Birth Control Options

I absolutely love children and have even made some myself. I know there are a lot of differing views on the use and type of birth control. This is a follow up to a previous post for those who have asked for more information regarding birth control options.

You will need to think about and discuss with your spouse whether you want to use a birth control method at all and what type of method you will use if you choose to do so. This is a very personal decision.

There are many options available and it's good to be educated on all of your options instead of just the common ones. Do your research and see what works best for you. I've listed a few of the more common options below.

**Make sure to talk to your health care provider to discuss what options may be appropriate for you.**

Some good websites for more information include:

Natural Family Planning 
Fertility Awareness Method: using the menstrual cycle, cervical mucus and basal body temperature to predict fertile periods and abstaining during that time. 75% effective. No side effects.

Lactational Amenorrhea Method: breastfeeding a newborn baby regularly exclusively (Every 4 hours during day, every 6 hours at night). No formula or supplements at all for baby. Mother must not have had a menstrual period post-birth. Works for only 6 months post birth. 98.5% effective.

Withdrawal: withdrawal of the penis before ejaculation. 79% effective.

Nothing/Chance: No birth control method. 15% effective

Combination Hormonal Methods (contains both estrogen and progestin) 

"The Pill": may reduce acne, pain during ovulation, menstrual cramping, and premenstrual symptoms. Must take daily. Changes the lining of the uterine wall to prevent implantation. May cause nausea, headaches, weight gain, depression or irregular bleeding.  95% effective.

Skin Patches: worn on the skin, must change weekly. Less effective in women over 195 pounds. May cause nausea, headaches, weight gain, depression or irregular bleeding. 99% effective

Rings: about 2", inserted into the vagina, releases chemicals. Changes uterine lining, thickens cervical mucus. Leave the ring in for 3 weeks then take it out for 1 week and insert a new ring. May cause nausea, headaches, weight gain, depression, irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, blood clotting. 92% effectiveness.

Progesterone-only Hormonal Methods 
"Mini pill": take daily at same exact time. May cause breast tenderness, weight gain, 
menstrual cycle changes. Safe to take while breastfeeding. 95% effective. 

Injections: get an injection once every 3 months by health care provider. May cause breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular or missed menstrual cycles. 99% effective.

Implants: about the size of a matchstick, inserted in upper arm by health care provider. Must be removed by health care provider. Lasts about 3 years.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)-Copper: small T-shaped device placed in uterus. May cause longer and heavier periods, ectopic pregnancies, and perforation of uterus. 99.95% effective.

IUD- Hormonal: small T-shaped device placed in uterus. Typically reduces menstrual flow and cramping over time. May cause spotting, moodiness, perforation of uterus and breast tenderness. 99.99% effective

Barrier Methods 

Cervical Cap & Diaphragm: a soft rubber barrier or dome that covers the cervix to prevent sperm from entering.  No side effects (unless allergic). 80% effective (60% effective after child birth).

Male Condom: sheath- usually latex- to cover the penis. No side effects (unless allergic). 79% effective.

I highly recommend every couple own and read through Taking Charge of Your Fertility to become more familiar with how your body works and how people can get pregnant. We also have some snippets from it here.

This is a very personal and important choice that should be approached with much thought, research, and discussion. As always, your constructive insight is welcome.


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