Birth control options are each woman’s personal choice and all the benefits and risks should be discussed with a physician. There are a variety of birth control options, and for more information about any of these, visit Planned Parenthood or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are a medicine with hormones that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills can be a safe, affordable and effective method of birth control if you take them daily. Once you stop taking the pill, it’s possible to get pregnant right away. Birth control pills are known to have some benefits that may reduce or help prevent:
- Bone thinning
- Cysts in the breasts and ovaries
- Endometrial and ovarian cancers
- Serious infections in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus
- Iron deficiency (anemia)
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
Implants and Patches
Birth Control Implants
A birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a match. The rod releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant. The implant will be inserted into your arm by a health care professional. This method will prevent you from pregnancy for up to four years. Your doctor can remove it if you decide you want to get pregnant or no longer want it.
Birth Control Patch
You can wear a contraceptive patch on the skin of your belly, upper arm, bottom or back. Every three weeks, you put on a new patch that will stop you from ovulating, meaning there will not be an egg released to meet a sperm. After three weeks of wearing the patch, you get a week off before you repeat the cycle.
Birth Control Vaginal Ring
The birth control ring is a small, flexible ring you wear inside of your vagina that allows the ring to release hormones into your body. The ring works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (called fertilization). Your vaginal lining absorbs the hormones, resulting in the loss of ovulation. You insert a new ring each month, and if you’re ready to get pregnant just discontinue use.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An IUD is a tiny device that is inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy by changing the way the sperm cells move so they can’t get to an egg. It’s a small piece of flexible plastic shaped like a T. IUDs can be an effective form of birth control because there’s little chance of making a mistake with it and you may be protected from pregnancy for 3 to 12 years, depending on the type.
Birth Control Shot
The birth control shot is an injection you get from a nurse or doctor once every few months. This method contains hormones that prevent ovulation, so an egg isn’t released that can connect with sperm. For this method to be effective, you must remember to get your shot every 12-13 weeks. When continuously administered, the birth control shot is considered very effective.
Sterilization or Tubal Ligation
Tubal ligation (sometimes called sterilization, female sterilization or “getting your tubes tied”) is a surgical procedure that permanently closes your fallopian tubes. When the fallopian tubes are blocked, sperm can’t get to an egg and cause pregnancy. You still get your period after tubal ligation — you just can’t get pregnant.