Birth Control Basics
Pregnancy can be the most beautiful and fulfilling experience in a woman’s life. But an unplanned pregnancy can also throw your life into turmoil. Birth control can help you plan your pregnancies so that both you and your partner are prepared physically, emotionally – and, yes– financially, too.
Finding the birth control method that’s right for you means understanding the options, how well they work, and any possible side effects. Understanding how each method works will help you use it correctly and maximize effectiveness.
Also keep in mind that most birth control methods do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s).
Ask your doctor which choices might be best for you, and then make an informed decision. Like many women, you may find that different methods are right for different stages of your life.
Birth control pills
Oral contraceptives are one of the most popular forms of birth control. There are many different brands of “the pill” with differing levels of hormones. Talk to your doctor about choosing the right pill for you.
This is a flexible plastic ring with controlled-release progestin and estrogen. You wear it for 21 days, remove it for 7 days – during your period – and insert a new one. You can insert and remove the ring yourself, without a doctor visit.
Depo- Provera Injection
If it’s not convenient to take a pill every day, you may prefer to receive hormone injections. These are given every three months. Irregular bleeding is one potential drawback of this method.
The “morning after” pill
If you have sex without any birth control, or if a method has failed (a condom failed or missed a pill), just remember there are emergency alternatives available. Your local pharmacy has plan B or generics available over the counter. These should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, to greatly reduce your chances of becoming pregnant.
Nexplanon is the small, thin and flexible arm implant containing progesterone that provides up to 3 years of continuous birth control. It’s placed discreetly under the skin of your inner, upper arm by your health care provider. It’s also reversible and can be removed by your health care provider at any time during the 3-year period.
Intrauterine devices, or IUDs as they are commonly known, are small plastic devices inserted into the uterus by your doctor. They are about 99% effective.
Mirena® is a hormone-releasing IUD that is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy for as long as you want, for up to 5 years. Mirena can be used whether or not you have had a child. Mirena also treats heavy periods in women who choose intrauterine contraception.
PARAGARD® is a small, soft and flexible T-shaped device primarily made of plastic and copper that your healthcare professional places in your uterus at an office visit. It can last for as long as you want, up to 10 years, and can easily be removed at any time.
KYLEENA is a different kind of birth control option. It’s as effective as the pill, but unlike the pill, you don’t have to remember to take it everyday. Kyleena is a hormone-releasing IUD that prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years.
Sterilization is the surgical blockage of the pathways for egg or sperm. Either a man or women can be sterilized. This is meant to be a permanent form of birth control, so consider it carefully before you decide.
Reversal procedures are often ineffective, and require expensive major surgery. And they are generally not covered by medical insurance.
Tubal sterilization for women
There are several different procedures but they all involve cutting, blocking or removing the fallopian tubes, so that an egg cannot descend into the cervix and get fertilized. These are performed under a general anesthetic.
Another option that does not require general anesthetic (and that we can perform in the comfort of our clinics) is the Essure® procedure, which is the only non-surgical permanent birth control available.
Non-surgical—Essure is a short 10-minute procedure that can be performed right in your doctor’s office. There’s no downtime to recover—most women go home within 45 minutes and resume normal activities in 1-2 days. Essure is 99.83% effective and does not contain or release hormones.
CLICK HERE to learn about how you may be able to get the Essure procedure at no cost.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Essure.