Sexual activity is a natural part of maturity, and with it comes the possibility of having children. But you may not be ready for children, and you wouldn’t be alone. Between 2017 and 2019 alone, 65.3% of women ages 15-49 in the US were using some form of contraception. Nearly all women have used some kind of contraception in their lives, and simply stop when they want to give birth or when they’ve reached the end of their reproductive years. But what contraception should you use? Which method is best suited for your needs?
If you live in the Arlington, Texas area and you’re looking for birth control options, Dr. Joan Bergstrom and her team of doctors at Women’s Health Services are there to help you make the decision that works for you.
There are many options for contraception, including:
Scheduled birth control
These options give you a routine dose of progestin or estrogen and progestin, hormones that are important in your menstrual cycle and pregnancy. They are used in several scheduled methods of birth control, such as:
- Combination birth control pill: uses estrogen and progestin to prevent ovaries from releasing eggs
- Mini pill: a progestin-only option that prevents ovulation
- Patch: using this on your arm, butt, or back releases progestin and estrogen into your body to prevent ovulation
- Shot: a progestin injection that prevents ovulation
- Ring: a flexible, plastic, vaginal ring with estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation
It’s important to keep to the given schedule when using these methods to maximize effectiveness. They are generally between 91-99% effective when used properly.
As needed birth control
These methods of protection are devices that are either used once and discarded or can be used multiple times at your convenience.
- Condoms: this very common method comes in types that can either be worn by the male or worn inside the vagina
- Diaphragm: a reusable soft silicone disk that can be saturated with spermicide and placed in the vagina
- Sponge: a squishy plastic disk that is also saturated with spermicide and placed in the vagina
- Cervical cap: a reusable silicone covering that fits in the cervix and is saturated with spermicide
- Spermicide: a lubricant that can be used with other methods of birth control or by itself to destroy sperm before it fertilizes an egg
Spermicide is least effective when used alone (73%) but combined with the other options ranges from 86-97% effective when used properly.
Low maintenance birth control
If you don’t plan to get pregnant anytime soon, these methods will last for much longer periods than the others and don't require any work to manage.
- Implants: a small plastic rod implanted under the skin that produces progestin to block ovulation
- Copper intrauterine device (IUD): a small, t-shaped copper device placed in your uterus to deter sperm
- Hormone IUD: a device placed in the uterus that releases small doses of progestin to block ovulation
All of these devices work for years at a time, with implants being the shortest at around 3 years and copper IUDs lasting for up to 12 years.
There are many ways to use contraception that can fit perfectly with your needs. If you want to explore your options and have questions and concerns, make an appointment with Dr. Bergstrom and Women’s Health Services today.