We’ve talked about birth control if you’re over 40, but what about if you’re just starting out? The world of birth control can be difficult to navigate, with several different options and possible side effects. You’re a busy woman, and we understand that you may not have time to play trial-and-error. Here’s what you need to know:
There’s not a single “best” birth control. There may be a best version for you, but every woman and her body is different and will react differently to each form of contraception. Regardless of what your mother may have told you, it’s important to check out all of your options before deciding.
The Different Options of Birth Control
Since there are so many options, we’ve broken them down for you based on a birth control method strategy. As always, abstinence is the only method to prevent pregnancy 100 percent of the time.
Barrier Methods of Birth Control
These birth control options include inserting a physical barrier in your uterus to prevent sperm from reaching your ovaries. This can be done in the form of a contraceptive sponge, diaphragm, cervical cap or shield, and condoms.
Sponges need to be moistened before insertion, and can protect against pregnancy for up to twenty-four hours, regardless of the number of times intercourse is performed. They are removed no more than thirty hours after insertion, and should be left in a minimum of six hours.
Diaphragms and cervical caps
These need to be fitted for your uterus by a doctor, and need spermicide added before insertion. They must be left in for a minimum of six hours and need to be taken out within twenty-four hours of intercourse. Condoms, whether male or female, should be worn only once during each session of sex and can be thrown away after use. Male and female condoms should not be used together, as the friction may cause tears in the condom.
These methods of birth control prevent pregnancy by interfering with a woman’s hormones in a non-harmful way. They can also be prescribed to help with other issues such as heavy or irregular periods.
These are what your mother calls The Pill—contain estrogen and progestin to prevent the ovaries from releasing the egg. It’s a daily contraceptive, and may not work for women who are older than 35 and smoke or women who have a history of blood clots or certain cancers.
This is a skin patch worn either on the lower abdomen, buttocks, outer arm, or upper body and works the same way as the pill—by releasing hormones to stop the egg from dropping. The patch is worn for three weeks and removed one week while menstruating.
Injections are another form of hormonal birth control, with one shot of hormones being delivered every three months and a period is absent.
are inserted into the vagina for three weeks, and taken out for one week during the menstrual cycle. It releases the same hormones to prevent the egg from releasing.
This type of birth control involves devices that are inserted into the body and left in place for a few years; women who are certain they don’t want children for extended periods of time may have interest in these methods.
are a flexible rod, roughly the size of a matchstick, inserted into the skin of the upper arm. By releasing progestin, it alters the lining in the uterus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and is effective for up to three years.
These are also known as IUDs, are T-shaped devices that are inserted into your uterus, and there are two types.
Copper IUDs release a small amount of copper into the uterus to prevent fertilization, and is effective for five to ten years.
These operate the same way, but with hormones instead of copper. They’re good for up to five years.
Permanent Birth Control
These options are for women who are finished having children, and are often non-reversible procedures. It’s important to discuss these options with your doctor before deciding to permanently remove your chance of having children.
These are also known as essure, is the first non-surgical method to sterilize women. A thin tube is inserted into each fallopian tube through the uterus and causes scar tissue to form around it, closing off each tube to the ovaries.
Or having your “tubes tied,” can involve tying, sealing, or cutting your fallopian tubes to prevent access to ovaries. It’s a surgical procedure that can be done numerous ways, and it’s important to discuss with your doctor which option would be best for you.
That’s a lot of options, but don’t feel overwhelmed. Most birth controls are designed for lifestyle and body types, so be sure to be open and honest with your doctor when you’re discussing your birth control options. If you aren’t sure you could remember a daily contraceptive, you may want to think about options that last longer—such as an injection or implantable device. Likewise, if you’re in a committed relationship and may want children soon, implantable devices may not be the best choice.
Each birth control option also comes with its own unique side effects, and it’s important to be aware of the risks before choosing which option is best for you. If you’re positive you don’t want to be positive for pregnancy anytime soon, schedule an appointment today to discover which birth control option is right for you!