Finding the right birth control can seem a bit overwhelming-- after all, there are more than 20 methods to prevent pregnancy. Before making your decision, it's important to research options and educate yourself and your partner. We're here to inform you about the most commonly used methods, and key factors to consider to help you make the best decision possible.
Most Commonly Used Birth Control Methods
According to an online study at guttmacher,
"Sixty-seven percent of women who practice contraception currently use nonpermanent methods, primarily hormonal methods (the pill, patch, implant, injectable and vaginal ring), IUDs, and condoms. The rest rely on female (25%) or male (8%) sterilization."
Let's take a closer look at these methods.
The pill is a fairly simple method for women. There's an extremely important caveat - you must remember to take your pill every day, at the same time. Most birth control pills require consistency to ensure proper prevention. The hormones in birth control pills stop ovulation, which is necessary for conception to happen. There are many different brands and hormonal makeups, so it's best to discuss what pill is best with your OB/GYN. A bit of advice: if you're a sleep-deprived new mom, you may want to try another method. When my son barely slept, remembering to take a pill every day wasn't a safe option for me. Also, the pill doesn't protect against STD's, so condoms should also be used if needed.
The patch is placed on your skin (preferably in the same spot) each week, for three weeks. The final week, there isn't a patch worn. The patch delivers hormones that prevent ovulation making it a reliable birth control option. Consistency is just as important here, and the patch doesn't prevent against STIs. A good idea to make this part of your routine is to send yourself iphone alerts or set up a recurring alarm.
For women looking for a longer lasting prevention methos, there is an implant that is placed in the arm that can last 4 years. The implant prevents ovulation making it nearly impossible to become pregnant. This is a great option for women who don't want to worry about taking a pill or using a patch. You can have the implant removed if plans change -- maybe you want to add to your family, or try to conceive for the first time. Personally I think this option is great if I were able to get over the fact that it reminds me of when I got my pet microchipped.
IUDs are T shaped devices that are placed into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are several brands that are available to women, and they can be removed at anytime. IUDs are great for women who are done having children, or who don't want to become pregnant at all or in the upcoming years. IUDs prevent pregnancy by impacting the way sperm move -- pretty cool, huh? They did this by changing a woman's cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg, or preventing ovulation completely.
Condoms provide an extra layer of protections against STIs and STDs, but according to Planned Parenthood are only 82% effective. Gosh, I wish this statistic was plastered across my high school walls back in the day! Planned Parenthood does share some tips to increase your chances of preventing pregnancy, and recommends pairing them with the pill or an IUD. Couples in committed and monogomous relationships may find this method a bit unreliable or unneccesary.
Choosing your contraception method is a personal decision that shouldn't be taken lightly. It's important that both you and our partner are on board with your prevention methods. We are fortunate to have many options that prevent pregnancy, even if it seems daunting at first. If you feel like you need to learn more, Planned Parenthood takes a close look at each method of contraception.