The many types of birth control available today can be overwhelming. At Women’s Health Professionals, our team will help you find the choice that is right for you and your partner.
Below you’ll find some basic information about some of the most popular birth control options:
These work primarily by preventing ovulation. Birth control pills increase the body’s levels of hormones like estrogen and progesterone causing the body to skip the natural ovulation cycle. If taken daily, as directed, the pill is nearly 100% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Often called Ortho Evra, its brand name, the birth control patch works similarly to birth control pills. The patch is placed on the skin at regular intervals and works by releasing hormones that stop the ovulation cycle. If used following regular directions, the patch can be very effective.
Commonly known as NuvaRing, this birth control method involves placing a small plastic ring inside the vagina for three weeks at a time. As with pills and the patch, the body’s hormones are increased preventing the body from undergoing ovulation. Again, if used properly and regularly, the ring is very effective at preventing pregnancy.
The birth control shot employs the same method of hormonal prevention as pills, patches and rings. However, the shot is used to prevent pregnancy for up to three months at a time.
Typically called by its brand name, Implanon is a small, thin implantable hormonal contraceptive that is effective for up to three years. Implanon is more than 99% effective when inserted correctly. Implanon prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of the egg from the ovary while also thickening the cervical mucus, which serves as a barrier preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg.
Implanon is discreet, as most women cannot see the implantation after it is inserted. Implanon is also reversible. Once removed, your ability to become pregnant returns quickly.
Often called IUDs, an intrauterine device, is a small, plastic, flexible, T-shaped device that is placed into a woman's uterus for birth control. IUDs can be left in place for up to five or even ten years depending on the type of device used.
Some IUDs contain copper, which is slowly released into the uterine cavity. The copper stops the sperm from making it through the vagina and uterus to reach the egg, thus preventing fertilization. Other types of IUDs release the hormone progestin, which causes the cervical mucus to become thicker so the sperm cannot reach the egg. The hormone also changes the lining of the uterus, so implantation of a fertilized egg cannot occur. Intrauterine devices are 98%-99% effective for birth control.
One of the newest innovations in birth control, Essure, is a permanent method which can be performed in our office in as little as 10 minutes. The process involves placing soft, flexible inserts into the fallopian tubes which work together with the body to block the entrance to the uterus. During the three-months after the procedure, you will need to use another method of birth control. However, after three months, your doctor will check to see that Essure is in place and working. Then, you will be able to rely on Essure for future birth control.
This process is usually referred to as “tying the tubes” and involves the surgical closing of the fallopian tubes, permanently preventing sperm from reaching the eggs. While this method is considered a permanent form of birth control, it is important to note that there is always a minute percentage of failure with this procedure as with any type of birth control.
Finally, there are the more traditional yet still common methods of family planning. These include the use of condoms (male and female), the rhythm method and the withdrawal method. If your desire is to prevent pregnancy, there are many viable options, and our staff is ready to help you find the best method for you.