You should base your choice of birth control on your personal preferences, plans, and lifestyle. However, you can also consult with an ob-gyn to get personalized birth control advice. The team at Bluebonnet OB/GYN in San Antonio will explain to you your options and help you pick the most effective one for you.
Almost every woman in the United States has used birth control at some point. Because of their popularity, there are very many births controls options available in the market. Going through every one of them may turn out to be not only time-consuming but also expensive.
Each contraceptive technique works distinctly. Some techniques discourage your body from releasing eggs while others prevent sperm from reaching the eggs. The 5 general birth control methods are:
1. Hormonal Contraception
Hormonal birth control options adjust your natural estrogen or progestin levels to reduce your chances of conceiving. Conventional hormonal contraception methods include:
- Pills which you take at the same time every day
- A birth control patch you change once every week
- A vaginal ring you replace every month
- A Deep shot you get every three months
These methods have an efficacy of about 91% to 95% and require a doctor’s prescription. Hormonal birth control can positively affect your period flow and pain.
2. Long-term contraception
Long-term contraception is effective, lasts long, and requires minimum maintenance. The choices include hormonal and copper IUDs, as well as an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted in your uterus.
Hormonal IUDs work by adjusting your progestin levels while copper IUD implants release copper into your body, which acts as a spermicide.
Long-term contraception has a 99 percent efficacy and works for 3 to 10 years, depending on the method. They are also easy to remove if you decide to have kids.
3. Permanent Contraception
Permanent contraception methods are best suited to people who are confident they do not want kids in the future. The options include vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women. Tubal ligation allows YOU to still get your period without the possibility of conceiving.
These procedures are relatively simple, do not require a lot of recovery time, and have an efficacy of almost 100 percent. However, make sure that this is what you want before you get it because although these procedures are reversible, there is no guarantee you will get your fertility back.
4. Barrier Contraception
Although each one works differently, all barrier contraception techniques work to prevent sperm from getting to an egg. The methods include vaginal sponges, condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, and cervical caps. You can buy them online or in stores as they do not require a doctor’s prescription.
The effectiveness of barrier methods depends on whether or not they are used correctly. Consequently, they have a lower efficacy rate of 71-88 percent.
The use of condoms is the only birth control method that can help protect you and your partner from STIs.
5. Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception is a backup plan for when you have sex without using birth control, or your birth control fails to work. There are two types of pills you can use, as well as a copper IUD.
One pill, Plan B, is valid up to 72 hours after unprotected sex and doesn’t require a prescription. The other one, Ella, works up to 5 days after unprotected sex but requires a prescription.
You will need to see a doctor for a copper IUD. It maintains an efficacy rate of close to 100 percent for up to 5 days after intercourse.
Birth control is the easiest way to map out your future and that of your family. It is also beneficial for your overall health and peace of mind.
Nevertheless, you should note that birth control and sexually transmitted infection prevention are very different things.
If STI prevention is vital to you and your partner, you should consider using condoms in combination with other birth control methods.