Birth Control Facts
Birth control, also known as contraception, plays a significant role in family planning, reproductive health, and women’s empowerment. With various methods available today, it’s essential to understand the facts surrounding birth control to make informed choices that align with your health, lifestyle, and family goals. In this blog, we’ll explore key birth control facts to help you navigate this crucial aspect of sexual and reproductive health.
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 possible. 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.
Why is Birth Control Important?
Birth control is important for various reasons:
- Family Planning: It enables individuals to plan their families according to their desires and circumstances.
- Reproductive Health: Birth control methods can help manage and improve reproductive health conditions.
- Economic and Career Goals: It allows individuals to pursue education, career goals, and financial stability before starting a family.
- Health Considerations: In some cases, birth control methods can be used to manage health conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.
- Spacing and Timing of Children: Birth control helps in controlling the timing and spacing of pregnancies for healthier outcomes.
How Effective Are Different Birth Control Methods?
Effectiveness varies among birth control methods:
- Highly Effective: IUDs, hormonal implants, and sterilization methods have success rates exceeding 99%.
- Moderately Effective: Birth control pills, patches, injections, and condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are effective but not foolproof.
- Less Effective: Barrier methods like diaphragms and cervical caps have lower success rates.
- Emergency Contraception: Effectiveness depends on how soon it is taken after unprotected sex.
How Do Hormonal Birth Control Methods Work?
Hormonal birth control methods work by:
- Suppressing Ovulation: They inhibit the release of eggs from the ovaries.
- Thickening Cervical Mucus: Hormones make cervical mucus thicker, making it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
- Altering the Uterine Lining: Some hormonal methods alter the uterine lining, preventing implantation if fertilization occurs.
Are There Any Side Effects of Hormonal Birth Control?
Hormonal birth control can have side effects, including:
- Breast Tenderness
- Mood Changes
- Weight Gain
- Changes in Menstrual Cycle
- Blood Clot Risk (rare)
It’s essential to discuss potential side effects with a healthcare provider to find the right method for you.
Can I Get Pregnant Immediately After Stopping Hormonal Birth Control?
Fertility typically returns soon after stopping hormonal birth control. However, the timing can vary from person to person. Some individuals may become pregnant immediately, while others may take a few months for their menstrual cycles to regulate.
Can I Use Multiple Birth Control Methods Simultaneously?
Using multiple methods, known as dual protection, can enhance contraceptive effectiveness and provide additional protection against STIs. For example, combining condoms (a barrier method) with another contraceptive method can offer both pregnancy prevention and STI protection.
Can Birth Control Methods Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?
Most birth control methods do not protect against STIs. Condoms, both male and female, are the only birth control method that offers reliable protection against STIs. If you are at risk of contracting or spreading STIs, it’s advisable to use condoms consistently and consider getting tested regularly.
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. Schedule a consultation with us today and find the best birth control option for you!