Choosing a birth control method that fits with your lifestyle is an essential step for family planning and for maximizing your health benefits. Today’s contraception is safe and easy to use whether you want a temporary or permanent contraceptive solution. Your physician at Women’s OB/GYN will go over all of your contraceptive options and help guide your decision to pick the best choice based on age, health, and lifestyle goals. Since there are some side effects associated with contraception, it is very important to consult your physician before starting or switching to a new method of birth control.
A list of available contraceptives is available below. Not all women are eligible for all methods of permanent contraception, so it is important to find the best kind that will fit with your lifestyle. The following list is designed to help provide you with some background information before you discuss the options with your physician. Discuss your choices with your physician for a more complete explanation of the pros and cons of each option or follow the links below for more information.
Oral contraceptives are ingested in pill form through the mouth. Oral contraceptives, or “birth control pills,” contain hormones which prevent ovulation and/or increase cervical mucus to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg. When used properly, oral contraceptives are effective 96-98% of the time. For most types of oral contraceptives, the efficacy is dependent on the user’s ability to take the daily pill around the same time of day. Among other potential benefits, oral contraceptives may also help regulate your period and reduce acne.
Read more about oral contraceptives from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Intrauterine device (IUD)
IUDs are T-shaped plastic devices that are inserted into the uterus by your physician. Some IUDs contain hormones and others are wrapped in copper. IUDs prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm from reaching the egg and/or preventing the egg from implanting into the uterine wall. When used properly, IUDs are effective approximately 99% of the time. IUDs may cause some discomfort and mild spotting for one or two days after insertion, but they are hardly noticeable thereafter. IUDs can remain in the uterus without replacement for up to ten years depending on the type of device, and they can be easily removed at anytime by your physician.
Learn more about IUDs from WebMD.
Implant devices provide a method of birth control in which a small plastic rod (about the size of a matchstick) is inserted under the skin and releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. Similar to oral contraceptives, the hormones release from an implant device prevent ovulation and increase the thickness of cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. To insert the device, your physician will numb the skin of your upper arm and “inject” the device through a needle-like instrument. The device can stay in your arm for up to three years with no maintenance. This birth control method is 99.9% effective. Side effects may include menstrual irregularities.
Read more about birth control implants from WebMD.
Vaginal hormonal ring
Vaginal ring contraception makes use of a small, flexible ring to that is inserted in the vagina, stays there for three weeks, and is removed during menstruation. The vaginal ring prevents ovulation by releasing hormones, and this method of birth control is approximately as effective as oral contraception.
Learn more about the vaginal ring from Planned Parenthood.
The skin patch method of contraception makes use of an adhesive skin patch that prevents ovulation through the release of hormones. The skin patch is effective approximately 99% of the time, and can be worn on the buttocks, abdomen, upper torso (but not on breasts), or upper arm. The patch must be replaced once a week on the same day each week, and should not be worn during the week of menstruation.
Learn more about the skin patch from WebMD.
Injection birth control requires a hormone injection in the arm or buttocks from your physician once every 3 months and is over 99% effective. The injection birth control method works best when administered during the first five days of your menstrual cycle, and it starts working within one hour after administering the injection. Once stopping the injection method of contraception, it may take three months to a year before you may be able to become pregnant.
Learn more about injection contraception from WebMD.
Barrier methods of contraception include the use of male and female condoms, sponges, cervical caps, spermicides, and diaphragms. This method of birth control creates a physical barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and does not rely on regulating hormones. Barrier methods may be used in conjunction with other forms of contraception for added protection from pregnancy and some may also reduce the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Barrier methods are more than 90% effective when used properly, but they may have a higher risk of improper usage as couples must sometimes take action in the heat of the moment just before intercourse.
Learn more about barrier methods from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Sterilization by laparoscopy (surgical)
Tubal ligation is a permanent form of contraception in which the fallopian tubes are cauterized, cut or removed during surgery to prevent sperm from reaching the egg during sex. The surgery requires a one day stay at the hospital and general anesthesia. This method of contraception is approximately 98% effective. There is potential to reverse sterilization by laparoscopy, but the success rate is not very high.
Learn more about sterilization by laparoscopy from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
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