Some birth control options have the least side effects.
The decision to use birth control and the method of choice is one’s personal perspective. A doctor may guide the decision and advise which method may be best for each individual for safely and effectively preventing pregnancy. Below are few birth control methods with least side effects:
Abstinence: The only 100% assured method to avoid pregnancy is to not have penis-in-vagina sex or indulge in any sexual behavior where sperm can enter the vagina. This method is called abstinence.
- Highly effective
- No costs involved
- No side effects
- It may be difficult to abstain from all sexual activities for an extended period.
Male condom: This provides 84% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.
- Widely available over the counter
- Easy to carry
- Protects from sexually transmitted disease (STD)
Spermicide jellies and diaphragm: These are applied to the inner side of the vagina 30 minutes before the sexual activity. They are often used together. Diaphragm is inserted inside the vagina and jelly is applied to its rim.
- It may irritate the vagina and increase the incidence of STDs
- 29% failure rate
Female condom: This is up to 79% effective in preventing pregnancy.
- Female controlled
- More comfortable to men, enhanced sexual sensation than with the male condom
- Offers protection against STD (covers both internal and external genitalia)
- Can be inserted before sex
- Stronger than latex
- Not aesthetically pleasing
- Can slip into the vagina or anus during sex
- Difficulties in insertion/removal
- Not easy to find in drugstores
- Higher cost than male condoms
Birth control pills: Hormonal pills containing estrogen and progesterone can prevent pregnancy and have an almost 91% success rate. These should be started during the first day of the period and continued for the entire month.
- Highly effective
- Reduce bleeding during the periods and improve hemoglobin levels
- Reduce period cramping
- May not suit women with a history of migraine
- May cause blood clots in susceptible women
- No protection against STDs
Withdrawal or pulling out method: This provides up to 78% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. In this method, an individual may need to pull out from partner at the right time.
- Can be used in combination with other birth control method
- No cost involved
- May not withdraw in time
- Pre-ejaculate can still contain viable sperm
Sterilization: This provides up to 99.5% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. Male sterilization procedure is called vasectomy and female sterilization process is called tubectomy.
- Highly effective
- Long-lasting contraceptive solution
- Reversal procedures are expensive and complicated
Contraceptive patch: This provides up to 92% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. One patch when fitted over the body works for three weeks. In the fourth week, no patch is applied and monthly bleeding takes place in this time.
- Small and easy to use
- Stays on the skin without much disturbance to daily activity
- Skin rash
Emergency contraception: This provides up to 89% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. Usually found in stores as “morning-after pill or Plan B.”
- Reduces the risk of pregnancy by 89% if started within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.
- Must be taken as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse
- Possible side effects, including nausea, vomiting and irregular bleeding
- It is not safe to take it more than once a year. This pill causes disturbances in the hormonal cycle.
Birth control shot
- One injection prevents pregnancy for three months.
- Only four shots in one year
- Light bleeding every month
IUCD (Intrauterine contraceptive device)
Acts as a foreign body inside the uterus and prevents union of sperm and ovum
- No hormonal imbalances
- Can be safely removed if pregnancy happens. No adverse effect on the baby.
- Increases chance of ectopic pregnancy (conception in the site other than the uterus.). This is a life-threatening condition.
- Increased bleeding in monthly cycles
- Increased chance of infection in uterus
A condom with any type of birth control is the only way to get protection from pregnancy and STDs during vaginal sex. No birth control method is perfect. Using condoms with another type of birth control gives backup protection in case either method fails. Condoms also lower the chances of getting all kinds of STDs, like HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes. A condom with any birth control is safe and most effective contraceptive method.
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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.
Choosing Your Birth Control MethodWhich birth control option is right for you? Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot, implant, patch and more. Learn about birth control side effects and effectiveness.
Birth Control Quiz: Test Your Medical IQWhat is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
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 Do Female Condoms Feel?A female condom is a barrier method of contraception. Female condoms are not tight on the penis, and they don’t inhibit or dull sensation like male condoms. Hence, it is believed that they feel more natural compared to wearing male condoms.
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.
Can You Lose Weight While on the Birth Control Pill?It is possible to lose weight while on the birth control pill, but every woman's body is different and reacts differently to hormones. Eating a sensible diet and adopting a regular workout regimen will help you maintain a healthy weight.
Why Did I Miss My Period on Birth Control?Missed periods on birth control are a common issue that affects many women. Learn why you missed your period on birth control, how your doctor will diagnose why, and how you can treat your missed period.
Should I Be Worried About Pregnancy if I Used a Condom?Condoms are a popular method of birth control. If used correctly, there's about a 2 percent risk of becoming pregnant while using a condom, but it's a good idea to use another method of birth control along with it. Condoms are probably the most effective means for preventing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as long as they are used correctly during sex.