From condoms to implanted devices like an IUD or Nexplanon® to sterilization, there are many methods of birth control to consider. And so many options can make choosing one overwhelming.
At Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC and our care team take time to listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and help you make the birth control choice that’s right for you. We’ve curated this guide to help you navigate the decision-making process and make the choice that fits your unique needs easier.
Read on to learn more about choosing the right birth control for you.
Questions to consider when choosing birth control
No two women are exactly the same. That’s why when it comes to choosing a method of birth control, you need to consider the different aspects of contraception that matter to you. Here are some questions to consider when making your decision.
What type of protection do I need?
Contraceptives can serve to protect you from more than just pregnancy, so ask yourself what types of protection you need. If preventing pregnancy is your top concern, you may want to consider the most effective forms of birth control. These include hormone-based methods like patches, IUDs, pills, and implants.
But you should consider other types of protection as well. Hormone-based methods don’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so if this is a concern, you need a contraceptive method that provides a barrier to limit your risk of exposure, like male or female condoms.
While condoms are about 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, people make mistakes. The actual effectiveness rate of male and female condoms combined is only about 80%, meaning you’ll need to use a second method with condoms like a spermicide if preventing pregnancy is a top concern.
Will it be easy for me to use?
Another factor to consider is how easy it is for you to use your chosen method of birth control. Even the most effective method won’t work if you don’t use it.
Honestly assess your willingness and ability to properly use the method. For example, condoms must be used each time you have intercourse, and the pill needs to be taken at the same time each day for optimal protection.
Other options, like the ring, need to be inserted monthly, while an IUD can last for years. And sterilization is a permanent solution to preventing pregnancy.
There’s no right or wrong when it comes to thinking about ease of use. The right choice is the one that works best with your lifestyle and personality, so take time to consider honestly.
Do I want children in the future?
You may not want to get pregnant right now, but that doesn’t mean you won’t want to have children in the future. If having kids is on the horizon, consider whether the birth control method you choose is reversible.
Some methods, like condoms, only work at the moment of use. When you stop using them, you can become pregnant immediately. Contraceptives like the pill, patch, or ring, on the other hand, can take several months for hormone levels to normalize after you stop using them. But with implanted devices, you can typically get pregnant within a month of their removal.
If your family is complete and/or children aren’t part of your plans, male or female sterilization can provide a permanent form of birth control. Be sure to discuss this carefully with your partner and your medical provider, because it’s not always possible to restore fertility after sterilization.
Ready to learn more about the right birth control for you?
At Alpenglow Gynecology, we help you navigate the myriad birth control options out there to find one that meets your unique needs. Call us or book an appointment tool using our online tool to set up a birth control consultation.