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Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Contraception is an essential part of health care and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach for all women. Birth control is a safe and effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancies and gives you the power to decide when you’re ready to have children. When you start considering birth control options, you’ll find that you have a wide variety of options to choose from.

Board-certified OB/GYN Kiran Patel, MD, and board-certified family medicine physician Leela Patel, MD, provide comprehensive care to the community of Southwest Charleston. Whether you have questions about your fertility or need help choosing a form of birth control, the team at Patel & Patel are here to provide the guidance and support you need to make confident decisions about your reproductive health. 

In this post we break down your birth control options to give you a better idea of what’s available. 

Most effective birth control options

With an effectiveness rate of over 99%, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the contraceptive implant are the most effective birth control options. The following is more information about them. 

Non-hormonal IUD

The non-hormonal IUD is a small device that goes inside your uterus. It’s made of copper and causes changes that both destroy sperm and prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Without an egg to fertilize, pregnancy cannot occur. 

Hormonal IUD

The hormonal IUD releases small amounts of progestin that acts locally, which thins the lining of the uterus and thickens cervical mucus. These changes make it hard for sperm to reach an egg, preventing pregnancy.  

Hormonal IUDs prevent unwanted pregnancy for up to seven years, while the non-hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 12 years.  

Contraceptive implant

The contraceptive implant is a tiny, thin rod that goes into the upper arm. Once in place, the implant releases hormones that hinder ovulation to effectively prevent an unwanted pregnancy. 

Other effective birth control options

While IUDs and the contraceptive implant are the most effective options, there are other effective options to choose from. 

Birth control pills

Birth control pills interfere with monthly egg development to prevent pregnancy. You must take them everyday for them to work correctly. If you forget to take the pill on any given day, the effectiveness declines. When taken correctly, however, birth control pills are up to 97% effective on average.

Contraceptive patch

The contraceptive patch sticks to your skin and releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. You will wear a new patch each week for three weeks out of the month, skipping a week so that menstruation can occur. The contraceptive patch is 91% effective. 

Birth control shot

The birth control shot is an effective short-term option that prevents pregnancy for three months. They deliver hormones that prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg, which prevents unwanted pregnancy. The contraceptive shot is more than 94% effective.

What to consider when choosing a contraceptive

The birth control option that is right for you depends on various factors. Consider how long you want your contraceptive to last, and the level of maintenance you’re comfortable with. If you don’t plan on getting pregnant for several years, a long-term option may be a good choice. 

You must also consider your preference for hormonal or non-hormonal birth control. Many hormonal birth control options make periods lighter and reduce menstrual symptoms. This option may appeal to you if you deal with heavy bleeding or significant premenstrual symptoms.

There’s a lot to consider when choosing a birth control option, and we’re here to help you every step of the way. To discuss your contraceptive options, give us a call to schedule a visit or request an appointment online today.  

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