6 Birth Control Options

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

View Birth Control Slideshow Pictures

Quick GuideBirth Control Pictures Slideshow: Methods, Side Effects and Effectiveness

Birth Control Pictures Slideshow: Methods, Side Effects and Effectiveness

How long does it take for birth control to begin working?

  • Some kinds of birth control start to work with the first use, such as barrier methods.
  • Hormonal methods of birth control such as pills, implants, or the patch may not begin working immediately.
  • Their effectiveness depends upon the time in your monthly cycle when you begin using the contraception.
  • Sometimes it is recommended that women use an alternate method of contraception for the first week after beginning the pill or hormonal contraception.

Can you get pregnant on birth control?

There is no form of birth control that is 100% effective, so it is possible to get pregnant while using most types of birth control. However, many types of birth control, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy. For example, the birth control pill is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy when taken correctly. For all forms of birth control it is important to have a basic understanding how they work and how to use them correctly.

What are the different types of birth control available?

Types of birth control methods include options that prevent sperm from reaching an egg, known as barrier methods; methods that prevent ovulation, and methods that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus. Permanent methods (surgical sterilization) are also available for those who no longer desire to have children.

Types of birth control include:

Hormonal birth control methods include:

  • Birth control pills
  • Patches
  • Implants
  • Vaginal ring

Barrier birth control methods include:

Natural birth control methods include:

  • Ovulation test kits
  • Cervical mucus examination
  • Tracking menstrual cycles (rhythm method)
  • Intrauterine devices
  • Surgical sterilization

Surgical sterilzation methods include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016
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