Maybe you’ve tried birth control pills and didn’t like them, or perhaps you don’t want to be burdened with taking a pill every day to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. If so, and you’re looking for other methods of contraception, you’ve come to the right place.
As an experienced OB/GYN well-versed in the array of available birth control options, I’ve assisted countless women in alternatives to the pill. While there are many to consider, here are three convenient methods that I highly recommend.
What is it? An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a small, plastic device that’s shaped like a “T.” The outer surface of an IUD is covered with either copper or a hormone. An IUD is inserted into your uterus during an in-office procedure. The end of the IUD has a plastic string that extends past your cervix and hangs into the top of your vagina.
If you have a copper IUD, your uterus and fallopian tubes react to the copper by creating a fluid that destroys sperm. With a hormonal IUD, the hormone also destroys sperm and creates a response in the cervix that makes thick mucus, preventing sperm from getting in.
Who is a candidate? Women who are not currently pregnant and don’t have a current infection in their uterus are candidates for using an IUD.
What are the benefits? An IUD is a reversible form of birth control, meaning if you want to have children later, your IUD can be removed so pregnancy can occur. IUDs are very effective: For every 100 women using IUDs for birth control, only one becomes pregnant.
What is the procedure like? Inserting an IUD is an in-office procedure that takes only a few minutes. Some cramping may be experienced, so to prevent discomfort, taking ibuprofen previous to insertion may be beneficial.
What is it? Nexplanon is also known as an etonogestrel implant. It’s a small, flexible medical device that releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. It is inserted under the skin of your arm during an in-office procedure.
Who is a candidate? Many women are good candidates for using Nexplanon, including women who are not currently pregnant and not planning on getting pregnant while using it. But women who have a history of blood clots, breast cancer or liver tumors, shouldn’t use Nexplanon and we can discuss other options of birth control.
What are the benefits? The Nexplanon implant provides birth control for three years. It’s a reversible method of birth control, meaning it can be removed if you’re planning on becoming pregnant. It’s also dependable: Nexplanon is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
What is the procedure like? First, a local anesthetic is injected in and around the site on your arm. Once your skin is numb, she uses a special applicator to insert the Nexplanon implant. After it is in place, both you and I need to verify that it’s in your arm by feeling for the implant.
What is it? Essure is a permanent method of birth control that involves the placement of a soft, flexible device inside each of your fallopian tubes. Essure needs to be inserted by a doctor. The Essure method is considered a barrier method of birth control, because in the three months after the procedure, it slowly forms scar tissue to block the entry of sperm from going into your fallopian tubes. This barrier prevents sperm from reaching your eggs and prevents pregnancy.
Who is a candidate? If you’re looking for a permanent method of birth control and have no desire to ever have children again, you may be a good candidate for using Essure.
What are the benefits? Essure is 99.3% effective in preventing pregnancy. It’s also considered a permanent form of birth control. Once you have Essure placed in your body, you will NOT be able to become pregnant. So, if you’re looking for a permanent, nonhormonal method of birth control, Essure may be for you. The Essure devices are made of metal-based fibers, so if you have any metal allergies, we need to discuss this with before using Essure.
What is the procedure like? During the procedure, a flexible Essure device is inserted inside each of your fallopian tubes. It does not involve the cutting of any tissue nor the use of a general anesthetic. A local anesthetic is used to numb certain areas to make the procedure more comfortable. An oral medication may also be advised to help you relax during the procedure
Once Essure is placed in both fallopian tubes, you’ll need to use an alternate method of birth control for three months while scar tissue forms around the Essure devices. This scar tissue, along with Essure, creates a barrier to your fallopian tubes so that sperm can’t reach your eggs.
Lastly, some believe that breastfeeding can be a reliable form of birth control. You can learn more about how breastfeeding can affect fertility. Learn more about it in MomLovesBest's article "Will Breastfeeding Prevent Me From Getting Pregnant?"
Essure. (2017). What is Essure. Retrieved from: http://www.essure.com/what-is-essure
Essure. (2017). How does the Essure Procedure Work? Retrieved from: http://www.essure.com/what-is-essure/how-essure-works
Nexplanon. (2017). Nexplanon insertion. Retrieved from: https://www.nexplanon.com/nexplanon-insertion/
Nexplanon. (2017). Nexplanon questions and answers. Retrieved from: https://www.nexplanon.com/questions/
Nexplanon. (2017). What is Nexplanon. Retrieved from: https://www.nexplanon.com/what-is-nexplanon/
Web MD. (2015). Intrauterine Device (IUD) for Birth Control. Retrieved from: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/intrauterine-device-iud-for-birth-control