Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Birth Control

Birth Control, Abundant Life Healthcare, IUD

Dozens of types of birth control are available, and the choices can be confusing. With differing levels of effectiveness, side effects, and degrees of convenience, you should ultimately make a choice in birth control that reflects your family goals, life schedule, health, and beliefs. No one form of birth control is right for every woman, and your choice may change with time and circumstances. Know the facts before choosing a birth control method.

Educate yourself on the types.

Birth control comes in a variety of methods. You might be familiar with barrier methods, such as condoms and diaphragms, that prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. Short-acting hormonal methods include the pill (or mini-pill), patch, shot, and vaginal ring. These types require daily or monthly doses to alter your hormones and prevent ovulation. Long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as an intrauterine device or a hormonal implant, are another option. Copper and hormonal IUDs are implanted into your uterus, while implants such as Nexplanon®, are placed into your upper arm to alter your hormones and block pregnancy.

Keeping track of your cycle so you avoid intercourse on your most fertile days (the rhythm method,) is another method for preventing unwanted pregnancies. If you’re sure your family is complete and you have no interest in having children in the future, male or female sterilization may be the right route for you.

Consider convenience.

Certain methods of birth control are more convenient than others. Ask yourself if you can remember to take a pill daily or get a shot monthly or whether you’d prefer not to have to remember a schedule. Methods, such as condoms and diaphragms, require insertion or application before intercourse -- always consider: Is this a step you’re going to want to take?

Plan your family.

Some types of birth control are more effective at preventing pregnancy than others. If it’s really important to you to prevent pregnancy, you want the most reliable types – which are IUDs and hormonal implants. Short-term hormonal options, such as the pill or patch, are also reliable when taken on schedule.

You may consider the rhythm method or cervical mucus evaluation if you want to avoid using an external birth control method, but these are often the least reliable in preventing pregnancy.

Certain types of birth control are more easily reversed than others, too. An IUD can be removed, and your fertility restored almost immediately. Ovulation may not normalize for a month or two after going off short-acting hormonal methods, for example.

Think about your health.

Hormonal birth control methods can offer advantages beyond preventing pregnancy. If you have serious PMS symptoms or excessive bleeding, the pill and other hormonal methods can help reduce the heaviness of your periods, make you more regular, and calm menstrual cramps. If you have a history of polycystic ovary syndrome, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, or endometriosis, hormonal birth control can help your symptoms

But, hormonal birth control can make blood clots more likely to develop, so if you have a clotting disorder or history of blood clots, you should avoid these types of birth control. Women who smoke or are 35 or older should avoid hormonal birth control, too. The hormones may raise your risk of high blood pressure, which, when combined with smoking, seriously increases the chance you may have a heart attack. At Abundant Life Healthcare, we carefully consider your health history before prescribing a specific birth control method.

Protect yourself from disease.

If you have multiple partners or have a partner with multiple partners, you’ll want to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections. Male and female condoms are the only methods of birth control that can also help prevent STIs. Condoms, however, aren’t the most reliable in preventing pregnancy.

A more reliable birth control method, such as an IUD, along with a condom provides protection against pregnancy as well as possible disease.

Bring all your questions and concerns about birth control to Abundant Life Healthcare. We’re here to help find just the right method for you

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