Pills, patches, rings, IUDs, implants and surgery
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 HIV 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. 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 combination pill prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, so an egg is not released from the ovaries every month. It can also help with other problems associated with periods and hormones like PMS, ovarian cyst formation, irregular periods, and acne. Using the pill for more than five years can also reduce your risk of ovarian cancer.
The Vaginal Ring
The vaginal ring contains estrogen and progestin and is inserted inside the vagina. The hormones are absorbed into the blood stream through the cervix. Like the pill, the ring helps prevent ovulation.
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. Hormonal IUDs can help with heavy periods and can even be a treatment for pre-cancerous changes in the uterus. The non-hormonal IUD uses copper to act as a spermicide. This IUD may make periods longer, heavier, and a little more crampy.
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.