U.S. Women Stocking Up On Birth Control: What You Should Know

U.S. women have been stocking up on birth control before Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday, Jan. 20. Many have feared they will lose access to free birth control and to the Affordable Care Act, which Trump plans to repeal.

Many women have been taking their reproductive health into their own hands ever since Trump's victory was announced back in November. Most have been stocking up on the morning-after pill, according to a report via the Huffington Post. Women have been taking to social media about stocking up on the pills after the GOP announced its plans to defund Planned Parenthood, do away with free birth control, and dismantle the Affordable Care Act last week.

women stocking up on plan b
U.S. women have been getting their hands on Plan B One-Step. [Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]

Plan B One-Step has a shelf life of four years. This emergency contraceptive is used within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The sooner you take, the soon that Plan B One-Step will work. It became available as an over-the-counter pill in 2006, followed by other reproductive healthcare victories such as the Affordable Care Act in 2010, which required insurance companies to cover contraception.

Brooklyn-based writer Rachel Berkey told the Huffington Post that she stocked up on Plan B last week for herself, and many other women who are not able to purchase it on their own.

"With my financial security, I felt a responsibility to be prepared for myself. And to have something on hand should someone with fewer resources need it. Trump seems set on defunding and gutting programs that respects a woman's right to choose and that look after vulnerable communities and their health care. It's irresponsible and dangerous, and this was a step I could personally take to be prepared."
Women have been stocking up on morning-after pills not because they don't use other forms of contraception, but because if anything happens, they might not have other options, Berkey told the outlet.

"I use protection and am careful in my choice of partner," she said. "But you never know what is going to happen."

The number of IUD implantations has also been on the rise since the election before the ACA makes them potentially unaffordable and unavailable. The upfront cost for one can rise above $1,000, a cost that's out of reach for most American women.

A nurse from Colorado told her female followers on Twitter, "Get your IUD." Planned Parenthood has seen a 900 percent increase in patients seeking IUDs. Women have been taking to all forms of social media to share their birth control and IUD plans to help inform others.

An IUD is a tiny, T-shaped implantation device that's inserted into the uterus and can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years. However, serious side effects from the first models caused a stigma associated with them, and IUDs were never originally popular. It's only been in the past five years that long-term contraceptives have grown in popularity among U.S. women between the ages of 25 to 34, reports Quartz.

stock pile of birth control
Women are weighing their birth control options before Trump's presidency. [Image by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]

The ACA still exists – for now – and has made IUDs free, or somewhat free, for most women. Dr. Martha Simmons, a family physician at a community health center in East Harlem, told Cosmopolitan what she plans to do to help women who are afraid of losing access to affordable birth control.

"Patients will bring up that they're worried about insurance covering removing [their IUD]," Simmons said. "So the other thing that we're doing is — for patients who are worried that they won't have coverage to get their IUDs removed — we're leaving the strings long enough so that the patients could self-remove the IUD if they wanted."

Deciding whether you want to get the pill, a contraceptive implant, an IUD, or sterilization is up to you. No matter what you choose, you should know about the risks associated with birth control. According to SheKnows, studies have shown that women who take oral contraceptives may have a harder time falling asleep and staying asleep compared to men. According to a study via SRI International's Sleep Research Laboratory, women's REM and body temperature also fluctuate during this time.

Meanwhile, another new study has revealed a link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. A recent study that was published in the JAMA Psychiatry has noticed a potential link between birth control and depression. The purpose of the study was to discover the risk of first-time antidepressant use in women who used various types of birth control, including oral contraceptives.

As always, women should speak with a qualified physician when it comes to weighing their available birth control options and any risks involved.

[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]