Getting Help with Family Planning
Choosing the method of family planning that’s right for you can be complicated. Consider your health and other personal needs, when or if you want to get pregnant, and your partner’s needs and desires.
There are pros and cons to each of the many different types of birth control available. If you want to get pregnant very soon, you may want to avoid hormonal birth control and learn about fertility awareness. Or, if you never want to get pregnant, it is important to make sure you always use very effective birth control, such as an IUD or NEXPLANON, the birth control implant, or consider sterilization or your partner having a vasectomy.
Our providers are happy to help you choose the family planning method and/or prescribe you the method of birth control that’s right for you, your partner, and your family.
How much do you know about the different types of birth control you could use?
Despite the broad range of options available to women for contraception (also known as birth control), a survey of more than 1200 US women between ages 18 and 45 shows that women do not feel knowledgeable about most of these options and many have harmful misperceptions about their effectiveness. Many women have not had in-depth conversations with their health care providers to make well-informed decisions on contraception and family planning.
There are several categories of contraception that you can choose from:
- Barrier methods, like male condoms (the ones you can buy at the pharmacy), female condoms, and the diaphragm. These forms of birth control work by creating a physical barrier between sperm and your eggs, so they can’t be fertilized. Barrier methods are some of the leas effective ways to prevent pregnancy, because they are hard to use perfectly. However, male and female condoms are the only forms of birth control that can reduce the risk of sexually-transmitted infections.
- Hormonal methods, like the pill, vaginal rings, patch, and the birth control shot. These forms of contraception work by regulating and controlling the same types of hormones your body already produces to prevent you from ovulating. Hormonal methods are very effective at preventing pregnancy, but become less effective if they are not used perfectly.
- Long-acting reversible contraceptives, like an intrauterine device (IUD) or the NEXPLANON implant. IUDs work mainly by affecting the way sperm move so they can’t join with an egg. Some IUDs also use hormones. The implant uses the same hormonal methods as the pill and shot. Long-acting reversible contraceptives are the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy. They last a very long time, and you don’t have to worry about using them perfectly because once placed, they do not require any action on your part.
- Emergency contraceptives, like Plan B and other “morning after” pills. Emergency contraceptives use higher doses of hormones to prevent eggs from leaving your ovaries for should. Emergency contraceptives are very effective, but must be used within 5 days (120 hours) after having unprotected sex.
- Permanent sterilization methods, like getting your tubes tied, prevent pregnancy by closing your fallopian tubes so your eggs can never reach your uterus and sperm can never reach your eggs. Men can have a vasectomy, which prevents their sperm from being released. These methods are not meant to be reversed; they are considered permanent.