Family Planning: Things to Consider When Choosing Birth Control

Using birth control is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy. Whether you are dating or married, if you are sexually active and don’t want to become pregnant, you should consider birth control.

But, sorting through all your options can be overwhelming. Between pills, patches, IUDs, and more, there’s a lot to consider when choosing a contraceptive method, and it helps to be informed.

Types of birth control

Hormonal methods

Hormonal methods of birth control prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg each month, making fertilization and pregnancy less likely when the method is used correctly. These methods include pills, patches, rings, implants, and some IUDs.

Birth control pills are one of the most popular methods of hormonal contraception. They typically come in packs of 28 pills, with 21 containing hormones and 7 that are hormone-free. During the week that you take the hormone-free pills, you will have your period. In addition to preventing pregnancy, some women use birth control pills to regulate their menstrual cycles.

Our team at The Association for Women's Health Care is familiar with all types of hormonal birth control and we can help you find the best method to fit your lifestyle.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

IUDs are increasing in popularity as a birth control method. An IUDs is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic that is placed in your uterus. Once in place, you can’t feel it and it is very effective at preventing pregnancy for many years.

There are two types of IUD: copper and hormonal. The copper IUD releases small amounts of copper, which keeps sperm from fertilizing an egg. Copper IUDs are effective for up to 10 years. Hormonal IUDs release hormones to prevent fertilization, and these can last up to five years.

IUDs need to be inserted by one of our doctors or nurses, but the procedure can be done in-office and you will usually experience very little downtime, if any. Once you have an IUD, you can expect your menstrual flow to be light or disappear completely. Barrier methods

Barrier methods of birth control include both male and female condoms. Placed on the penis or inside the vagina before sex, barrier methods keep sperm from entering the cervix and fertilizing the egg. Most barrier methods of birth control don’t require a prescription, but they can be less effective than hormonal or other methods of birth control.

Condoms are the only method of birth control that also protect against sexually transmitted disease. If you are at risk for STDs, using condoms along with another form of birth control is a good idea to protect yourself.

Finding the right birth control for you

The type of birth control you use is a personal decision, and the doctors at The Association for Women's Health Care are here to help you make an informed choice. Some questions we’ll ask to help you choose birth control are:

Be honest with yourself. If you know that you don’t always remember to take your medications daily, then the birth control pill—which much be taken every day at the same time—might not be the right birth control choice for you.

Taking any existing health conditions into account is important, too. If you smoke, get severe migraines, or have a number of other conditions, you shouldn’t use hormonal contraceptives that contain estrogen.

Ready to plan your family?

It’s not uncommon for women to change birth control methods, depending on their needs and goals. The doctors at The Association for Women's Health Care can help you navigate each season of life.

If you’re ready to get pregnant, you can stop most forms of birth control at any time and it’s possible to become pregnant soon after. Couples who don’t use birth control have an 85% chance of becoming pregnant over the course of one year.

Whatever stage of life you are in, our doctors can help you find the right birth control method for you. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about your options.

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