You Asked and We Answered

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Q. Which Birth Control Method Should I Use?
A.  When it comes down to it, birth control should fit
      your lifestyle and your parenthood future. It
      should also be medically safe.
Let’s take a look at today’s choices:
 
Long-acting reversible contraceptives: There are two types of intrauterine devices (or IUDs).
Hormonal IUDs release a progestin hormone (levonorgestrel) into the uterus, which causes thickening of the cervical mucus to inhibit sperm from reaching or fertilizing the egg. The devices may also prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs.
Hormone-free copper IUD prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. Because this device also will prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, it also can be used as emergency contraception. It can remain in the uterus for up to 10 years.
Implant
An implantable rod is the current option in the U.S. for a contraceptive implant. The size of a matchstick, it’s effective for 3 years.
Contraceptive injection
Depo-Provera is a synthetic progestin that is injected into the arm or buttocks by a health care provider every three months; getting the shot outside an 11- to 13-week window will decrease its effectiveness.
Short-acting hormonal methods
Combined hormonal contraceptives (CHCs) contain synthetic estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation (stopping an egg’s release each month) and thickening cervical mucus.  The options: oral contraceptives (“the pill”), the contraceptive patch and the vaginal ring. There’s also a progestin-only pill that is often referred to as the “minipill.”
Other than permanent sterilization, the most reliable methods are long-active reversible contraceptives, which include IUDs and the implantable rod.
Both of those devices are 99 percent effective, which means fewer than 1 in 100 women who use one will get pregnant. Users also have the added benefit of being able to get pregnant soon after stopping them. They are as effective as permanent forms of contraception such as tubal ligation.
Weight Gain & Other Health Considerations
 
While not the case with using a copper IUD, studies have shown that there is a correlation between hormone contraceptive use and weight gain. And conditions such as obesity may decrease the effectiveness of certain options.
Health considerations may also limit contraception choices. Your health history plays an important role as well, especially if you’re a smoker or you have chronic health conditions (such as high blood pressure or migraine headaches) that make it less safe to use a birth control containing synthetic estrogen. It depends on you, your life and what you are looking for in contraception.
Nearly all women use contraception at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.  Federal data shows about 62 percent of women ages 15 to 44 in the United States (38 million) use contraception.
If you’re looking for your first method of contraception, your health care provider can discuss what is medically safest for you to use. If you’re not happy with your current method, there are different options. Discuss them with your health care provider or call our office to schedule an appointment and we’d be happy to discuss them with you.