The team at Athens ObGyn discusses your birth control options
There are many birth control options available to prevent pregnancy, and our doctors can help you understand the wide variety of choices. There is no one “best” option because you need to take several factors into account. These factors include when you want to get pregnant, your health, the birth control method’s effectiveness and its potential side effects.
LARC, or long-acting reversible contraceptives, are very effective birth control options
LARC methods are more effective than all the other forms of birth control, except sterilization. Known as “set it and forget it” contraceptives, these devices are more than 99% effective, meaning fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant in one year.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives include IUDs and birth control implants. Many contain progestin, which thickens cervical mucus and thins the uterine lining, making it difficult for the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg and for any fertilized egg to implant in the uterine lining. Copper IUDs are also available, and they prevent fertilization by releasing copper into the uterus. Doing so affects sperm movement and function. Once your doctor places one of these devices, you don’t have to worry about birth control for three to 10 years.
Hormonal contraceptives include birth control pills, injections, patches and rings
Hormonal contraceptives offer several birth control options for women. One is “the pill,” which is available as pills that contain estrogen and progestin or as progestin-only pills. You should ask your physician about the pros and cons of each type.
Contraceptives that contain hormones, whether combined or progestin-only, prevent conception by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg. About nine women out of 100 who use oral contraceptives correctly will get pregnant in one year. Birth control patches and vaginal rings have the same effectiveness rate. As for the birth control injection, only one out of every 100 women who receive it will get pregnant in one year.
Barrier methods prevent STIs but are the least effective way to prevent pregnancy
Most barrier methods are easily obtainable at pharmacies and other stores without a prescription. When women use these contraceptives, anywhere from 18 out of 100 to 28 out of 100 women will get pregnant in one year. Barrier birth control, including condoms, birth control sponges and spermicide, works by preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
Male and female condoms are the only contraceptives that help protect against STIs, or sexually transmitted infections, so you should use one every time you have sex in a non-exclusive relationship. Additionally, condoms can decrease inadvertent pregnancy rates when used with another form of contraception.
Contact us to talk to our ObGyns about your birth control options to prevent pregnancy.