The decision to start birth control is a big one. You should have the utmost confidence in your decision, and it should be guided by both facts and your personal preferences. To help you out, the expert obstetricians and gynecologists at New England Women’s Healthcare put together this guide to the most common types of birth control.
Different types of birth control
While there are nearly 20 types of birth control available, a select few reign in popularity and effectiveness. New England Women’s Healthcare offers the first three below because of their efficacy; the fourth, condoms, you can find at most drugstores, pharmacies and even online.
Also known as “the pill,” oral contraceptives are small pills that contain the hormone estrogen, progesterone, or both. You take the pill daily to keep your levels of these hormones higher than usual, which prevents ovulation (the release of an egg from your ovaries). Without ovulation, you can’t get pregnant. When you don’t miss doses, the pill is 99% effective. If you don’t consistently take your pills, however, the efficacy rate drops.
New England Women’s Healthcare offers Nexplanon®, a small implant that goes underneath the skin of your upper arm. The arm implant slowly and consistently releases the hormone progestin into your bloodstream, preventing ovulation. Nexplanon® can last up to three years and is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped devices implanted into your uterus. Similar to the arm implant, an IUD delivers consistent doses of hormones, though an IUD localizes the hormones to your reproductive organs. There are a few different types of IUDs; your OBGYN can help you decide which one is right for you.
Condoms shouldn’t be used alone as a contraceptive device. Condoms, both male and female versions, can easily break — if you aren’t on another form of birth control, sperm may enter the vagina and result in conception. However, condoms can serve as an additional layer of safety for those on one of the above forms of birth control.
How do I know which birth control is right for me?
Your decision should involve a careful evaluation of your personal values and beliefs, as well as a complete physical examination by a women’s health specialist. Try asking yourself these questions:
- How comfortable am I with the idea of a uterine insert?
- Am I confident in my ability to remember to take the pill every day?
- How careful are my partner and I?
- Can I trust myself to keep track of my ovulation and menstrual cycles?
- How do I feel about introducing hormones to my body?
Your answers to those questions, plus the results of your physical exam, should adequately guide your decision. During your exam, your doctor will ask questions about your health and look for any health conditions that might preclude you from a certain type of birth control.
To learn more, schedule an appointment with your New England Women’s Healthcare provider today. Call our Woburn, Massachusetts, clinic at 781-243-5777 or request an appointment online. You can also send the team a message here on the website.