Which Contraception Is Right For Me As A Christian?

The questionnaire which follows may help you to choose exactly which options you feel happy with.

What if you have been using, or have used in the past, a method of birth control that you now see may have grieved God, or been wrong in his sight? It is very important not to blame yourself for things you didn’t know. If you were acting in good faith, and responsibly, on the information you had, God will honour you for that, and you must not be overcome by guilt feelings. By all means ask God for his forgiveness if you feel that you have wronged him in this way, and accept his forgiveness freely with open arms, just as he accepts you. Then re-examine your options in the light of the new information you have access to, and make your choice together — husband, wife and God.

Questionnaire

This section is designed to help point you towards the contraceptive alternatives that might be best for you as a couple at this stage of your marriage. It is not intended to make the choice for you; this must be done together and with God. If you answer yes to any question, the comments underneath will be relevant to your choice of contraceptive.

Questions for husband and wife

Are you relaxed with each other sexually?

You will probably be happy to cope with a cap, sheath, spermicide or sponge. If you are not relaxed in this way, avoid methods that need to be used at the time of sex.

Is it very important to you not to get pregnant just now? You will need to use a very reliable contraceptive such as the pill, or a less reliable method (such as a cap or sheath) very conscientiously. Do not use a spermicide alone, sponges, breastfeeding, withdrawal or rhythm methods. Is it very important to you never to become pregnant again? Sterilization is the most effective option in this case, either female sterilization or vasectomy.

Are you newly married?

You may find it preferable to use a safe, unembarrassing method such as the combined pill while you get to know one another.

Are you happy with hormonal contraceptives?

Possibilities include the combined pill, the mini-pill, injectables and implants. If you are not keen on hormonal methods, caps, sheaths, sponges, spermicides and rhythm methods will suit you better.

Are you just trying to delay pregnancy rather than prevent it altogether? You may be happy with a less reliable method such as barrier methods, rhythm methods or even breastfeeding.

Would you like a long-term contraceptive?

The longest-acting reversible methods are injectables, implants and IUDS.

Do you want to avoid methods that interfere with implantation rather than preventing conception? Do not use an IUD, and think carefully before using the mini-pill, implants or injectables.

Do you prefer not to limit sex to infertile times? Avoid the rhythm methods.

Would you like a method that requires no medical intervention? The possible choices are spermicides, sheaths, rhythm methods, withdrawal, breastfeeding and sponges.

Is either of you allergic to rubber?

You will need to avoid some brands of sheath and cap.

Is either of you allergic to spermicide?

Barrier methods will not be suitable, unless you can find a brand of spermicide to which you are not sensitive.

Questions for husband

Are you willing to take the main responsibility for contraception? Sheaths and vasectomy are the major forms of male contraceptive.

Do you suffer from premature ejaculation?

The sheath may help overcome this problem, as it reduces sensitivity. If you do suffer from premature ejaculation, don’t use the withdrawal method or spermicide alone.

Do you have any of the following conditions: cardiovascular disease, bleeding disorders, scrotal infection?

It is probably advisable to avoid vasectomy.

Are you considerably older than your wife, or in poor health? If you as a couple are considering sterilization, vasectomy might be preferable to female sterilization.

Do you suffer from any of the following: undescended testis (or history of), variocele, hydrocele, scrotal hernia?

These conditions may complicate any vasectomy operation.

Questions for wife

Are you in your thirties or forties?

The pill is less safe for you than for younger women. As your fertility is lower, barrier methods are more reliable than for younger women. If you have completed your family, sterilization might be a good option.

Are you happy to take the main responsibility for contraception? If so, the options are the combined pill, the mini-pill, implants, injectables, IUDS, rhythm methods, caps, sponges, spermicides and female sterilization.

Do you have any condition which does, or could, require frequent surgery or bed-rest? Avoid the combined pill.

Are you scared of pregnancy?

You will need a very reliable contraceptive method, such as the combined pill, to set your mind at rest.

Are you overweight or a heavy smoker? You should probably avoid the pill.

Do you have little natural lubrication during sex?

A method which involves using spermicide (any of the barrier methods) can provide extra lubrication.

Do you suffer from a prolapse, unusually-positioned uterus, rectocele, cystocele, or poor muscle tone in the vagina?

You will probably not be suited to a diaphragm or sponge.

Do you have any erosion or abnormality of the cervix? You will not be able to use a cervical cap.

Do you suffer from cystitis?

This may possibly be aggravated by the diaphragm or by the combined pill.

Do you feel uncomfortable about touching your genitals? You will not find caps, sponges or spermicides easy to use.

Do you suffer from bad pre-menstrual tension?

The combined pill would virtually eradicate this condition.

Are you forgetful?

If so, it is best not to use a contraceptive pill at all, and definitely not the mini-pill or phased pills. If you are determined to use a pill, the 28-day pill is best.

Do you suffer from epilepsy or TB?

Some of the drugs used to treat these conditions may interfere with the combined pill.

Do you regularly take large doses of vitamin C? Avoid the combined pill.

Do you take any medication for diabetes, anxiety, depression, high blood pressure or migraine? Some (but not all) of these may be affected by the contraceptive pill.

Are you breastfeeding?

Avoid the combined pill, as this suppresses lactation. The minipill, IUD, injectables, rhythm methods and barrier methods do not affect lactation.

Do you wear contact lenses?

This might be affected by using the combined pill, as the fluid over the cornea is altered.

Have you ever suffered from ovarian cysts, endometriosis, or nonmalignant breast disease? The combined pill may help protect against further incidents of these conditions.

Do you have, or have you ever had, breast cancer? Only use hormonal contraceptives if your specialist approves.

Do you have an irregular menstrual cycle?

If so, the rhythm methods are not recommended. If your irregular periods are a problem, they can be regulated by using the combined pill, but this may be preferable only after you have completed your family.

Do you have, or have a history of, any of these conditions: thrombosis, stroke, coronary artery disease, breast cancer, hepatic disease, cancer of the reproductive system?

You must not. Use the combined pill, or (probably) the mini-pill.

Do you suffer from any of the following: very severe migraine, sickle-cell anaemia, angina, pituitary gland disorder, ‘recent molar pregnancy, undiagnosed uterine bleeding?

You must not use the combined pill, or (probably) the mini-pill.

Do you have any of the following conditions: diabetes, family history of cardiovascular disease, severe fluid retention, severe headaches, scanty periods, gallbladder disease, Gilbert’s disease, severe asthma or epilepsy, severe varicose veins, high blood pressure?

The combined pill may not be a good choice for you. For those with headaches and high blood pressure, the mini-pill is safer than the combined pill.

Are you underweight?

If so, you are more likely to experience nausea if using the combined pill, and stand a higher chance of becoming pregnant accidentally if you use NET-EN injectable.

Do you suffer from any abnormal uterine bleeding, or have a history of ectopic pregnancy? Do not use the mini-pill or IUD.

Have you ever had pelvic inflammatory disease?

Do not use an IUD. The combined pill may help protect against a further attack.

Do you suffer from anaemia, heavy periods, large numbers of fibroids, small or abnormal uterus, severe cervicitis, painful periods? Do not use an IUD. Heavy and painful periods can be eased greatly by the combined pill, but this pill may accelerate the degeneration of fibroids.

Do you suffer from cardiorespiratory problems, extreme obesity, a history of lower abdominal surgery, pelvic inflammation, or severe endometriosis?

Female sterilization is not recommended.