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Women’s Health Specialists

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Prevent Pregnancy & Protect Your Sexual Health

You can prevent pregnancy through birth control devices and/or medications, also called contraceptives. We understand how choosing the best method of birth control can be challenging, especially because there are so many options, each with a different effectiveness rate, cost, schedule, and varying side effects. Because every type of birth control has its own degree of effectiveness, both through perfect and typical use, you’re encouraged to double up by using both a latex condom and a backup method, such as birth control pills or an IUD. The only birth control method that prevents sexually transmitted infections/diseases, as well as pregnancy, is latex condoms.

Birth Control Methods & Options

You can prevent pregnancy through various methods of birth control, or contraception. Some are easier to use than others, some need to be used every time, while some need to be used on a schedule. While certain forms are more effective at preventing pregnancy than others, only latex condoms help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs) while also preventing pregnancy. Each method varies in cost, as well. Some forms of female birth control are desirable to women because they can help with heavy menstruation and control acne in addition to preventing pregnancy.

These are the most popular forms of birth control:

  • Barriers, especially male condoms: Male condoms, particularly the latex variety, are popular because they pull double duty by preventing pregnancy while also preventing STIs/STDs. Other barrier methods include the diaphragm, cervical cap, and contraceptive sponge. They must be used every time you have sex.
  • Short-acting hormonal methods, especially birth control pills: Contraceptive pills, as well as vaginal rings, skin patches, and contraceptive shots, are short-acting hormonal forms of birth control that must be taken either on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. It’s important to take these on schedule for them to be as effective as possible.
  • Long-acting birth control, especially IUDs: These can be either hormonal, like Mirena brand IUDs, or non-hormonal, like ParaGard IUDs. There are also contraceptive implants. All of these long-acting birth control methods last for 3 to 10 years after insertion and they are highly effective and easy to use. People like these methods because you can “set it and forget it.”
  • Sterilization, such as vasectomy or tubal ligation: This is a permanent form of birth control that is irreversible in women and only occasionally reversible in men.
  • Spermicide or vaginal gel: These kill sperm and stop them from moving so they can’t reach the egg to fertilize it. These products are placed in the vagina before sex.
  • Fertility awareness methods, such as natural family planning: Women can track their ovulation and fertile periods based on their basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and their menstrual cycle. They must avoid having sex during their most fertile times of the month.

What Are the Most Effective Forms of Birth Control?

Birth control methods are not all as effective, and the best way to protect yourself is by using condoms and a backup method, such as doubling up by using both a latex condom and if the female partner takes birth control pills.

These are the most effective forms of birth control, from most to least:

  • 99% effective: Sterilization, IUD, and non-uterine implant
  • 91 to 94% effective: Vaginal rings, birth control pills, patches (all 91%), and injections (94%)
  • 76 to 82% effective: Male condoms (82%), other barrier methods (such asdiaphragmsor female condoms, which are 76 to 88% effective), withdrawal/pulling out (78%), and fertility awareness (76%)

For further questions about contraception, contact us for a confidential consultation with a physician. We look forward to helping you with your family planning needs.

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