Forty-fiction is a milestone event, a treasured threshold leading to your most glorious, golden years. There’s a lot that you probably envision for this phase, and finding out there’s a baby brewing in your belly when you’re mentally prepared to switch to Grandma Gear can be a lot to handle. Too much even. Not many women realise the importance of birth control after 40. A recent study concluded that 80% of women aged between 40 and 43 can still conceive. It’s true that fertility declines as you age, but the truth is, your ability to conceive a child remains intact until you reach menopause, the day you’ve gone a complete year without a period.
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Birth control ought to be a priority for you, especially if you feel like your family is complete. Your options are many, and your contraception of choice pivots on a range of factors.
Here are some birth control options you should consider at 40.
If you aren’t done having children by the time you’re 40 but want to wait a little while longer, consider reversible contraception. One thing to remember though is that while you may be capable of conceiving right now, your fertility potential will decline in the coming years, so think hard about what it is that you want for your family. Think about freezing your eggs or embryos through vitrification. Meanwhile, pick a contraceptive method that works for you.
Birth control pills are safe, convenient and easy to use. They are useful for women with normal blood pressure, who don’t smoke and don’t suffer from cardiovascular problems. Birth control pills can be used right up to menopause.
If you are one for physical contraception, an oestrogen-based ring is a good option. It can be placed inside the vagina to work like a vaginal diaphragm. Alternatively, a hormone-dusted skin patch is also a worthwhile choice.
Progesterone implants come in a variety of forms, from rods to coils to devices. Some last for months while others last for years. It’s important to get your doctor’s word when it comes to semi-permanent hormone insertions, because such interventions may impact your existing hormonal composition.
To Know More: About The Side Effects of Birth Control Pills
Although these are not as precise as hormonal birth control options, they do present the benefit of not affecting your hormonal balance. Non-hormonal insertions include copper intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD), spermicides, cervical caps, condoms and diaphragms. As you get older and the shape of your vagina changes, you may find it increasingly uncomfortable to use barrier methods of birth control. If that’s you, consider implantations, pills, patches or rings.
If you’re done having children, or if children do not feature in your life plan, you may want to consider a permanent method of birth control. This way, you don’t have to worry about stocking up on contraception and can expect a regular visit from Aunt Flo every month. There are two primary methods of female sterilisation: tubal ligation and fallopian tube occlusion. Here’s a glimpse into each one.
Tubal ligation is a surgical technique in which a surgeon creates an incision in the abdomen, slides a laparoscope inside to survey the pelvic area and uterine cavity, and then gently clips the fallopian tubes shut. The procedure is typically performed under general anaesthesia. Tubal ligation usually entails a recovery window of two weeks.
A fallopian tube occlusion procedure involves the use of a hysteroscope, which carries a diminutive device through the cervix, vagina and uterus into the fallopian tube. There, over a period of about three months, it triggers the formation of a layer of tissue which serves to block sperm from reaching potential eggs. An occlusion procedure is monitored over a three-month window to ensure the successful spread of tissue. The procedure is generally administered under local anaesthesia and recovery is usually possible within 24 hours.
Contraception pills[/caption]Whatever you choose, it’s important that you discuss your birth control options with your gynaecologist; you may be recommended a specific contraceptive route based on your medical profile. With a careful contraception plan, you can save your golden years for exactly the things you imagined.