Birth Control

Comprehensive contraception—so you can become pregnant when you’re ready

Birth control is primarily used to help prevent pregnancy, however it can also help with other medical conditions including heavy periods, perimenopause and acne. 

If you decide to use birth control, you have many options. Your doctor can help you decide which type of birth control is best for your lifestyle and needs. 

What to ExpectSlice

Exploring Your Birth Control Options

Before you receive any type of birth control, you’ll need to visit your doctor or OB/GYN for a routine pelvic exam. This helps rule out any underlying conditions that may affect your ability to take birth control or its effectiveness.  

Once you are using birth control, you should not stop using it until you are ready to become pregnant. You can get pregnant quickly after stopping birth control.

Types of Birth Control

Deciding which type of birth control is right for you depends on many factors. Your doctor will ask questions to help you determine which method of contraception is best. 

Medical conditions, such as diabetes, migraine headaches, a history of stroke or a blood clotting condition can affect your ability to use certain types of birth control. Smoking cigarettes while taking birth control could put you at risk for a blood clot or stroke. 

No matter what form of birth control you use, you should see your doctor to be screened for sexually transmitted infections on a regular basis.

Our comprehensive birth control options include both short term and long-term contraception: 

Birth Control Implants

Birth control implants offer long-term birth control using a small rod that is placed in your arm at your doctor’s office. The rod releases hormones into your body that stops your body from releasing an egg.

Birth control implants last for three years, but you can have it removed any time you are ready to try to become pregnant. You may experience irregular bleeding for the first six months after receiving a birth control implant. Many women have light periods or no period at all while using the implant.

Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch is placed on your body where it releases hormones into your body, through the skin, to keep you from releasing an egg. Once the patch is placed, you wear it for three weeks, then take it off for one week when you will have your period. To ensure the patch is the most effective, you will need to replace the patch once a week on the same day. Some side effects of the birth control patch may include headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure or a change in sex drive.

Birth Control Pills

The most common form of birth control is the birth control pill. It works by containing hormones to keep your body from releasing an egg. However, the pill is only effective if you take it regularly each day. Some side effects of the birth control pill may include headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure or a change in sex drive. There are many different types of birth control pills and some may affect you differently. Talk to your doctor about switching to a different type of pill or using another form of birth control if you experience side effects.

Birth control ring

The birth control ring works like the pill and the patch, releasing hormones for three weeks out of the month to keep you from becoming pregnant. To use the ring, you insert it deep into your vagina and leave it there for three weeks. Then you remove the ring for a week when you will have your period. Just like the birth control pill, you may experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure or a change in sex drive.

Condoms

Male condoms are latex pouches worn on the penis to prevent sperm from reaching the vagina during sex. Latex or plastic condoms prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Even if you use one of the birth control methods above, you should use a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are widely available at grocery stores, pharmacies and many health clinics. They are not expensive and easy to use, but can only be used once.

Female condoms are similar to male condoms, except they are inserted into the vagina. Female condoms cost slightly more than male condoms. Like male condoms, they protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and they cannot be reused. 

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, also called Plan B or the morning after pill, is a pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex. It is most effective when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Some emergency contraception pills are available without a prescription at pharmacies, while other pills require a prescription.

You should not use emergency contraception as your main form of birth control. After you take emergency contraception, you may experience side effects like vomiting, headaches or an abnormal period.

Intrauterine Device (IUDs)

IUDs are the most effective and safest form of birth control. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device placed in your uterus during a simple procedure in your physician’s office. You may have some cramping after the procedure, but it should fade quickly. Once the IUD is in place, it will not move and you and your partner will not be able to feel it.

There are two main types of IUD: levonorgestrel or copper. If you use the levonorgestrel IUD, you may have irregular bleeding for three to six months. Many women have little to no menstrual flow after they have had the IUD for one year. Using the copper IUD, you may experience slightly heavier periods initially, but will continue to have one period every month. Both types of IUD last for five to ten years. You can have your IUD removed any time you are ready to try to become pregnant.

Injectable Birth Control

If you have trouble remembering to take the birth control pill, your doctor may recommend injectable birth control. The injections work the same as the birth control pill, except instead of taking the hormone pill each day, you receive the hormones through an injection every three months. Some women experience irregular bleeding while using the injection.

Sponge

The sponge is not widely used anymore due to the fact that is a less effective form of birth control than other options. However, if you choose to use the sponge, your doctor can show you how to insert it correctly. You will need to insert the small foam sponge into your vagina before you have sex, each time.

 The sponge contains spermicide, which kills sperm, and also blocks sperm from entering your cervix. The sponge does not affect your hormones, so there are no side effects. However, wearing the sponge longer than 30 hours puts you at risk for toxic shock syndrome.

Permanent Forms of Birth Control

If you decide you do not want to have any more children, you may choose a permanent surgical form of birth control. 

Tubal Ligation

A tubal ligation is a safe, effective and permanent form of birth control that blocks the fallopian tubes. This prevents your eggs from reaching the uterus and therefore prevents a man’s sperm from reaching the eggs. 

You have many options for tubal ligation, such as having your fallopian tubes cut and tied or having materials placed into your tubes during a minimally invasive procedure in your doctor’s office. Talk to your doctor about what form of tubal ligation is right for you. Keep in mind that some forms of tubal ligation take a few months to be fully effective, so you will need to use alternative forms of birth control in the meantime.

Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control that cannot be reversed in most cases. During a vasectomy, a surgeon cuts the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm to become part of semen during ejaculation. Without sperm, a man cannot get a woman pregnant during intercourse. 

Vasectomies are safe procedures with few complications and provide effective permanent birth control. Keep in mind that it takes a few months for vasectomies to be fully effective so you will need to use alternative forms of birth control in the meantime.

What to Expect

Exploring Your Birth Control Options

Before you receive any type of birth control, you’ll need to visit your doctor or OB/GYN for a routine pelvic exam. This helps rule out any underlying conditions that may affect your ability to take birth control or its effectiveness.  

Once you are using birth control, you should not stop using it until you are ready to become pregnant. You can get pregnant quickly after stopping birth control.

Types of Birth Control

Deciding which type of birth control is right for you depends on many factors. Your doctor will ask questions to help you determine which method of contraception is best. 

Medical conditions, such as diabetes, migraine headaches, a history of stroke or a blood clotting condition can affect your ability to use certain types of birth control. Smoking cigarettes while taking birth control could put you at risk for a blood clot or stroke. 

No matter what form of birth control you use, you should see your doctor to be screened for sexually transmitted infections on a regular basis.

Our comprehensive birth control options include both short term and long-term contraception: 

Birth Control Implants

Birth control implants offer long-term birth control using a small rod that is placed in your arm at your doctor’s office. The rod releases hormones into your body that stops your body from releasing an egg.

Birth control implants last for three years, but you can have it removed any time you are ready to try to become pregnant. You may experience irregular bleeding for the first six months after receiving a birth control implant. Many women have light periods or no period at all while using the implant.

Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch is placed on your body where it releases hormones into your body, through the skin, to keep you from releasing an egg. Once the patch is placed, you wear it for three weeks, then take it off for one week when you will have your period. To ensure the patch is the most effective, you will need to replace the patch once a week on the same day. Some side effects of the birth control patch may include headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure or a change in sex drive.

Birth Control Pills

The most common form of birth control is the birth control pill. It works by containing hormones to keep your body from releasing an egg. However, the pill is only effective if you take it regularly each day. Some side effects of the birth control pill may include headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure or a change in sex drive. There are many different types of birth control pills and some may affect you differently. Talk to your doctor about switching to a different type of pill or using another form of birth control if you experience side effects.

Birth control ring

The birth control ring works like the pill and the patch, releasing hormones for three weeks out of the month to keep you from becoming pregnant. To use the ring, you insert it deep into your vagina and leave it there for three weeks. Then you remove the ring for a week when you will have your period. Just like the birth control pill, you may experience side effects such as headaches, nausea, elevated blood pressure or a change in sex drive.

Condoms

Male condoms are latex pouches worn on the penis to prevent sperm from reaching the vagina during sex. Latex or plastic condoms prevent both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Even if you use one of the birth control methods above, you should use a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are widely available at grocery stores, pharmacies and many health clinics. They are not expensive and easy to use, but can only be used once.

Female condoms are similar to male condoms, except they are inserted into the vagina. Female condoms cost slightly more than male condoms. Like male condoms, they protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and they cannot be reused. 

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, also called Plan B or the morning after pill, is a pill that can prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex. It is most effective when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Some emergency contraception pills are available without a prescription at pharmacies, while other pills require a prescription.

You should not use emergency contraception as your main form of birth control. After you take emergency contraception, you may experience side effects like vomiting, headaches or an abnormal period.

Intrauterine Device (IUDs)

IUDs are the most effective and safest form of birth control. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device placed in your uterus during a simple procedure in your physician’s office. You may have some cramping after the procedure, but it should fade quickly. Once the IUD is in place, it will not move and you and your partner will not be able to feel it.

There are two main types of IUD: levonorgestrel or copper. If you use the levonorgestrel IUD, you may have irregular bleeding for three to six months. Many women have little to no menstrual flow after they have had the IUD for one year. Using the copper IUD, you may experience slightly heavier periods initially, but will continue to have one period every month. Both types of IUD last for five to ten years. You can have your IUD removed any time you are ready to try to become pregnant.

Injectable Birth Control

If you have trouble remembering to take the birth control pill, your doctor may recommend injectable birth control. The injections work the same as the birth control pill, except instead of taking the hormone pill each day, you receive the hormones through an injection every three months. Some women experience irregular bleeding while using the injection.

Sponge

The sponge is not widely used anymore due to the fact that is a less effective form of birth control than other options. However, if you choose to use the sponge, your doctor can show you how to insert it correctly. You will need to insert the small foam sponge into your vagina before you have sex, each time.

 The sponge contains spermicide, which kills sperm, and also blocks sperm from entering your cervix. The sponge does not affect your hormones, so there are no side effects. However, wearing the sponge longer than 30 hours puts you at risk for toxic shock syndrome.

Permanent Forms of Birth Control

If you decide you do not want to have any more children, you may choose a permanent surgical form of birth control. 

Tubal Ligation

A tubal ligation is a safe, effective and permanent form of birth control that blocks the fallopian tubes. This prevents your eggs from reaching the uterus and therefore prevents a man’s sperm from reaching the eggs. 

You have many options for tubal ligation, such as having your fallopian tubes cut and tied or having materials placed into your tubes during a minimally invasive procedure in your doctor’s office. Talk to your doctor about what form of tubal ligation is right for you. Keep in mind that some forms of tubal ligation take a few months to be fully effective, so you will need to use alternative forms of birth control in the meantime.

Vasectomy

A vasectomy is a permanent form of birth control that cannot be reversed in most cases. During a vasectomy, a surgeon cuts the vas deferens, the tube that carries sperm to become part of semen during ejaculation. Without sperm, a man cannot get a woman pregnant during intercourse. 

Vasectomies are safe procedures with few complications and provide effective permanent birth control. Keep in mind that it takes a few months for vasectomies to be fully effective so you will need to use alternative forms of birth control in the meantime.

Patient Stories for Birth ControlSlice

Patient Stories for Birth Control

News and EventsSlice