Contraception: What Are Your Options?
With the advancement of science, there are many options for preventing pregnancy. Learning about each type can help you make an educated decision about which method to choose.
What Is the Best Birth Control Method for Me?Take your time when it comes to determining which birth control method you'll use. Do your homework. Research what is available. Talk to your close friends and see what methods they use and how they like them. Talk to your doctor about which options might be right for you. Factors that are important to your decision include:
- Your health
- Frequency of sexual activity
- Number of partners
- Desire to have children in the future
- Possible side effects
- How comfortable you would be with the method
The PillThe pill, also known as the oral contraceptive pill or birth control pill, is a popular form of reversible contraception. It uses a combination of estrogen and progestin (female hormones) to suppress the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries. Taken daily, the chance of becoming pregnant is very low. The pill does not protect against STDs, and is not advised for women who smoke, have a history of blood clots , or have certain types of cancer.
Mini-pillsThese are progesterone-only pills that are a popular choice for women right after giving birth. While these mini-pills are less effective than combination pills, they are often used after delivery because the combination pills can increase your risk of blood clots. If you are nursing, there is insufficient evidence to show that birth control pills will affect your milk supply.
Contraceptive PatchThe patch, worn on the skin, delivers the hormones estrogen and progestin to the bloodstream. The patch is changed weekly. It is as effective as the pill.
Contraceptive ImplantThis type of device is surgically implanted in the arm. The small implant releases a progestin hormone and can provide birth control for three years before it needs to be replaced.
Vaginal RingThis is a thin, flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and worn for three-week periods. The ring delivers estrogen and progestin. It is also as effective as birth control pills.
Emergency ContraceptionEmergency contraception refers to a series of contraceptive pills taken soon after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. It does not prevent STDs. This method of birth control is not designed for long term use like the other birth control methods.