What Are My Birth Control Options?

What Are My Birth Control Options?

Having children just isn’t part of your plans right now, and you want to explore your options for preventing pregnancy. There are plenty, and we break them down here so that you can make a decision that best suits your needs.

You aren’t at a point in life where children would fit in well, so you want to explore your options for preventing an unplanned pregnancy. The good news is that there are plenty, which is also the bad news. 

Many women are overwhelmed by the sheer number of birth control options, so the team of women’s health experts here at Bay Area Physicians for Women’s Health thought we’d take a closer look at contraception.

Here, we break down the different approaches for preventing pregnancy so that you can find one that best suits your lifestyle and your goals.

Hormonal birth control methods

One of the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy is through hormonal birth controls that regulate your hormones in a way that interferes with ovulation.

We can deliver the short-term hormones to you in a number of different ways, including:

  • Daily oral pills
  • Patches
  • Monthly injections
  • Vaginal rings

These methods require vigilance on your part — you need to keep up with the daily pills, weekly patches, monthly rings, or injections every three months. Taken correctly, these short-acting hormonal birth controls offer excellent protection rates in the upper 90th percentile.

If you prefer a long-term hormonal approach that requires less scheduling on your end, we suggest an intrauterine device (IUD) or an implant. We insert the IUD into your uterus or the implant into your arm. Both slowly release hormones into your system. Hormonal IUDs can last from five to eight years and implants from three to five years.

Barrier methods

To become pregnant, sperm has to reach and fertilize your egg. If you’d prefer not to tinker with your hormones, we suggest barrier birth controls to prevent pregnancy, including:

  • Condoms — both male and female
  • Sponges
  • Diaphragms
  • Cervical caps
  • Spermicides
  • Copper IUDs

Outside of the copper IUD and tubal ligation, each of these methods are spot methods, which means you use them each time you have intercourse. 

The copper IUD, on the other hand, is a long-lasting barrier control that offers up to 10 years of protection. The reason we include this under barrier control is that copper is a natural sperm and egg repellent.

Natural birth control

If you want a natural approach to preventing pregnancy, you have several options:

  • Fertility awareness
  • Withdrawal and outercourse
  • Abstinence

Although abstinence and outercourse are effective, withdrawal and fertility awareness are less reliable when it comes to preventing pregnancy.

Permanent birth control solutions

If children simply aren’t part of your future and you’re sure of this, there are two, more permanent options — tubal ligation and vasectomy. With a tubal ligation, we clip off your Fallopian tubes to prevent your eggs from ever encountering sperm. A vasectomy is a procedure that your male partner undergoes in which his sperm is prevented from reaching an egg.

Hopefully, we’ve given you some information that will help narrow your choices. If you’d like to explore your options further, please contact our staff in Mobile, Alabama, to set up an appointment.