You have many choices for contraception, and knowing what’s best for your body isn’t always easy.
At Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare, with offices in Fayetteville, Newnan, and Stockbridge, Georgia, we want to make choosing a method of birth control easier. Our experienced care team takes time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and offer guidance, so you can make an informed decision about contraception.
We’ve put together this informative guide to help you better navigate your birth control options and make a choice you feel confident and comfortable with.
Many choices for birth control
There are three reliable means of birth control: hormonal birth control, barrier method birth control, and permanent birth control. Hormonal birth control uses hormones to stop ovulation.
The barrier method prevents the egg and sperm from connecting, and this form must be used each time you have sex. Permanent methods of birth control prevent future pregnancies.
Here’s a closer look at the birth control choices available:
- Birth control implant: A long-term hormonal birth control that’s up to 99% effective
- Intrauterine device (IUD): A long-term hormonal birth control that’s up to 99% effective
- Birth control shot: A quarterly hormonal birth control that’s up to 94% effective
- Vaginal ring: A monthly hormonal birth control that’s up to 91% effective
- Birth control patch: A weekly hormonal birth control that’s up to 91% effective
- Birth control pills: A daily hormonal birth control that’s up to 91% effective
- Male condoms: A barrier method birth control used every time that’s up to 85% effective
- Female condoms: A barrier method birth control used every time that’s up to 79% effective
- Diaphragm: A barrier method birth control used every time that’s up to 88% effective
- Sponges: A barrier method birth control used every time that’s 76-88% effective
- Cervical cap: A barrier method birth control used every time that’s 71-86% effective
- Sterilization methods: Permanent methods of birth control, such as tubal ligation, which are 99% effective
It’s important to remember, however, that the real-world effectiveness of different methods differs from the effectiveness in the laboratory. For example, although condoms are 85% effective if used correctly, they’re about 80% effective in real-world use. Your provider can address any concerns or questions you may have about the specifics of these methods.
Understanding your options
Part of understanding your birth control options is understanding the different factors that can impact which method is right for you. It’s important to think about your lifestyle and personal preferences and how these work with the different options.
1. What do you need protection from?
We may refer to them as birth control methods, but contraceptives can protect you from more than just pregnancy. As you consider your options, think about what you need protection from.
For example, if you’re in a monogamous relationship and preventing pregnancy is your primary concern, the most effective contraceptives may be the right choice. These include hormone-based methods, such as pills, IUDs, implants, and patches.
If sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a concern, hormone-based birth control isn’t enough. This means you may need to consider combining methods, such as adding in condoms, to get the protection you need.
2. How easy do you need the method to be?
A method of birth control may be extremely effective, but if you don’t use it or don’t use it correctly, you can lose all protection. All women are different, so consider if a method will be difficult or cumbersome for you, no matter the effectiveness.
Think about your ability and willingness to use different options in different circumstances, and don’t forget to think about the requirements for using them.
You know yourself best. If you need convenience, options like an IUD or implant can last years in between appointments. Keep in mind that the right birth control method is the one that works best for you.
3. What are my plans regarding children?
If you know you want to start or add onto your family in the not-so-distant future, look for a method that doesn’t affect your fertility. Barrier methods don’t have hormones, so they won’t impact your ability to conceive when you’re ready.
With some hormone-based birth control methods, such as the pill, it can take months for your hormone levels to return to normal once you stop taking them. And if you know your family is complete, or if having a baby isn’t part of your future, a permanent form of birth control may be your best option.
To learn more about your birth control options, book an appointment online or over the phone with Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare today.