Tips for Choosing Your Ideal Birth Control Method

 Tips for Choosing Your Ideal Birth Control Method

The good news when it comes to birth control is that there’s a great solution for most every situation. The bad news is that the sheer number of choices can make it confusing. Here’s what you should consider.

Family planning has been called one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, right alongside vaccines. The ability for women to control when (or if) they have children, and how many, has enabled women freedom to lead the lives they desire.

At the heart of family planning is birth control, and there are options that fit most every goal and situation. In fact, if you’re trying to figure out which birth control option is best for you, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming.

The team here at Bay Area Physicians for Women’s Health has helped scores of women find the best contraception for their needs, and we’re going to outline a few of the considerations we discuss with our patients in this month’s blog post.

The different types of birth control

To give a broad view of birth control, it’s helpful to break the choices down into these categories:

  • Hormonal — using hormones to control ovulation
  • Barrier — creating a barrier that prevents sperm from reaching your eggs
  • Fertility awareness — avoiding sex when you’re most likely to get pregnant
  • Permanent — procedures that eliminate your ability to get pregnant

Each of these methods, except for the permanent ones, are reversible, which means you can start building your family whenever you’re ready.

Now that we understand the field of choices a little better, let's take a look at what you should consider when considering birth control.

Looking for the least amount of hassle?

An important consideration is how much effort you want to put into your birth control. For example, there are many on-the-spot methods, such as condoms, diaphragms, and sponges, that require you to take a moment to put these devices into place before you have intercourse.

Or, if you tend to be forgetful, a daily oral contraceptive may not be your best choice because if you skip pills, your protection drops considerably.

If you want a birth control method that requires the least amount of work on your part, you might want to consider:

  • An intrauterine device (IUD) that can last from 3-12 years
  • A hormonal injection every three months
  • Hormonal implants, which can last up to five years
  • A monthly hormonal vaginal ring

Once in place (or administered), each of these methods requires no further effort on your end.

Want the best protection?

If you want to focus on a birth control options that offer the best protection rates, we recommend the following, which we list with their corresponding efficacy ratings:

  • IUD — 99%
  • Birth control implant — 99%
  • Birth control injections — 96%
  • Rings, patches, and pills — 93%

The only birth control that offers 100% protection is abstinence or outercourse.

Want to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections?

If you want to prevent pregnancy and avoid sexually transmitted diseases, there are only two ways to go about this: 1) Condoms (both male and female); and 2) Abstinence.

Controlling your periods and pregnancy?

If you want to regulate your menstrual cycles because your periods are anything but normal or timely, most of the hormonal birth control methods work well in this regard. Hormonal birth control methods rely on estrogen and/or progestin, which can not only control ovulation, they also thin the lining of your uterus so that you bleed less.

Of course, there may be other considerations that are unique to you, and we’re happy to sit down with you to help you choose the best birth control for your needs. To get started, please contact our office in Mobile, Alabama, to set up an appointment.