More than 99% of sexually active American women ages 15-44 have used at least one contraceptive method other than natural family planning. And today, there are many different types of birth control to choose from, so you can find the one that works best for your body. At Miracles of Life OB/Gyn, PLLC, in Bluefield, West Virginia, Randy Brodnik, DO, FACOG, and his staff offer birth control counseling and can walk you through the benefits and risks of each kind. To book an appointment, call the office or request an appointment online.
Birth control is any medicine, method, or device used to prevent pregnancy. Your choice of birth control can depend on several factors, including your health, how often you have sex, and whether or not you want children. The method that works best for you may change over time.
Birth control methods can be categorized into a few main types:
For women, this permanent form of birth control takes place through tubal ligation or through the placement of a hormone-free device called Essure® that prevents pregnancy for the rest of your life. Sterilization does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
This type of birth control includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants. Your doctor inserts them, and you don’t have to remember to use birth control every day or month. LARCs last three to 10 years, but don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections.
These include the pill, mini-pill, patch, shot, and vaginal ring. You need to remember to take the pill every day, put in a new ring every month, or get a shot from your doctor every three months. These methods don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections.
This is birth control you use each time you have sex and includes condoms, diaphragms, sponges, and cervical caps. Condoms are the only birth control method that can protect against sexually transmitted infections.
This consists of avoiding sex or using birth control only on the days when you’re most likely to get pregnant. An ovulation test kit or a fertility monitor can help you determine your most fertile days.
An IUD is a tiny device that’s inserted into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods.
There are two main types of IUDs: copper IUDs (ParaGard®) and hormonal IUDs (Mirena®). ParaGard doesn’t contain hormones and works because sperm doesn’t like copper. It can last for up to 12 years, and it also works very well as an emergency contraception. Mirena, on the other hand, uses the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy and can last up to six years.
No one birth control method is right for everyone, so it’s important to talk to your gynecologist or reproductive health specialist about what will work best for you. Dr. Brodnik and his staff are knowledgeable in all forms of birth control and are happy to discuss your options with you. Call the office or book an appointment online to get started.