There are many forms of birth control, some of the most popular include:
Surgical sterilization – This is usually the best choice for couple seeking a permanent birth control solution. For women, tubal ligation prevents eggs from moving to the uterus. For men, a vasectomy procedure prevents sperm from leaving the body.
Condoms – Whenever sexually transmitted disease is a concern, condoms should be used. Male condoms are most effective, but female condoms offer some protection. Both types should not be used together due to risk of breakage.
Cervical cap, sponge, diaphragm – These and similar devices are simple and economical. They have varying rates of effectiveness, which can be increased when spermicide is also used. Like condoms, they must be replaced every time.
Patch, pill, shots, vaginal ring – These are various methods of administering birth control medications. They are maintained on a schedule, ranging from daily (if you are taking pills) to monthly (replacing vaginal rings). These methods are more convenient than single-use birth control, but can easily be discontinued.
Implant, IUD (intrauterine device) – These semi-permanent methods provide consistent protection for years, without sterilization.
Factors to consider when choosing birth control
Because there are so many factors involved, the best way to explore birth control options is an in-depth discussion with your gynecologist. We will provide guidance, helping you choose the best solution for your unique needs. You are encouraged to ask questions and voice any concerns or preferences you have.
A few of the most important factors affecting your choice will include:
STD (sexually transmitted disease) protection – If you are sexually active, pregnancy is not the only concern. Condoms are not known as the most convenient or effective method of birth control. However, they are the only option that also protects against STD’s. Many couples use dual birth control, such as condoms and the pill. This increases the protection against pregnancy, and also provides some protection from disease.
Convenience – Do you have trouble remembering to take pills on schedule? Are you uncomfortable asking your partner to wear a condom? Do you object to birth control interfering with spontaneous intimacy? Before settling on a birth control method, be sure that you are comfortable with it, and that it works with your lifestyle.
Effectiveness – No birth control method (except abstinence) is 100 percent effective, but some are very close. Statistics can be a bit confusing. Some methods work quite well under ideal circumstances but may be highly subject to human error. The most accurate effectiveness rating are based on “typical use” data, which is calculated from the average percentage of unintended pregnancies that occur within the first year of using the method. Implants are rated the most effective with a .05 percent pregnancy rating, while spermicide (used alone, without a diaphragm or condom) has the lowest rating at 28 percent pregnancies.
Permanency – Are you planning to start a family in a few months? Are you absolutely certain you never want to become pregnant at any time in the future? Or somewhere in between? This is an important factor in your decision. Birth control options may be as temporary as condoms, or as permanent as surgical sterilization. There are also many temporary, long-term solutions that provide protection for months or years.
Frequency of use – Spermicide alone provides poor protection, but it increases the effectiveness of other birth control such as condoms or diaphragms. However, if used often it can irritate vaginal tissue, leaving you more susceptible to certain infections.
Health considerations – Oral contraceptive treatment, better known as “the pill,” is one of the best known and most popular forms of birth control. These medications can cause unwanted side effects such as breast tenderness, and it is not appropriate for women with certain medical conditions. They can also decrease or stop menstrual periods and the accompanying symptoms such as cramping and bloating. Similarly, many other forms of birth control have potential health benefits as well as risks. “Safe and healthy” is different for every woman. Be sure to discuss any medical conditions and health concerns with your gynecologist when discussing birth control options.
To learn about the best birth control method for you, call us at 855-346-8610 and schedule a consultation.
Jenkins Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Medicine
Gynecologist Katy TX - Open Quote He delivered both of my girls (now 5 & 3) and I think about him and his staff almost daily. He is the best doctor and an awesome person. He will always have a place in my heart! Gynecologist Katy TX