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Understanding How to Choose the Right Birth Control For You

With so many types of birth control available, knowing the type that’s right for your family planning, beliefs, health, and schedule can be challenging. Consider the following to determine the best birth control for you.

Know the types

Educate yourself on the various types of birth control so you can make an informed choice. Each type has its own level of convenience and effectiveness in preventing pregnancy.

Female or male sterilization — such as a tubal ligation or vasectomy — are most effective in preventing pregnancy, but they’re permanent solutions.

Also quite effective are long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants (such as Nexplanon®). These can offer protection from pregnancy for 3-10 years, depending on the type.

Short-acting hormonal methods, such as a pill, patch, shot, or vaginal ring, require regular dosages — usually daily or monthly. These types of birth control are quite effective when used and dosed properly.

Barrier methods such as condoms or the sponge require you to apply them at every incidence of intercourse. These types of birth control are less effective at preventing pregnancy.

Natural charting methods of birth control require you to track your cycle and the quality of your cervical mucus so you don’t have intercourse on the days you’re most fertile. This is the least reliable way to prevent pregnancy, but it can be a good choice if you have beliefs that discourage an external birth control method.

Questions to ask yourself

When weighing your birth control options, ask yourself specific questions to help you make a decision. These include:

The way you answer these questions influences your choice of birth control. For example, if you want to have children sometime in the future but don’t want to worry about a day-to-day pill, an IUD or hormonal implant may be the best option.

If you have sex with multiple partners, you may do best with dual protection — a condom at your encounters to protect you from an STD, and a more reliable birth control method, such as the pill, to prevent pregnancy. Women with heavy vaginal bleeding may find some relief with a hormonal method of birth control such as the pill or patch.

Capital Women’s Care expert staff members are available to help women in the Laurel and Silver Spring, Maryland, area decide what birth control is right for them. They guide you to the method that is the safest and most effective for your needs. Call or book an appointment on this website.

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