The only fail-safe method to prevent pregnancy is 100% abstinence. However, few women make that choice. Not many decide to rely on “natural” forms of birth control either, such as male withdrawal or the “rhythm method,” in which you time sex to the least fertile times in your menstrual cycle.
In fact, according to findings from the 2017-2019 National Survey of Family Growth,
approximately 65% of women aged 15-49 used some form of contraception during that period. If you’re interested in birth control to limit the size of your family, many factors may come into play when it comes to choosing the right type, such as:
- Ease of use
Other factors you may consider include whether a method is hormonal vs. nonhormonal and whether it protects you against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
At Mian OB/GYN & Associates in Silver Spring, Maryland, Dr. Rafiq Mian and our team want to help you find the perfect form of contraception to meet your current needs. We offer a variety of forms at our offices. Following are five of the most popular choices.
By far, the most popular form of contraception among women surveyed was sterilization. More than 23% of women cited this as their choice. In 18.1% of cases, they opted for female sterilization; in 5.6% of cases, their male partner was sterilized.
Of course, you must be certain you don’t ever want a baby when you choose this method. Although vasectomies (male sterilization) are fairly easily reversed, female sterilization usually can’t be reversed. Tubal ligation is more than 99% effective against unwanted pregnancy.
2. Oral contraceptive pill
“The pill” revolutionized women’s lives when it was first approved by the FDA in 1960. By 1984, 50-80 million women around the world used the pill to reduce the chance of an unwanted pregnancy.
The pill is convenient, safe, and reversible. The pill contains hormones that alter your menstrual cycle so that you don’t release eggs. When you want to become pregnant, you simply stop taking it. Most side effects are mild, such as breast tenderness and irregular bleeding.
Today’s pill is about 91% effective. You must, however, remember to take your contraceptive pill every day. Missing a day or two could lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
You can also use the pill to balance your hormones if you have a condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis. Using the pill decreases your risk for a highly dangerous ectopic pregnancy.
3. Male condom
Even though male condoms are only 85% effective against pregnancy, they’re the only form of contraception (other than female condoms) that help protect you against STDs. When used correctly, condoms prevent semen from entering your vagina. They lessen the chances that you and your partner exchange bodily fluids, which is the primary means of STD transmission.
However, just as abstinence is the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy, complete abstinence from intercourse and sexual play is the only 100% guaranteed way to avoid an STD. Some STDs, such as herpes, are transmitted through intimate touch, whether or not you have intercourse or exchange bodily fluids.
4. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC)
An LARC is a type of contraception that gives you long-term protection with low maintenance. About 10.4% of women opted for this choice, which included the intrauterine device (IUD) at 8.4% and a hormonal birth control implant (2.0%).
We insert the small, flexible IUD into your uterus. The IUD irritates the lining so that you can’t become pregnant. Some IUDs also contain hormones to reduce your chance of pregnancy. Others are made of copper, which interferes with sperm. An IUD is 99% effective against pregnancy.
If you prefer a contraceptive implant, we recommend Nexplanon®, which we insert in your nondominant upper arm. Nexplanon is more than 99% effective against unwanted pregnancy for up to three years. As with an IUD, Nexplanon is easily reversible. We simply remove the device whenever you wish to become pregnant.
5. Birth control shot
About 2% of women in the survey chose the injectable hormonal birth control Depo-Provera®. Also called the birth control shot, Depo-Provera is 94% effective against pregnancy for three months at a time. You must then get another shot to extend your protection.
Are you ready for birth control? Make your choice of contraception at Mian OB/GYN & Associates today by calling us or using our online booking form.