About 60% of sexually active women are on birth control. Birth control, or contraception, is an important element of every woman’s health care plan. It puts you in control of your reproductive health, giving you the ability to decide if and when you get pregnant.
There are two main types of birth control: hormonal and barrier methods. But within these two categories are numerous options to choose from.
Your overall health, lifestyle habits, family planning goals, and more all influence which birth control option is right for you. Each method comes with advantages and drawbacks, and many women find that choosing the best match for their needs is a daunting task.
Our team of experts at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta is here to help. We offer comprehensive birth control consultations, and we specialize in helping women of all ages find the best type of contraception for them.
Hormonal birth control options
Hormonal contraceptives are some of the most popular birth control options — and with efficacy rates above 90%, they’re also some of the most reliable and effective. Hormonal birth control methods generally contain estrogen, progestin, or a combination of both.
The hormones either prevent ovulation, thin your uterine lining, or thicken cervical mucus to significantly reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
The pill is possibly the best-known hormonal contraceptive. Oral contraceptive pills prevent ovulation so you can’t get pregnant.
They can be nearly 100% effective, but they’re about 91-94% effective for most women. That’s because you need to take a pill every day around the same time, and forgetting a dose reduces efficacy and could increase your chances of unintended pregnancy.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped plastic items that your medical provider inserts into your uterus. Hormonal IUDs release hormones that stop ovulation and thin the lining of your uterus to decrease chances of pregnancy.
IUDs are nearly 100% effective in preventing unintended pregnancy. Depending on the type of IUD you get, it can stay in place and prevent pregnancy for 3-5 years. IUDs also act as a barrier method of birth control because they keep sperm from reaching your fallopian tubes.
Hormonal birth control is also available as an injection. Our team offers Depo-Provera® injections, which contain hormones to prevent ovulation and build up cervical mucus.
Depo-Provera shots are about 99% effective when administered regularly. To effectively prevent unintended pregnancy, you need to get one shot every three months and make sure you get each shot as scheduled.
Nexplanon® is a type of hormonal birth control that’s implanted below the surface of your skin. The device is about the size of a matchstick, and it releases hormones into your bloodstream that reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
Nexplanon is 99% effective on average, and it can prevent pregnancy for up to three years. Getting the birth control implant is a simple procedure that’s performed in our office.
Birth control patches are small and sticky, and you wear one on the surface of your skin. It releases hormones into your bloodstream to prevent ovulation.
Skin patches are simple and convenient, and they’re about 91-94% effective. You generally wear one patch for three weeks and remove it for one week when you have your menstrual period. Then, you put a new patch on.
NuvaRing® is a hormonal contraceptive in the form of a flexible vaginal ring. It’s about 98% effective when used correctly. Simply insert the ring yourself, keep it in for three weeks, and remove it in the fourth week. After you have your menstrual period, you insert a new ring.
Non-hormonal birth control options
While hormonal contraceptives are effective and easy to use, some women either can’t or don’t want to use hormonal birth control to prevent pregnancy. If you have a medical condition that limits your birth control options, our team works with you to find an effective solution.
Copper IUDs are similar to hormonal IUDs, but they don’t contain hormones. When they’re placed in your uterus, the copper material acts like a spermicide to prevent pregnancy.
Barrier methods are non-hormonal birth control options that physically prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. Barrier methods like condoms and diaphragms can be effective, but they must be used correctly and consistently to prevent pregnancy.
Many women choose to use a combination of hormonal and barrier methods to avoid unintended pregnancy. It’s not unusual for your birth control needs and family planning goals to change throughout life, and our team is here to help you find the right birth control for you.
Schedule your first appointment online or call the office location nearest you to get started.