3 Birth Control Options to Explore for Long-Term Travel

3 Birth Control Options to Explore for Long-Term Travel

Are you setting out on a long-term travel adventure with your partner? Long-term travel, to be honest, is an exhilarating experience. You get to see the world from a different perspective and meet people from all walks of life. 

Amidst all the excitement and preparation for your trip, it’s easy to forget about contraceptives. Whether you’re taking an extended sabbatical or backpacking across continents, you must have a reliable plan for birth control if preventing pregnancy is your priority. 

Fortunately, there are several contraceptives that you can consider to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy on extended journeys. We’ll discuss some common ones here: 

#1 The Pill

If you’re looking for an easy-peasy birth control option, go for birth control pills. The pill, or birth control pill, is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, but only if you use it correctly. For it to be effective, you must take it at the same time every day. 

Birth control pills are of two types— combination pills and progestin-only pills. Combination pills contain both the progestin and estrogen hormones that thicken the cervical mucus and prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. 

Combination pills are considered safe for most parts; however, avoid going for them if you are sensitive to estrogen. In that case, progestin-only pills—sometimes referred to as minipills—will be the best bet. These pills do not contain estrogen but only progestin.  These thicken the cervical mucus, which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. Your chances of conceiving are reduced to a great extent. 

Some brands also offer extended-cycle pills. These pills reduce the number of periods from 13 to only 4 a year. You can opt for them if you want. Whatever you choose, make sure you stock enough of them. This way, you won’t miss any dose until you return. Moreover, if you’re traveling to a different time zone, ask your healthcare provider the right time to take the pill. 

#2 Intrauterine Device

Searching for a set-it-and-forget-it contraceptive? Intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are your best bet. IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that healthcare providers insert into women’s uterus. Once inserted, these delay pregnancy for up to ten years. 

IUDs are convenient birth control options for travelers because they provide long-term protection against pregnancy. The best part? This method is reversible. You can get them removed whenever you decide to start a family. 

You’ll find IUDs in two types—hormonal and non-hormonal. Opt for hormonal IUDs. Four hormonal IUDs—Skyla, Mirena, Liletta, and Kyleena—prevent pregnancy by releasing progestin. These also make periods light. 

The only hormone-free IUD you’ll find in the U.S. is Paragard. This non-hormonal IUD releases copper into the uterus, preventing the sperm from fertilizing an egg. Copper IUDs are excellent if you’re traveling to high altitudes. These IUDs don’t carry the risk of blood clots, unlike hormonal methods. 

Still, we advise you against it. Hundreds of women have filed lawsuits against the manufacturer of Paragard. 

Women who got Paragard inserted reported that Paragard’s birth control device is prone to breakage or fracturing, resulting in serious injuries. Some potential injuries from a broken Paragard IUD, TorHoerman Law reveals, are internal bleeding, organ damage, pelvic inflammatory disease, and perforation of the uterus lining and the cervix. 

As of May 2024, more than 2,000 women have filed the Paragard lawsuit. Women are suing Teva Pharmaceuticals to recover damages for injuries sustained due to the breakage or the fracturing of the device, including medical expenses, pain, and suffering. 

All in all, go for hormonal IUDs to be on the safe side. 

#3 The Shot

If you’re looking for an affordable birth control option, Depo-Provera shot will fit the bill. Depo-Provera, or the birth control shot, costs up to $150 each, but you can get it for free if your insurance plan includes it. 

This contraceptive injection contains medroxyprogesterone, a man-made hormone similar to the natural hormone progesterone. You will have to take this shot in your buttock or arm. Once taken, it will protect you from unwanted pregnancy for up to 12 weeks. 

Depo-Provera shot is also an excellent option if you are traveling to remote areas where access to regular healthcare services, including contraception, may be limited. The efficacy of the shot, however, lasts for only three months. That means you will have to retake it if you don’t plan to become pregnant. 

To wrap things up, long-term travel is adventurous. Your fear of getting pregnant should not ruin your plans. Having a reliable contraceptive is, thus, essential. It will give you peace of mind and guarantee uninterrupted adventures. 

Birth control options—the pill, IUDs, and the shot—discussed here aren’t the only ones you can rely on for your long-term travel. Other options worth exploring are implants, contraceptive patches, and contraceptive rings. All these are suitable for travelers, but we advise you to consider your travel plans and preferences before choosing any. You will make an informed decision. 


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