If you’re not ready to get pregnant, you already have the number of children you want, or you don’t want children at all, there are numerous ways to avoid pregnancy. The good news is there are more choices than ever. The bad news is there are more choices than ever.
With all of the contraception options available, you can choose the one that fits your lifestyle and family goals the best. But with all of the safe and effective choices, you can feel overwhelmed trying to figure out which one to go with.
At the Women’s Center for Health, we can help you decide. Here are some things to consider when choosing a birth control method.
All birth control works differently. Hormonal contraceptives that contain estrogen — such as the pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring — prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation.
These methods are safe for most women, but if you have a history of breast cancer, migraines, stroke, uterine cancer, and blood clots, you should not use these forms of birth control, especially if you smoke or are over 35.
You may not be ready to get pregnant right now, but when choosing a birth control method, you should consider when you might like to conceive. How soon you plan to drop your protection is a big factor in your choice of birth control.
There are long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC) such as hormonal IUDs, which prevent unwanted pregnancies for three to five years, a hormone-free IUD that lasts for 10 years, and an implantable rod that lasts for three years.
On the other hand, barrier birth control methods such as condoms, diaphragms, and sponges prevent pregnancies one sexual encounter at a time.
How reliable is your memory? Do you think you can remember to take the pill every day or change your patch every three weeks? Or would a LARC method — something you don’t have to think about for years — work better for you?
And if you never want to think about it or have children, a permanent birth control method such as tubal ligation surgery may be the best choice for you.
If you’re in a long-term monogamous relationship, protection against sexually transmitted diseases is probably not important to you. But if you have multiple sexual partners or your partner is not monogamous, the only method that protects against STDs and pregnancy is the condom, both for men and women.
Because male condoms are only 85% effective at protecting against unwanted pregnancies and female condoms are only 79% effective, you may want to consider using condoms in conjunction with another form of birth control.
While most birth control methods are reliable, they do not protect you 100% against getting pregnant. If not having a baby is the utmost of importance to you, choose contraception methods with the highest rates of protection.
Other than permanent birth control, the most reliable methods are those that you don’t have to remember to use, such as IUDs and the implantable rods. Both methods are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Birth control pills, by comparison, are 91% effective.
We know it’s confusing, but you don’t have to make this important decision alone. Call the Women’s Center for Health in Wichita, Kansas, or make an appointment online.