VA Healthcare Benefits For Women Veterans: Birth Control
The Department of Veterans Affairs provides healthcare options to women veterans enrolled or who want to enroll in the VA healthcare system.
These options include birth control services for women and support for reproductive health. There are several important things to know about VA birth control services for women veterans, as we explore below.
VA Reproductive Resources For Women Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs official site has a section dedicated to the healthcare needs of women veterans in general, not just focused on reproductive health. But there is an emphasis on that level of care in addition to general health exams and screenings.
The VA official site page titled Woman Veterans Healthcare contains a variety of resources for healthcare topics, including:
- General health care and screenings
- Women-specific care for reproductive health
- Birth control and menopause support
- Management of long-term healthcare issues
- Pain management
- Care related to musculoskeletal injuries
- Mental health services
- Treatment for military sexual trauma and related issues
VA Birth Control Options You Should Know About
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers the same types of birth control options you will find with civilian providers or private sector options. The VA official site reminds us, “While there is no one ‘best’ method of birth control, there is a best choice for you.” (Emphasis ours.)
What follows are VA-supported birth control options that include, but are not limited to:
- Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives, also known as LARCs: This option provides what the VA describes as, “effective contraception for an extended period without requiring you to do anything once inserted.” This option includes “contraceptive implants and intrauterine devices (IUDs).”
- Hormonal birth control: This option involves taking a hormone such as progestin or estrogen.
- Barrier-type birth control: This option uses a physical barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. VA literature includes condoms, sponges, cervical caps, and spermicides under this category.
- Sterilization procedures: The VA describes this as a “permanent” form of birth control. Procedures may include tubal ligation, removal of both fallopian tubes, or a vasectomy. Same-day emergency contraception: VA literature refers to this option as, “birth control that can be used to prevent pregnancy shortly after sex and may include a copper IUD or pills.”
There are important issues to think about when deciding upon a particular option. How convenient is it to use, how effective is that option for preventing pregnancy, and are there any side effects?
Some birth control options may have unexpected benefits or cause changes in monthly cycles. If you aren’t sure about a particular option, discuss your questions with a care provider. Some options may be better depending on your needs, overall health, and other variables.
You Don’t Have To Decide Alone
Reproductive health, contraception, and related issues can be intimidating at first. You can discuss your needs and concerns with a VA primary care provider, general practitioner, or reproductive health specialist.
The VA official site reminds, “VA primary care providers are equipped to talk with you about the different birth control options available while also considering your health conditions, lifestyle preferences and future family goals.”
Getting Birth Control from the VA
Those enrolled in the VA healthcare system can get contraception care, prescriptions, counseling services, and more information. The VA acknowledges that birth control, reproductive care, and healthcare are not one-size-fits-all situations; help and information is available by calling the Women Veterans Call Center at 1-855-VA-WOMEN.
Call or visit the official site if you need help enrolling in VA healthcare, getting a medical appointment in your local area, or if you need answers about VA healthcare system eligibility.
About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.