Are you having a hard time deciding which type of birth control to use? You’re not alone. It’s wonderful to know there are many choices when it comes to contraception. But having different options can make it challenging for many women to know which one’s right for them.
The board-certified OB/GYN providers at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada, specialize in helping women make informed decisions about their reproductive health. We offer personalized birth control recommendations based on your personal preferences, lifestyle, health history, and reproductive needs.
Here’s an overview of the different birth control options so you can get a head start determining which is best for you.
Option1: Barrier birth control
Birth control that uses a barrier works by stopping a sperm and egg from connecting. Some also offer protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Here’s a look at some barrier birth control options and how effective they are:
- Cervical cap: About 71%-86% effective
- Sponges: About 76%-88% effective
- Female condoms: Up to 79% effective
- Male condoms: Up to 85% effective
- Diaphragm: Up to 88% effective
Remember that you need to use this type of birth control every time you have sex or it doesn’t work.
Option 2: Hormonal birth control
You can change your natural hormones and stop ovulation using hormonal birth control. There are many options with hormonal birth control. They each affect different hormones and they can be administered in different ways. Here’s a look at some hormonal birth control options and how effective they are:
- Birth control pills: Up to 91% effective
- Birth control patch: Up to 91% effective
- Vaginal ring: Up to 91% effective
- Birth control shot: Up to 94% effective
- Birth control implant: Up to 99% effective
- Intrauterine device (IUD): Up to 99% effective
If you also need protection from STDs, you’ll need to use a barrier birth control option with your hormonal birth control.
Option 3: Lifestyle choices
It’s possible to use lifestyle choices as birth control. This method involves making specific decisions that avoid getting pregnant. The most common include:
- Fertility awareness (rhythm method, natural family planning): (76%-88% effective)
- Breastfeeding: (effectiveness varies widely; up to 91% effective)
- Withdrawal (pull-out method): (Up to 78% effective)
- Abstinence: (100% effective)
Keep in mind that lifestyle choices as a method of birth control vary significantly in effectiveness. You also need to know they don’t protect you from STDs.
Option 4: Permanent birth control
Permanent methods of birth control (sterilization) prevent future pregnancies. These methods include tubal ligation and hysterectomy, and are extremely effective, preventing conception about 100% of the time. However, they don’t protect against STDs.
How do I choose birth control?
It’s best to use a combination of personal reflection and professional advice when choosing birth control. Your provider at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG can provide personalized birth control recommendations based on your health and any concerns or factors you discuss.
While you wait for your appointment, think about your wants and needs for contraception. Here are a few questions to keep in mind:
1. Why do I want to use birth control?
It’s true that birth control helps prevent pregnancy. But contraception can do more than stop you from conceiving. If you also want prevention from STDs, you’ll want to consider a method with dual protection.
2. How realistic is it for me to use this birth control?
Think honestly about how realistic it is that you’ll reliably use the method you’re considering. Reflect on your willingness and ability to use different options in the right way.
For example, birth control pills are highly effective. But this is only true if you take them at the same time each day. And for condoms to work, you have to use one every time you have sex. If you question whether you’ll use the form of birth control effectively, an IUD or implant may be a better choice for you.
Keep in mind there's no right or wrong. The best birth control option is the one that works for you.
3. Am I going to want children in the future?
You might not want a baby today. But that doesn’t mean you’ll always feel that way. If you might want to have a baby in the not-too-distant future, you might want a birth control method that doesn’t interact with your hormone levels.
Get personalized birth control recommendations by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone at Darin Swainston MD. FACOG in Las Vegas, Nevada.