There are *MANY* different kinds of birth control options. They vary in price, difficulty to use, availability, side effects,
and cost. Choosing the birth control that is right for you can be an experience. To make a choice, you must first know the
facts about different types of birth control. What works well for one person may not be a good choice for another, so research
your options and talk to your healthcare provider to make a birth control choice that works well for you.
The NuvaRing is a ring that is worn internally, on the opening of the cervix. It releases hormones which help to protect against
pregnancy. The ring is worn for three weeks a month, then taken out for one week in order to have a period. You must use a
new ring every month. The NuvaRing is up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy.
IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)
An IUD is a small device shaped like a T. It is placed inside of the uterus and it releases a small amount of hormones, which
help to prevent pregnancy. The arms of the IUD contain copper, which prevent sperm from entering the uterus. The IUD can stay
in your uterus for up to 10 years. It is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. An IUD requires visits with a health care
provider to have it inserted and to check to make sure it stays in place.
Orthro-Evra (also known as The Patch) is a patch worn on the skin. It releases progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream.
You put on a new patch once a week for three weeks, then do not wear a patch during the fourth week in order to have a period.
The patch is up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Depo-Provera is a shot of hormones that is given every three months by a healthcare provider. It is up to 99% effective at
preventing pregnancy. Depo-Provera can be a good choice for individuals who want to use hormonal birth control, but can’t
remember to take a pill daily. When first starting Depo-Provera, a common side effect is constant menstrual bleeding, which
can last up to several months. After being on Depo-Provera for a while, you may have a very light and short period, or you
may not experience any bleeding at all.
Emergency contraception can be used up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is an extra strength dose
of birth control pills, which is taken orally. It is around 80% effective at preventing pregnancy. Emergency contraception
can be used when other methods of birth control fail or were not used. It has side effects, including nausea, vomiting, and
headaches. You must obtain a prescription for emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is only effective for up to
72 hours after unprotected sex occurs, so you must act immediately to obtain this method.
Oral contraceptives (also known as The Pill) are small pills, taken daily at the same time of day, that contain two hormones,
estrogen and progestin, which stop eggs from being released from the ovaries. The pill is 92% effective at preventing pregnancy.
You must see a healthcare provider to get a prescription for the Pill. The Pill can help regulate irregular menstrual cycles,
clear up acne, lighten menstrual flow, and lessen the pain of menstrual cramps. The Pill is not usually recommended for heavy
smokers because of the increased risk of heart disease.
Male condoms are worn over a man’s penis during sexual activity. When used correctly and worn for the duration of sex,
including foreplay, condoms have an 85% chance of preventing pregnancy, and they also prevent the transmission of sexually
transmitted diseases. Condoms can only be used once. They should be stored in a cool, dry place to prevent any tears or cracks
from forming. If a condom breaks during sex or foreplay, discard it immediately and use a new one. Only latex or polyurethane
condoms protect against STDs. Lambskin condoms have tiny pores, so they do not offer full protection from STDs. Condoms may
be used in combination with any other birth control method for added protection. Male condoms can be purchased over the counter
at most stores.
How to use a condom
Female condoms are worn inside of the woman’s vagina. They can be inserted up to 24 hours before sexual intercourse.
Female condoms are 80% effective in preventing pregnancy, and they also offer protection against STDs. Because female condoms
are made of polyurethane, they can be used by people with latex allergies. Female condoms can be purchased over the counter
at most stores.
Hormonal birth control comes in four forms: pills taken by mouth every day which contain hormones, a patch which contains
hormones and is worn on the body, a ring containing hormones that is worn internally around the cervix, and injections of
hormones. You must see a healthcare provider to obtain a prescription for hormonal birth control. If you are using the injection
form, you must visit a healthcare provider every 1-3 months (depending on which form you use) to get the shot. Side effects
of hormonal birth control can include breast cancer risks, spotting, mood swings or depression, decreased libido, and an increased
risk of heart disease and certain cancers. If you have a history of depression, talk to your healthcare provider to decide
whether or not hormonal birth control is right for you. Hormonal birth control offers no protection against STDs.
Permanent Birth Control: Permanent birth control, or sterilization, is only recommended if you are absolutely sure you do
not want any children, or if you have had children and do not wish to have any more. It can be reversible, but it is a difficult
process that doesn’t always work. A vasectomy keeps sperm from traveling to a man’s penis, so his ejaculate does
not contain any sperm. It is up to 99.5% effective at preventing pregnancy. Vasectomy is a non-invasive, low-risk operation.
It does not protect against STDs. A tubal ligation stops eggs from traveling to a woman’s uterus. It is up to 99.5%
effective at preventing pregnancy. It is a surgical procedure, and it has more risks than vasectomy. It does not protect against
the transmission of STDs.