It is normal to feel overwhelmed by all the contraceptive options available. Obstetricians at Suncoast Women’s Care receive numerous questions from patients about choosing the right contraception. You can choose from three different categories of birth control methods. The best option will ultimately depend on your health history and personal preferences, amongst other factors.
Oral contraceptives or birth control pills
Oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progesterone to modify the ovulation process. The pack of pills is designed to be taken in 28 days, with hormonal pills for the first 21. Non-hormonal pills are consumed for the seven days of the cycle.
Some studies indicate birth control pills are the most common form of contraceptive in the US. They have a low rate of failure, with only 3 in 1000 women getting pregnant. But timing errors can reduce the efficacy of birth control pills.
Some women experience side effects when using birth control pills. The side effects may include acne, elevated blood pressure, nausea, and bloating. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, your OB/GYN may suggest a different contraceptive method.
Barrier birth control methods
As the name suggests, barrier methods utilize materials to physically block the sperm from entering the uterus. They may include implants like IUDs, condoms, or diaphragms placed over the cervix.
- Condoms: Condoms are the most common and readily available contraceptive method. They prevent pregnancies and have the additional benefit of protecting you from STIs. Female condoms do not rely on the male partner’s ability to sustain an erection. Proper use is essential for maximum protection from STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
- IUD: An IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a birth control method where a device is implanted into the uterus. Copper IUDs prevent ovulation by increasing the cervical mucus thickness. It stops sperm before it gets to the fallopian tubes.
- Diaphragm: A diaphragm is a barrier with spermicides placed on the cervix. It is inserted into the vaginal canal before sexual intercourse, and patients must retain it for at least six hours. It is more affordable than other contraceptive methods and does not affect the menstrual cycle. But the diaphragm relies on proper use, which impacts its effectiveness.
- Vaginal Ring: A vaginal ring is inserted into the vagina. The ring releases hormones slowly over three weeks. It is highly effective and may ease premenstrual symptoms. However, you’ll need to replace it every month.
Hybrid contraceptives utilize physical barriers and hormonal action to prevent pregnancy. Hormonal IUDs are one type of hybrid contraceptive. IUDs release hormones while creating a barrier to limit ovulation. They are a form of long-acting contraceptives, meaning they prevent pregnancy for extended periods. It is reversible, and you can get pregnant after removing the IUD.
Patients may choose a contraceptive method based on its ease of use or lifestyle. Your OB/GYN will arrange a consultation to evaluate your health and discuss your personal preferences. The team at Sanctuary Cosmetic Center aims to assist you in attaining your family planning and health goals.
Contact the team at Sanctuary Cosmetic Center to schedule an appointment with a certified OB/GYN today.