In the past 10 years, the rate of U.S. women using long-acting, reversible birth control devices such as IUDs has nearly doubled, as doctors and patients come to recognize them as one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control.
Now, a paper in the journal npj Microgravity suggests a new arena for IUDs and similar devices: space.
Although pregnancy in space — or during pre-flight training — would be problematic, that’s not really the issue at hand. While we don’t know for sure, it’s pretty unlikely that astronauts are having sex in space. Privacy is at a premium in shuttles and on the International Space Station, and physically, zero gravity can induce nausea, sweating, and reduced blood flow. None of which would be good for sexy space times, despite decades of kinky sci-fi scenes.
Instead, female astronauts often turn to birth control as a way to suppress their periods for convenience — which, by the way, is completely medically safe. In the past, many female astronauts on long-duration missions have simply continually taken birth control pills.
Very interesting article on women in space and how they might handle their reproductive health.