Your Birth Control Options
Barrier methods create a physical barrier that’s designed to prevent bodily fluids from passing from one person to another. In addition to preventing pregnancy, certain barrier methods can help prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Some examples of barrier methods include condoms, female condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, sponges, and dental dams.
Condoms are a mechanical barrier that prevent direct vaginal contact with semen, infectious genital secretions, and genital lesions and discharge. Latex condoms are available without a prescription and are the most effective method for reducing the risk of infection from the viruses that cause AIDS and other STIs.
Oral contraceptives—also known as the pill—have been a safe and effective method of birth control for more than 35 years. The pill prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, so an egg is not released from the ovaries every month. There are two types of contraceptive pills to discuss with your provider: the combination pill (contains both estrogen and progestin), and the progestin-only pill, or mini pill.
The Vaginal Ring and the Patch
The vaginal ring and the patch are similar to oral contraceptives as they both suppress ovulation. These methods are a good alternative for anyone who may not want to take a pill every day.
The Vaginal Ring
The vaginal ring contains estrogen and progestin and is inserted inside the vagina. It is meant to stay in place for three weeks at a time before being removed for one week. The hormones are absorbed into the blood stream through the cervix.
The birth control patch contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. It’s attached to your skin like a bandage and can be worn on the belly, upper arm, buttocks, or back. The hormones are absorbed through the skin and into the body. The patch needs to be changed on the same day every week for three weeks, and then removed for one week.
The implantable contraceptive rod is a small matchstick-sized rod embedded with progestin. It is inserted under the skin of your upper arm where it steadily releases contraceptive. The rod can last for three years without replacement.
Depo-Provera is a progestin-only hormonal injection that’s administered by a health professional every 12 weeks. It prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and changing the uterine lining to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs)
Intra-uterine devices (IUDs) are T-shaped devices that are inserted in your uterus by a healthcare professional. They can remain inserted and effective for up to 10 years and have hormonal and non-hormonal options.
Permanent Birth Control
If you’re certain that you don’t want children in the future, then you may want to consider permanent birth control, like tubal ligation. This is considered permanent because it is difficult to reverse with a return to full fertility.
Fertility Awareness and Natural Family Planning
Fertility awareness methods like natural family planning (NFP) use bodily signs like body temperature and cervical mucus to determine when you’re in your most fertile window and to indicate when ovulation has already occurred. This method requires careful daily tracking.
Choose the Birth Control Method That’s Suited for You
We’re here to help you choose the birth control method that fits your lifestyle the best. Your provider will take the time to talk with you privately about your options, so you can come to the right decision. Contact your provider or locate the Women’s Health Arizona provider nearest you to make an appointment today!