Are you a woman who is constantly crossing time zones? Always on the move?
How do you make sure that your birth control is still effective as you do your thing around the world? We walk you through some suggestions for birth control that is suited to women who can’t sit still – and some tips for making sure that your birth control still does its job, whether you are on top of Mt Kilimanjaro or deep sea diving.
Tip 1: Birth control you don’t have to think about every day
The easiest methods for many women on the move are the ‘Long-acting reversible contraceptives’ (or LARCs, as they’re called). Don’t be put off by the clunky name. These are methods, such as the IUD, Implant or the Contraceptive Injection. They work by slowly releasing the hormones over a longer period (the injection for example, you need to have more or less every 12 weeks, and some IUDs can be kept for up to 10 years.
Tip 2: Condoms
We always recommend condoms anyway – and particularly if you’re on the move. When you travel you’re more exposed to new bugs and infections, and if you’re meeting new partners, condoms are the only way to protect against this!
Also remember that some countries make it very difficult to get emergency contraception (the morning after pill), so you really want to take all possible precautions while you’re overseas.
Tip 3: Your current contraceptive pill
If you’re on the pill, and happy with your current method of birth control (don’t forget to share your experience right here too, to help other women make better birth control decisions), then it might not be wise to change method just because you’re going travelling. The brand you’re using might not be available where you’re going (you should check this by asking your doctor), but you can often get enough pills in advance from your doctor, or the same pill under a different brand name overseas.
A few other things to think about:
- A lot of pills need to be taken every 24 hours, which is tricky to keep track of as you cross time zones. Make sure you know the time you should take your pill in your new time zone. There are quite a few handy contraceptive pill time zone calculators online that can help. We like this one here..
- Make sure your pills don’t get too hot (avoid keeping them on your car dashboard as you drive through the desert, for example). Overheating the pills can make the hormones in the pills less effective, so try to keep your pills at room temperature. Want to know more about how pills work? Read about it here.
- Have a back up plan. We recommend you keep your pills in your hand luggage so they are at less risk of ending up in lost baggage, but anything can happen out there! Condoms are always a good back up plan.
- Remember that if you have to throw up or have diarrhoea while you’re travelling, you may not be protected by your pill. You should check with a local doctor and use back up protection if in doubt.
Have you found a method of birth control that works for you while you’re travelling? Share your experience to help other women make better birth control decisions.
Happy travels, ladies!