What's "best" among birth control methods differs from person to person. What's right for one person may not be right for others. And a person’s needs may also change over time.
- The only 100% assured method to avoid pregnancy is to not have penis-in-vagina sex or do any sexual stuff where sperm can get on the vulva or in a vagina; this is called abstinence.
- Condoms with any type of birth control are considered the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and this also guarantees extra protection. No birth control method is perfect. So, using condoms with another type of birth control (like the implant, IUD or pill) gives backup protection in case either method fails. In addition, condoms seriously lower the chances of getting all kinds of sexually transmitted infections, like HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes.
What are the different types of birth control?
Birth control or contraception is any method, medicine or device used to prevent pregnancy in a sexually active woman. Each method works differently, like preventing sperm to reach an egg or not allowing the body to release eggs. The primary goal of any birth control is to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Below are different types of birth control:
Short-acting hormonal contraception
- Common methods include everyday oral birth control pills, a skin patch that needs replacement every week, a vaginal ring that needs to be changed every month or a birth control injection given by the doctor every three months. All of these methods require a prescription.
- Short-acting hormonal contraception is about 91% to 95% effective in preventing pregnancy.
- Hormonal birth control side effects can vary. However, one beneficial side effect that many women notice is the reduction in period pain, frequency or flow.
Long-term contraception can be a good choice because of long-lasting birth control without much maintenance. Choices include an implant inserted into an arm or an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted into the uterus.
- These methods are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
- They can work for 3 to 10 years, depending on the particular method you choose.
- The implant (Nexplanon) and hormonal IUDs (such as Skyla, Mirena and Kyleena) work by adjusting the body’s progestin levels over time. Copper IUDs (ParaGard) do not use hormones. Instead, the copper stops sperm from fertilizing your eggs.
- Side effects include discomfort when the device is put in place, and some people can experience a few temporary or (less commonly) ongoing side effects such as weight gain, headaches and soreness. However, many women find the benefits of low-maintenance, long-term birth control to be well worth it.
One-time barrier contraception
- Condoms, sponges, diaphragms, cervical caps and spermicide are all barrier birth control methods. Each of them works differently, but they all create a sperm “barrier” during sex to physically prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Barrier contraception methods don’t require a prescription and are available at many stores or online. Additionally, condoms help protect against sexually transmitted infections, the only birth control method to do so.
- They prevent pregnancy in 71% to 88% of the time depending on the method.
- Tubal ligation (for women) and vasectomies (for men) are surgical procedures intended to make pregnancy impossible.
- They’re almost 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. If you’re very sure you don’t want to have children in the future, they’re a great option to consider.
- Recovery time from these procedures usually takes only a few days. Sexual functions of patients and their partners are not affected.
- Permanent contraception is one of the most convenient birth control options only if a patient is confident that they don’t want children in the future.
- Reversing a tubal ligation or vasectomy is possible; however, there isn’t any guarantee that fertility will return.
- If a patient had sex without using birth control or birth control fails, emergency contraception can help prevent pregnancy.
- Pills and copper IUD are the two types of emergency birth control that are available.
- One type of pill often called “Plan B” is available from most pharmacies without a prescription; it can prevent pregnancy up to three days after sex. A more effective pill often called “Ella” does need a prescription but can prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex.
- Copper IUDs also require patients to see a doctor, but they’re almost 100% effective when inserted within five days of intercourse.
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Birth Control OptionsBirth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning-after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed before using any birth control method.
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Can I Get Pregnant Even If He Pulls Out?If you use the pull out method perfectly each time, it has about a 96% success rate. However, it is challenging to do it exactly right every time. So, in reality, it has about a 78% success rate.
Hormonal Methods of Birth ControlThere are several different hormonal methods of birth control. The hormones can be estrogen and/or progesterone. The hormones can be taken by mouth, implanted into body tissue, absorbed from a patch on the skin, injected under the skin, or placed in the vagina. Common types of hormonal birth control include: "The Pill" (oral contraceptives), injection (Depo-Provera, Lunelle), the patch (Ortho-Evra), and the vaginal ring (Nuvaring).
How Are Intrauterine Devices Fitted?Inserting an intrauterine device (IUD) is a simple procedure that takes a few minutes. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device made from plastic or copper that is placed in a woman's womb to prevent pregnancy. The coil is inserted through the cervix
How Does Tubal Sterilization Work?Tubal sterilization is also called tubal ligation. It is a form of permanent birth control for women. Tubal sterilization works to permanently prevent pregnancy by cutting and tying or clipping the fallopian tubes, hence preventing the egg from traveling from the ovaries through the fallopian tubes. It also blocks the sperm from entering the fallopian tubes to fertilize the egg.
How Likely Is It To Get Pregnant with an IUD?Getting pregnant while you have an IUD is extremely rare. There is one out of a hundred chances that this could happen. However, it has happened before.
How Likely Is Pregnancy After Vasectomy?Despite having a very high success rate, there are still times when vasectomies fail. This is a rare situation. Less than 1% of vasectomies fail and result in pregnancies.
Is It Painful to Have an IUD Inserted?Gynecologists insert a T-shaped device into the woman’s uterus (womb). This process is quick and not very painful. However, some pain is inevitable, and pain experience is different for every woman. It is normal to feel some discomfort when the opening of the womb (cervix) is stretched. For most women, this only lasts for a few seconds and may be felt as a sharp pain.
Is It Painful to Remove an IUD?Removing an IUD when you aren't having complications shouldn’t take very long and shouldn’t be very painful. Most people say that IUD insertion is more painful than its removal.
Is Tubal Sterilization Reversible?Tubal ligation is technically reversible. However, the procedure is complicated and the results are not guaranteed. Though it is possible to reverse a tubal ligation, it is a major surgery that doesn’t always work, it is rarely covered by insurance and it is not recommended.
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norethindrone (Nor QD, Nora-BE, Ortho Micronor)Norethindrone oral contraceptive is a prescription drug used to prevent pregnancy. Side effects include headache, nausea, dizziness, breast tenderness, irregular vaginal bleeding, acne, fatigue, and weight gain. Oral contraceptives are generally avoided during pregnancy. The use of birth control pills during lactation has been associated with decreased milk production.
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