Why You Shouldn't Panic Over Birth Control Right Now, According To Experts

With Donald Trump as the president-elect, many women are wondering what that means for them and their birth control. Should they rush out and get an IUD (some of which can last up to 12 years) or an implant (which can last three years)? In speaking to several OB/GYNs, the consensus was clear: Women should not panic over birth controlNot yet, anyway.

“The first thing I would tell my patients is not to panic,” Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert, tells Bustle. “I am hopeful that president-elect Trump allows women to voice and practice their constitutional and reproductive rights. The women’s movement is stronger and more powerful than ever. Women need to speak out and educate others. I know we will band together as we always have done historically and fight for what’s right for our reproductive rights.” 

Yes, Trump has talked about repealing the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. As you probably know, under the act, women with health insurance are able to get birth control for free. That’s millions of women and many millions of dollarsIn addition, Trump has mentioned defunding Planned Parenthood, which is also a huge deal, of course.

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However, there is still time before Trump is sworn in on January 20. Even when he is, it’s not as though birth control access as we now know it will change immediately. “Things will not change overnight, and there will be health care professionals to help and take care of women irrespective of the changes with the Affordable Care Act or if Planned Parenthood is defunded,” Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine and co-author of The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion, tells Bustle. “Birth control has always been around since the beginning of time, and I feel strongly that any political party, Democrat, Republican, or Independent, will continue to provide safe effective contraceptive choices for women.”

What are other key reasons not to panic over birth control in a soon-to-be Trump presidency? Here are some, straight from experts. 

1. Act Instead Of Panic

“Once everyone gets over the initial shock of the election results, in general, I encourage women to act instead of panic. If you have been putting off that preventative care visit — including starting a contraceptive method — this would be a great time to stop procrastinating. The most important part of choosing a contraceptive method is choosing a method that is right for you, after counseling by a healthcare provider who is knowledgeable and puts the patient at the center of the discussion. This is not the time to rush to get a method that may not be right for you. But if you are interested in a particular method — there is no time like the present!” — Kelly Culwell, MD, MPH, and Chief Medical Officer at WomanCare Global

“Women should not panic, but they need to be proactive. Keep on top of their health policies, find out what is covered and not covered by any changes in their health plan, and plan their contraception accordingly. We should advocate for improved access to contraception — both by discussing this among ourselves and letting our government officials know our concerns.” — Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and writer of LadyParts Blog

“I do not believe that women should panic at this time, as there are too many unknowns. I want women to be reassured that there are thousands of OB/GYN physicians across the country who have chosen to dedicate their lives to women’s health. We will continue to provide safe care to all of our patients and lobby for women’s reproductive rights. Instead of panicking, get involved!” — Beth Davis, MD, OB/GYN, Baylor Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston

“My calm advice to women: Change what you can — go see your health care professional and gynecologist and get educated about wellness, prevention, and a healthy lifestyle. Implement a health life plan with diet, exercise, and stress reduction. Then, accept what you cannot — a small dose of acceptance goes a long way. Changes are around the corner with healthcare, and living with uncertainty is often uncomfortable. Finally, be smart enough to know the difference — stay educated and informed about choices and options as the landscape of healthcare and America changes.” — Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine and co-author of The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion

2. Look Into IUDs And Implants As Birth Control Method Options

Women need to find a reliable birth control that fits their lifestyle. They need to be counseled and educated about the risks and benefits of every form of contraception. If a woman is in danger of losing her health coverage, a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is probably a good option financially. This includes IUDs and the implant.” — Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and writer of LadyParts Blog

“Long-acting reversible contraception is a great option for women regardless of their politics. It does seem possible that IUDs will become more expensive though. However, most IUD companies have payment plans if needed. IUDs have a high upfront cost, but they end up being the cheaper option long-term because they last so long.” — Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, OB/GYN at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, CA

“While no one can predict what future ramifications will occur revolving around women’s health and contraceptive options, I think it might be prudent for women who are interested in LARCS/permanent sterilization to schedule an appointment with their providers and discuss options available at their earliest convenience. Recently, I have had a flurry of patients asking questions about LARCs (that can be safely used post-delivery of their current pregnancy). These devices include the hormonal contraceptive implants (effective for approximately 3 years), the hormonal Mirena IUD (effective for approximately five years), and the copper ParaGard IUD (effective for approximately 10-12 years). These devices prevent pregnancy and are deemed to be more efficacious than oral contraceptives, patches, or vaginal rings.” — Kecia Gaither, MD, a double board-certified physician in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine

3. But IUDs Aren't Your Only Birth Control Option

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“I have been getting a number of panicked calls from my patients who want IUDs immediately. [But] I think it will take time for Trump to change policies, so there is no need to rush into your gyn office. However, I am still going to recommend the best option for contraception, and that may or may not be the IUD.” — Sarah Yamaguchi, MD, OB/GYN at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, CA

“Some women find the idea of a procedure to insert a method unacceptable, preferring methods that are shorter-term or within their control. Others prefer to avoid hormonal contraception option (like pills, patches and rings) because of health concerns or side effects.” — Kelly Culwell, MD, MPH, and Chief Medical Officer at WomanCare Global

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“BOTH women and men do make America great, because whether you care about job creation, education, immigration, environment, or healthcare, this country is better when women choose whatever birth control options are best for them so they determine when and if they have children.” — Saundra Pelletier, CEO of WomanCare Global and Evofem 

“We don’t know what will happen to Obamacare. Don’t panic, ladies! Be prepared. Visit your OB/GYN or primary care physician this month to get your contraceptives. I would recommend women who are interested in birth control get the ParaGard IUD. It lasts for 10 years, there’s no hormones, and it’s reversible. The Mirena IUD is also a great option. It lasts for five years. Plus, there are also 15 different forms of birth control, from condoms and The Pill to fertility awareness methods and sterilization.” — Dr. Draion M. Burch, OB/GYN and Astroglide TTC Sexual Health Advisor

“Each birth control method has its advantages and disadvantages. The choice of a contraceptive option is a very personal one and I believe that birth control needs to be tailored to the individual patient based on their medical history, as well as personal preferences after a discussion with their OB/GYN. The ‘best’ birth control is the kind that a patient will use properly and consistently! While some methods are definitely more effective than others, patients tend to come in with their own notions on what they may or may not want to try. Most contraceptives can be used long-term; again, depending on patient’s personal health history.” — Beth Davis, MD, OB/GYN, Baylor Obstetrics and Gynecology at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women in Houston

4. Health Care Professionals Are On Your Side

“It remains to be determined what the changes in health care bring forth as we embark on a new presidency, but I feel that American women can always count on caring health care professionals to continue to advocate for them, and a women’s right to self-determination with contraceptive choice. Women will not be without choice or options.” —  Dr. Michael Krychman, Executive Director of the Southern California Center for Sexual Health and Survivorship Medicine and co-author of The Sexual Spark: 20 Essential Exercises to Reignite the Passion

“President-elect Trump stated in his acceptance speech, ‘I pledge to every citizen of our land, that I will be President for all Americans. Of those of who have chosen not to support me in the past... I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help, so that we can work together, and unify our great country. I am committed to working with the administration to assure that girls and women continue to have unfettered access to birth control and make the decision about when and if to have children, and to avoid the consequences of unintended pregnancy.” — Saundra PelletierCEO of WomanCare Global and Evofem 

5. Continue To Have Faith In Women’s Health And Birth Control Resources Like Planned Parenthood

“I am not a health policy expert by any means, but everything I’ve read says it will be at least a year before coverage is actually affected. So we're talking 2018 before we likely see any major changes. Reliable contraception and sex education are the main forces behind preventing unwanted pregnancy and could go great lengths to decreasing abortion rates. It does not seem to be a consistent ideology to want to decrease abortion (or make it illegal) and, at the time same, decrease access to contraception. We need to support women and provide increased access to both.” — Sara Twogood, MD, FACOG, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and writer of LadyParts Blog

“It’s clear Trump doesn’t stand arm-in-arm with women and their reproductive rights. Closing the door for easy and free birth control, along with threatening to repeal Roe v. Wade, is particularly concerning and disappointing for women. Luckily, Planned Parenthood has always been the consistent champion for women’s access to affordable reproductive health care. Planned Parenthood is 100 years strong, and I am confident he WILL lose this battle. As Cecile Richards says, ‘Planned Parenthood doors are always open!’” — Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and Women’s Health Expert 

All in all, “I do not think panic is ever the right response,” says Dr. Yamaguchi. “Women who are insured will likely still have coverage for contraception. I encourage women who are ‘panicking’ over birth control to think about how upset you are about contraception and what you see as your right and apply it to other issues. Don't panic about your lack of birth control, do something about it by calling your OB/GYN for an appointment.”

Images: Fotolia; Pexels (3); @TaylorAdkins2/Twitter (2); Ceridwen~commonswiki/Wikimedia (4); @Alisaurer/Twitter (5); @MaraWilson/Twitter (6); Getty Images (7); Andrew Zaeh/Bustle (8, 9)

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