Birth Control Facts
How do I obtain birth control?
You can get some types of birth control, like condoms and spermicides, at your local drugstore or pharmacy. Any hormonal type of birth control method, including oral contraceptives, the IUD, the ring and the shot, will need to be prescribed by a doctor. One advantage of a doctor visit is the ability to discuss the pros and cons of each birth control option. We assist you in selecting a method of Birth Control suitable for your individual needs.
Weigh your options carefully regarding birth control methods to decide which one will be the best, safest, and most effective form of birth control for you.
What types of birth control options are there to choose from?
Each birth control method works differently to prevent pregnancy and each has a different rate of effectiveness, risks, benefits, and side effects. Most commonly used birth control methods fall into a few main categories. Hormonal methods use hormones to keep you from ovulating and are available in different formats, from birth control pills to a ring, to a shot. Barrier methods prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg; condoms and spermicides are one of these birth control methods, and so is the diaphragm. There are also permanent birth control methods: tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men. They are both surgical procedures.
What type of birth control should I use?
You should use the birth control method that best meets your needs. Consider factors like cost, effectiveness, any birth control side effects, and how easy it is to get — do you need a prescription or have to visit your doctor? You want to make sure that it’s easy to use. For instance, if you think you will have trouble remembering to take a birth control pill every day, it may not be the best option for you.
Will I get pregnant if I have sex and don’t use birth control all the time?
The short answer is quite possibly. If you are ovulating (releasing an egg), about to ovulate, or have just ovulated and have unprotected sex, you could get pregnant. Ovulation generally occurs about two weeks after your last menstrual period, but women ovulate at different times, and it’s difficult to know exactly when you are ovulating. Also, sperm can remain alive inside the reproductive tract for as long as three days and fertilize an egg once it is released, resulting in a pregnancy. If you do not want to get pregnant, you should always use some form of birth control.
What type of birth control protects against sexually transmitted diseases?
Only a latex condom worn by the male partner can effectively protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. If you are at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted disease, you should always use a latex condom during sexual activity.
Which birth control option is the most effective?
While abstinence is the only 100 percent effective birth control method, there’s no doubt that birth control effects on avoiding pregnancy are significant: Most methods rarely result in pregnancy. Sterilization — permanent birth control (tubaligation and vasectomy) — have a better than 99 percent effective rate, meaning that less than one woman in 100 will get pregnant with this option; hormone shots and the intrauterine device (IUD), which is implanted in the uterus, have the same effectiveness. The pill and the contraceptive ring are next, with about 99 percent effectiveness. Of course, any birth control method must be used correctly in order to be effective.
Today, women have more birth control options to choose from than ever before — but that means you’ll need to do some research in order to find which one best fits your lifestyle.