The pill – we’ve all heard of it at some point in our lives. Whether from a doctor, a friend or a family member, it seems to be ingrained in the vocabulary of the twenty-first century woman. Along with female sterilization, it has been the most commonly used form of birth control in the US since 1982 (Guttamacher Institute).
So what does it do? The pill serves the purpose of preventing pregnancy. It releases a combination of man-made estrogen and progestin (a man-made form of progesterone), that prevents ovulation and so thwarts the meeting of the egg and the sperm. While this explanation seems short and simple, there are actually a lot more things going on in the female cycle when the pill is used. Below is a more in depth explanation of how exactly the pill prevents pregnancy and more importantly how it tampers with a woman’s cycle.
Let’s get started…
1.) The pill thickens a woman’s cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the cervix
Cervical mucus with high water content is super important for fertility. Why? It’s important because the more liquid like the mucus is the more capable it is of 1.) keeping sperm alive in a woman’s body and 2.) aiding the travel of the sperm to the egg in the fallopian tube.
The creators of the pill understand this and have made it so that the pill dampens the cervix’s ability to produce fertile quality mucus. The pill makes cervical mucus thick and turns it into a barrier. The now thick mucus doesn’t allow sperm to enter into the cervix and more importantly the unfertilized egg.
This is why the pill doubles the aging rate of the cervix. It damages the crypts (holes on the sides of the cervix where the mucus comes from) to the point that it becomes difficult for a woman to recapture the fertile mucus production she experienced before going on the pill.
2.) Prevents ovulation by tricking the pituitary gland into not releasing FSH
A woman on the pill tricks her body. The elevated levels of synthetic estrogen and progestin halt the release of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH, which is released by the brain, begins the menstrual cycle.
It is from the brain that the immature follicle receives the message to begin growing in the ovary. Without the release of FSH, the processes that precede ovulation never happen. And because ovulation is reliant on this process occurring, the end result is a cycle where ovulation does not happen.
It is important to note that there are times when a woman manages to ovulate when on the pill. This is explained by the body’s ability to fight for balance. Because the body recognizes that ovulation is a sign of health and regularity, it does it’s best to resist outside forces (in this case the pill) that threaten the body’s stability.
3.) Prevents the thickening of the uterine lining
As stated above, sometimes pregnancy can happen when on the pill. When the pill has been unsuccessful in preventing ovulation, it kicks into “third gear”. When in “third gear” the pill seeks to stop the pregnancy by thinning the uterine lining.
In order for a child to grow safely within their mother’s womb, they need a strong home. This strong home is a thick uterine lining. Because the pill creates a weak or “thin” lining, a child that attempts to implant there is unable to attach properly.
What results after failing to properly attach to the uterine wall is an early abortion – the reason why the pill is labeled as an “abortifacient drug”. This loss of life happens so early in the pregnancy that many women are not aware they were ever pregnant.
While these facts can be hard to digest, it is imperative that we inform ourselves on the ways that contraceptives work in our bodies. When we are aware of their mechanisms of action, we are better prepared to speak about why it is truly bad medicine.
We pray that this breakdown of the pill was helpful and informative.
If you’d like to learn more about the dangers of contraception we encourage you to sign up for our free summer study on Humanae Vitae. For more info click here.
Have a blessed day!