Reading up online helps, but don’t just Google it!
Doing your own research online or talking to your friends about different methods and experiences of using contraception can be helpful before you decide to visit your doctor. However, it’s important that you access information through a trusted and reliable source (thinking of contraception, think Love Matters!). Doing this background research will not only help you to not feel overwhelmed when you talk to your doctor, but will also help you to know what questions or concerns you have about using contraception.
Make that list of questions!
As and when you read up information online, do make sure you make a note of any questions or concerns you might have regarding using contraception or pertaining to any particular method of contraception. Some common questions can touch upon aspects of safety, side effects, benefits of using contraceptives, as well as the limitations of using contraception, including the failure rate associated with each method.
And don’t forget to ask about the basket of choices – i.e. all the different methods of contraception out there to know what works best for you!
Find a doctor you can trust!
Talking about about sex and intimacy with a stranger can be overwhelming and awkward, and that is why you need a doctor who not only listens to your concerns with patience, but also welcomes questions, enables a stigma-free and safe space, and respects your privacy. You can get references from friends or colleagues, look up trusted sources (like Love Matters), and attend a few appointments to see if you are comfortable continuing with a particular doctor.
And, listen to your instincts!
Sharing sexual history with your doctor helps you make an informed choice!
Only sharing medical history in the context of deciding to use contraception influences your ability to make the best choice for yourself. Therefore, sharing your sexual history is incredibly important. This, of course, should be done in a non-stigmatizing and non-judgmental manner by your doctor. Sexual history taking commonly includes questions related to sexual behaviors, history of any STIs, number of sexual partners, and information on past pregnancies and/or intentions for future pregnancy.
Plus, remember to tell your doctor if/when you feel unsure or uncomfortable about any questions.
Honesty is the best policy!
Be as honest and open with your doctor about your worries or challenges pertaining to using contraception. By doing so, you are helping your doctor to recommend a contraceptive method that best fits your needs and lifetsyle. The more open and upfront you are with your doctor, the more they can help ensure that using contraception can be a safe and hassle-free experience for you.
Yes, schedule that follow-up!
It is always a good idea to schedule a follow-up with your doctor if you have just started using a contraceptive or event if you have been using one for a while. This can help you to ensure you share how your experience has been with a particular contraceptive method, and for your doctor to determine if everything is okay or whether something needs to change. A regular check-in always helps!