Here is a note that most definitely goes into the realm of "Too Much Information". However, it is also in many ways not enough information, especially if you are a young woman or young married couple considering your options for children. As many of you who know Chris and me can guess, we are not in what is considered the "ideal" time for having children. We both work, go to school, and don't remember what it is like to have "free time". So, we have been using birth control for our method of not having children.
This did not bother me because when I started using it, I checked out the website and saw that the particular birth control I was using works by preventing ovulation. The manufacturer's website says this: "Higher estrogen and progestin levels signal your brain not to release the hormones that cause egg maturation. Without an egg ready to be released into the fallopian tube, ovulation cannot occur." I thought to myself, Great! That means I don't have to worry about an early abortion or anything, so this seems like a safe method.
What they don't tell you on those websites is the exact purpose behind the hormones. Higher levels of estrogen do, in fact, stop ovulation (usually). But, there are times when a woman still can ovulate, and that is where progestin comes in. Progestin actually prevents the implantation of an embryo in the uterus by making the lining thin and inhospitable to the infant, leading to the death of new life. As you can imagine, I was shocked when I found out about this, and proceeded to thoroughly research what exactly I was doing to my body. I saw one article that read "It is estimated that a sexually active woman will experience at least one very early abortion every year that she is on the Pill" (http://onemoresoul.com/contraception/risks-consequences/what-a-woman-should-know-about-birth-control.html). Besides acting as an abortifacient, taking the pill can also lead to other health risks, such as a SIGNIFICANTLY increased risk for breast cancer, among many other things.
And that is just the Pill/Nuvaring/the Patch. There are also similar (or worse) effects from the shot, or a IUD.
Before you start thinking "Oh, great. I am doomed to have a honeymoon baby, and I don't think we're ready for a child yet...", there are other options. Healthy, safe options that do not cause undue harm to your body, a future child, or your marriage. There is Natural Family Planning (NFP). Natural family planning teaches a woman how to read her body and uses a model that is scientifically proven, if used correctly, to prevent pregnancy at a rate of .3% to 3%...about as effective (or even more effective) than the Pill, the condom, and other birth control methods.
How do you learn about family planning? The method used is called the "Creighton Model" (http://www.creightonmodel.com/) and there are teachers of the course all over. It is typically covered by insurance, but if not, the website in our area said that they offer scholarships. It is worth asking. To find a center close to you, visit http://www.fertilitycare.org/.