Planned pregnancy allows you to have a healthy baby when you desire. Today, people have the power to decide when they want to conceive, thanks to the different birth control methods available. Contraceptives vary far and wide, and the selection process may be challenging without the aid of a specialist. When choosing a form of contraception, experts like Mina K Sinacori, MD, MPH, FACOG recommend considering variables such as convenience, efficacy, side effects, and privacy concerns.
The following information describes each different form of contraception that your doctor may recommend.
The implant is a common and effective form of contraception that offers at least three years of protection from pregnancy. Your healthcare provider inserts a tiny rod in your upper arm to slowly release progestin. The hormone prevents pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus and stopping the release of eggs from the ovaries.
Most women opt for the implant since fertility returns immediately after removing the implant. You can also ask your doctor to remove the rod whenever you get pregnant. However, you are likely to experience irregular bleeding as a side effect.
Oral contraceptives are common and mostly contain a combination of estrogen and progestin hormones. Pills reduce your risk of pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm penetration. It also keeps your uterus lining thin and stops the release of eggs from the ovary.
Besides preventing pregnancy, the pill offers other benefits such as reduced menstrual cramps and acne. It also reduces your risk of cancers such as ovarian and endometrial cancer. When you take it correctly, its efficacy level is high. However, missed pills put you at risk of pregnancy – a common downside to oral contraceptives. Expect side effects such as bloating, nausea, breast tenderness, and irregular bleeding during the first few months of taking the pill.
The vaginal ring is made from flexible plastic and contains estrogen and progestin hormones. Its method of action is similar to that of the combined pill. As the name suggests, you insert the ring inside the vagina, and it gradually releases the hormones in your body. If you place it correctly, it causes no discomfort, and your partner most likely won’t feel the ring during sex.
Depending on the time of your menstrual cycle you insert the ring, you may need a backup method of contraception such as a condom. You may also need to replace the ring monthly, depending on the brand type you use. Side effects of a vaginal ring mimic those of oral contraceptives, including nausea, breast tenderness, mood changes, and irregular bleeding.
Condoms are arguably the most affordable and accessible contraceptives. They are usually made out of latex and polyurethane and prevent pregnancy 98% of the time. Men can wear condoms over an erect penis before sexual intercourse, blocking sperms from entering the vagina during ejaculation.
There are also female condoms inserted inside the vagina and, when used correctly, prevent pregnancy 95% of the time. Besides preventing pregnancy, condoms also protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
If you want to plan for pregnancy, consult with your doctor at Memorial Women’s Specialists to know which birth control method is suitable for you.