Birth Control

Contraception or birth control refers to any method, medicine, or device used to prevent pregnancy. There are numerous types of birth control available to women; some are more effective than others. The method of birth control you use is determined by your health, desire to have children now or in the future, and desire to avoid sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor can advise you on which type is right for you.

What is birth control?

Contraception, or birth control, is the method of using medications, devices, or surgery to prevent pregnancy. Some of these measures are reversible, while others are not. Some types of birth control can also aid in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Types of birth control

There are several types of birth control that work in different ways:


Male condom

This thin sheath wraps around the male reproductive organ to collect sperm and keep it from entering the woman's body. Condoms made of latex and polyurethane can aid in the prevention of STDs.

Female condom

This is a flexible, thin plastic pouch.  A portion of the female condom is inserted into the female reproductive organ before intercourse to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Female condoms can also aid in the prevention of STDs.

Contraceptive sponge

A small sponge covers the cervix in the female reproductive organ (the opening of the uterus). The sponge also contains a spermicide, which is used to kill sperm.


A substance capable of killing sperm cells. It is available in the form of foam, jelly, cream, suppository, or film. It is inserted into the female reproductive organ near the uterus. Spermicide may be used alone or in conjunction with a diaphragm or cervical cap.

Diaphragm and cervical cap

These cups are inserted into the female reproductive organ to cover the cervix. They can be combined with spermicide. Since they come in various sizes, it’s best to consult with your doctor to determine which one is best for you.


Oral contraceptives (‘the pill’)

These are pills that a woman takes daily. They can be progestin-only or progestin-and-estrogen.

Contraceptive patch

It is a patch that a woman applies to her skin once a week. Hormones are released into the bloodstream by the patch.

Vaginal ring

A vaginal ring is a thin and flexible ring. The woman inserts the ring into her vagina, continuously releasing hormones for three weeks. She does not use it during the fourth week and replaces the old ring with a new one.

Injectable birth control

Hormone injection is given to a woman every three months. This procedure is usually performed at the provider's office.


A single, thin rod is inserted under the skin of a woman's upper arm, and it has a four-year lifespan.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives

Intrauterine device (IUD)

A small, T-shaped device is inserted into the uterus by a doctor. IUDs have a lifespan of 3 to 10 years. There are two kinds of IUDs: hormonal IUDs and copper IUDs.


Tubal ligation

A surgical procedure that prevents a woman from becoming pregnant. It is irreversible.


A procedure that prevents a man from becoming pregnant. It is irreversible.

Other methods of pregnancy prevention

Some methods of pregnancy prevention do not involve medications, devices, or surgery:

Fertility awareness-based methods

They are also referred to as natural rhythm methods. They entail tracking the woman's fertility cycle and abstaining from sex or using barrier methods on the days she is most likely to become pregnant. This method has a higher chance of resulting in pregnancy than others.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method (LAM)

This is a natural birth control method used by breastfeeding mothers. It is predicated on the new mother breastfeeding her baby exclusively for up to six months and not having periods or spotting during that time.


Before ejaculation, the male reproductive organ is pulled out of the female reproductive organ during intercourse. The goal is to keep sperm out of the female reproductive organ. However, the sperm can leak out before the male reproductive organ is pulled out. This method has a relatively higher pregnancy rate than others.

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception should not be used as a regular method of birth control.

However, it can prevent pregnancy following unprotected intercourse or if a condom fails.

There are two types of emergency contraception:

  • Within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse, a provider inserts a copper IUD, a small, T-shaped device, into the female’s uterus. 
  • Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are hormonal pills that a woman can take as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.

Which method is the best for me?

There is no one-size-fits-all method for birth control. The practice that would be best for you and your partner is determined by various factors and may change over time.

Before deciding on a birth control method, consult with your doctor or nurse about:

  • If and when you want to have a child 
  • How effective is each method at preventing pregnancy
  • Potential side effects
  • How frequently do you have sex?
  • Your total number of sex partners
  • Your general health
  • How confident are you in using the method? (Can you, for example, remember to take a pill daily? Or will you have to remind your partner to use a condom every time?)

Learn about the various types of birth control methods that you and your partner can use to avoid pregnancy.

Bear in mind that even the most effective birth control methods can fail. However, if you use a more effective method, your chances of becoming pregnant will reduce.

Age and health history

Your age and birth control

Your birth control requirements and preferences may change as you get older. Your lifestyle and medical history may also change, influencing your decisions.

1. Teenage birth control

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), nearly half of all high school students in the United States have engaged in sexual activity.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as:

  • Copper IUD  
  • IUD hormonal
  • Implantable contraception

If your doctor inserts an IUD or a birth control implant into your uterus, it will provide continuous pregnancy protection 24 hours a day. These contraptions are 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy. Depending on the type of device, they can last up to 3 years, 5 years, or 12 years.

Birth control containing estrogen, on the other hand, can increase your risk of blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. So it should be avoided.

2. Birth control in your twenties and thirties

Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), such as an IUD or birth control implant, aren't just for teenagers. These methods are also an effective and convenient option for women in their twenties and thirties.

Any of these birth control methods are safe to use for most adult women. However, if you have a history of certain medical conditions or risk factors, your doctor may advise you to avoid certain alternatives.

If you are over 35 and smoke, your doctor may advise you to avoid estrogen-containing birth control. This type of birth control can increase your chances of having a stroke.

3. Avoiding pregnancy in your 40s

Although fertility declines with age, many women can become pregnant in their forties. If you're having sexual relations and don't want to get pregnant, you should use birth control until you've reached menopause.

If you are certain that you do not want to become pregnant in the future, sterilization surgery is a viable and permanent option. Consult a doctor if you are considering it.

If you do not want surgery, an IUD or birth control implant is an effective and simple alternative. The pill, shot, skin patch, and vaginal ring are slightly less effective but viable options.

How often do you have sex?

Abstinence is the only certain way to avoid pregnancy because it completely prevents STDs and pregnancy.

If you're going to have sex regularly, the best way to avoid pregnancy is to use a highly effective and convenient birth control method (such as an IUD or implant) along with a condom. Condoms are also effective if one does not have sex regularly.

Other birth control methods, such as the pill, ring, patch, and shot, can also help prevent pregnancy if used correctly. If you take the birth control pill every day as directed, you are always protected from pregnancy, no matter how frequently you have sex. You are equally protected whether you have sex a few times a day or a few times a month. The pill prevents your ovaries from producing eggs.

No. of sexual partners

When you're in a committed relationship with just one person, one method of contraception, such as the pill, an IUD, or an implant, is usually enough. However, if you have multiple partners, you should also use condoms.


Any method of contraception must be used consistently and correctly to be impactful. IUDs, contraceptive implants, and sterilization are all associated with lower pregnancy rates. On the other hand, methods that require fertility monitoring or periodic abstinence are associated with higher pregnancy rates. Choose a birth control method whose effectiveness you and your partner are comfortable with.


Your reproductive goals determine your contraception method of choice. If you intend to become pregnant soon, you may prefer a method that can be easily stopped or reversed, such as a short-acting hormonal or a barrier method. If you want to avoid pregnancy for an extended period of time, you may want to consider a long-acting method, such as an IUD. If you are certain that you do not wish to become pregnant in the future, you may prefer a permanent method, such as sterilization. Different contraceptive methods may work for you at different stages of your life.


It is critical to select a type of birth control that is appropriate for your lifestyle.

For some people, the most convenient form of birth control is simple to use, has no unpleasant side effects, and does not interfere with their sexual experience. Others prefer that no prescription be required. Consider how willing you are to plan ahead or adhere to a strict medication schedule when selecting a method of birth control.


Some methods of contraception are inexpensive, while others are more expensive. Inquire with your insurance provider about your coverage, and then weigh the cost in your decision.


Consider your tolerance for the potential side effects of a specific birth control method. Some methods have more side effects, some of which are potentially serious. Discuss your medical history with your doctor and how it affects your choice of birth control.

Protection against STDs

Male and female condoms are the only birth control methods that provide reliable protection against sexually transmitted infections. Use a new condom every time you have sex, in addition to any other method of birth control, unless you are in a mutually monogamous relationship and have been tested for sexually transmitted infections.

Acceptable to partner

Your partner's birth control preferences may be similar to or dissimilar to yours. Discuss birth control options with your partner to see which method is best for you.


When making such an important decision as birth control, it is essential to have all the facts in hand. Fortunately, numerous options are available for both short and long-term use, so if one or more methods don't work for you, you'll eventually find one that does. If you have any questions or concerns regarding birth control, consult your doctor or contact us. We would be more than happy to assist.

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