuman is always on your side. Book your appointment today.