At some point in their lives, most people will need to consider their options for birth control or emergency contraception. Whether you’re trying to prevent pregnancy, or have had unprotected sex, understanding your options is key to making informed decisions.
At our clinic, we offer a range of birth control and emergency contraception options, each with their own benefits and considerations. Here’s what you need to know:
Birth Control Options
There are many different types of birth control options available, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. Some of the most widely used birth control options are listed below:
1. Condoms: Condoms are a type of barrier contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy as well as protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They are inexpensive and widely available without a prescription.
2. Birth control pills: Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation and can also help regulate periods. They are highly effective when taken correctly, but require a prescription and may cause side effects for some people.
3. Intrauterine devices (IUDs): IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider. They can provide long-term contraceptive protection for up to 10 years and are highly effective.
4. Hormonal implants: Hormonal implants are small, matchstick-sized devices that are inserted under the skin of the upper arm by a healthcare provider. They release hormones that prevent ovulation and can provide contraceptive protection for up to three years.
5. Diaphragms and cervical caps: Diaphragms and cervical caps are types of barrier contraception that are placed over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. They require a prescription and must be fitted by a healthcare provider.
6. Sterilization: Sterilization is a permanent form of birth control that involves either a surgical procedure to block or cut the fallopian tubes in people with a uterus, or a vasectomy in people with a penis.
Barrier methods of contraception work by creating a physical barrier to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Here are some of the most common types of barrier methods:
1. Condoms: Condoms are a type of barrier contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy as well as protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They can be made of latex, polyurethane, or natural materials like lambskin. Male condoms are worn over the penis, while female condoms are inserted into the vagina.
2. Diaphragms and cervical caps: Diaphragms and cervical caps are types of barrier contraception that are placed over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. They must be fitted by a healthcare provider and used with a spermicide to be effective.
3. Sponges: Contraceptive sponges are small, disposable sponges that are inserted into the vagina to block the cervix and release spermicide. Without a prescription, they are available over-the-counter.
Barrier methods of contraception are widely available and can be effective when used correctly and consistently. However, they may be less effective than other types of contraception, such as hormonal methods or IUDs. It is important to use barrier methods in combination with other forms of contraception to maximize protection against unwanted pregnancy and STIs.
Emergency contraception (EC) is a form of birth control that can be used after unprotected sex, or in the event of a contraceptive failure. It is not meant to be used regularly as a method of birth control.
At our clinic, we offer two types of EC: the copper IUD and the morning-after pill (MAP). The copper IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex and is highly effective. The MAP, also known as Plan B, is a pill that must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex.
Choosing the right birth control or emergency contraception method is a personal decision that should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider. At our clinic, we are committed to providing compassionate and confidential care, and can help you make informed decisions about your sexual health.