If you have recently given birth and decided that now your family is complete. Or you recently had to go through the most difficult decision that you did not take lightly, that was to have an abortion? But you knew that you just could not cope with another child, emotionally and financially it just isn’t possible for you.
You may have struggled with hormonal contraceptives for years, never finding one that would suit you, numerous side effects with each and every one you tried – sadly this is the truth for many women – and now you have decided that sterilisation is the only way forward to prevent any further unplanned pregnancies.
The Paramount Importance of bridging the gap…
In the period of time directly after birth, termination or miscarriage your fertility is at its peak. Meaning you will only have to think about making love to your partner and you will likely be finding yourself pregnant again! It happens so quickly, so easily and many women do not realise this.
It takes time to organise and complete a sterilisation. Firstly a referral is required from your GP/family doctor, and then once you have received your first appointment, you will be assessed for suitability for the minor surgical procedure. Once you have been deemed healthy enough and suitable for the sterilisation you are entered onto the waiting list for a slot to have the procedure.
Once you or your partner have had the procedure there is a period of time required to confirm that the procedure has been successful – for men, samples of seminal fluid are required for testing to ensure there is no sperm content, and sometimes these samples need to be repeated. For women, it takes time for the complete blocking of the passage through the fallopian tubes to occur. This can be confirmed via a scan.
All in all, it can take 3-6 months to get to the end of a complete and successful sterilisation.
How can the gap be bridged?
Condoms are useful though only 82% effective, however they are better than no method at all.
Depending on what kind of reactions you have had to hormonal contraceptions in the past, it might be worth considering that the benefits outweigh the side effects just for the short term.
The contraceptive injection is a good option for a short term cover and an easy option too as each injection covers you for 3 months, meaning you should only need a maximum of 2 of these before you have confirmation of a successful sterilisation.
You do not need to wait for the effects of the injection to expire before the procedure can take place and so this is a great option in filling the gap well, knowing that you will be covered right up until sterilisation occurs.
Another option is the progestogen only pill, and I would recommend this over the combined contraceptive pill. If the combined pill is used it will need to be stopped for a period of time before a female sterilisation procedure can take place due to the small increased risk of blood clots. However, the progestogen only pill can be taken right upto completion as it does not carry this risk.
Remember though, that with contraceptive pills you need to remember to take this every day for it to work fully, and if you feel that you will not be great at remembering to take it every day the contraceptive injection, or condoms may be the better option for you.
Another option instead of sterilisation?
You could choose a non hormonal contraception that is over 99% effective and long lasting, instead of sterilisation.
The contraception I am talking about here is the IUD – known as the copper coil. This contains no hormone at all and works solely from the copper. The copper coil creates an environment that is too hostile for fertilisation to occur. Your natural cycle will continue as normal and the IUD can work successfully for you, for a maximum of 10 years.
Learn more about the copper IUD here
Remember the best option is the one that you feel most comfortable with, and so if you cannot manage injections or the insertion of the copper IUD, you shouldn’t feel disappointed with yourself. The important thing is that you understand the risks and do what you can to stay protected.