Today, there are many options as it relates to birth control. To select the one that is best suited to your needs and those of your partner, you should consult with your healthcare provider.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills, commonly referred to as the pill, are a form of oral contraception that generally contains two hormones, estrogen and progestin and taken daily to prevent a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs. They also help to prevent pregnancy by causing the cervical mucus to thicken. This blocks sperm from fertilizing an egg. Birth Control pills are safe, effective and convenient. For women who are very overweight, the pill may be less effective. Additionally, vomiting and/or diarrhea may keep the pill from working properly to prevent pregnancy. If a woman is concerned about this, a backup method of birth control should be used.
Mirena® IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a contraceptive device that delivers small amounts of hormone (levonorgestrel) directly to the uterus. It is a form of birth control that remains in the uterus and can last for up to 5 years. It is a small shaped plastic device that is both soft and flexible and is put into place by a gynecologist or healthcare provider during an office visit. The Mirena® IUD works continuously and eliminates the need for pills and is over 99% effective. When a patient wants to become pregnant, a healthcare provider can remove the device and the patient can try to become pregnant immediately. It works through several different actions that include thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, inhibiting the sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg and making the lining of the uterus thin.
Paragard® is a form of birth control known as an intrauterine device (IUD). It’s sometimes called an intrauterine contraceptive (IUC). Paragard® is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and has no hormones at all. Paragard® remains in the uterus and can last for up to 12 years. Paragard® is a small, soft, and flexible T-shaped device made primarily of plastic and copper that your healthcare provider places in your uterus at an office visit. Once it’s inserted, all you need to do is a simple monthly string check. Otherwise, you shouldn’t feel it at all and neither should your partner.
NEXPLANON® is a small, soft, and flexible birth control implant – it’s just 4 centimeters in length. Your health care provider places it discreetly under the skin on the inside of your upper arm. This means it’s hidden from view. NEXPLANON® provides up to 3 years of continuous pregnancy prevention. That means no more daily, weekly, or monthly dosing routine. Once inserted, NEXPLANON® is over 99% effective, just like the pill. But there’s a difference – with NEXPLANON®, you don’t have to remember to take it every day.
Condoms are a barrier form of birth control that physically blocks the sperm from entering the vagina. They are the only form of protection that can help to stop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV and prevent pregnancy. A condom is a latex or polyurethane sheath that is closed at one end and fits over a man’s penis. Condoms are also available for females. These have a flexible ring at either end. One end is closed and inserted into the vagina and the other end is open with the ring remaining outside the vagina. To help assure protection, users should read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
A diaphragm is a thin rubber dome shaped device with a springy and flexible rim. Inserted into the vagina by the patient, it fits over the cervix and is held in place by muscles in the vagina. The diaphragm is designed to hold a spermacide in place over the cervix to kill sperm. To maximize the effectiveness of the diaphragm it should be left in place for up to 6 to 8 hours. The effectiveness for birth control ranges from between 86-94%. If one chooses to use a diaphragm it must be fitted in a clinic. Additionally, weight changes, vaginal surgery and pregnancy can affect the way a diaphragm fits requiring that a medical provider check it to make sure it fits properly and to determine if a new size is needed.
Tubal ligation is a non-surgical procedure that seals off a woman’s fallopian tubes that carry an egg from the ovaries to the uterus. By blocking these tubes, where fertilization usually occurs, sperm is unable to reach the egg to fertilize it. Patients should be aware that the procedure provides permanent birth control and is NOT reversible.