When it comes to birth control there’s lots of different options, and it’s important to do research (and talk to your doctor) about what options are best for you.
This post will give you a little snippet about different birth control options! I don’t want to go into details on the pros and cons or anything in this post. Maybe in the future if there’s some specific methods you guys are interested in. I have only used some of these options, so I can’t give personal experiences for all of them. Maybe, if some of you have some BC experience, you can share in the comments! 🙂
The Shot (Depo)- The shot is exactly what it sounds like. You will get an injection every 3 months. The shot contains progestin, which keeps your ovaries from releasing eggs. It will also thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. This is a very effective method of birth control, about 99% if you get your shots when you are supposed to.
The Implant– The implant is a tiny rod that’s about the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin on your arm. It’s not visible once inserted, and can last around 3 years. This method also releases progestin. This method is also around 99% effective.
IUD– IUDs are a T-shaped plastic that gets inserted into your uterus to mess with the way sperm travel. There are two types, hormonal and non-hormonal. The hormonal releases progestin and the non-hormonal has a small amount of safe copper. These are much more of a commitment, they can last you 3-12 years depending on the type you get. Again, these are extremely effective (about 99.9%!)
The Patch– The patch is a small square-shaped beige patch (similar to a Band-aid!)that you stick on your skin. It gives off hormones to prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. You apply a new patch once a week and then go without a patch for the 4th week. The effectiveness is around 99% if used correctly.
The Diaphragm– The diaphragm is a silicone dome shaped nonhormonal form of contraception. You apply spermicide in the dome and insert it into your vagina far enough so that it covers you cervix. This is inserted before sex and needs to stay in during sex and for at least 6 hours after. The diaphragm should not be worn more than 24 hours. If you take good care of your diaphragm, it can last years! The effectiveness is around 86%-94% in preventing pregnancy if used correctly.
Female Condom– This is another form of nonhormonal contraception. Female condoms go inside the vagina and keep sperm from entering the vagina. Female condoms are single use and a new one needs to be used every single time you have intercourse. Though it may seem like using a female condom on top of a male condom would give you double protection, this is NOT the case. Using both types of condoms at the same time only increases the risk of tearing the condoms. Female condoms are about 95% effective.
Condom– I feel like condoms are a very common use of birth control; they are cheap and easy to get. They protect against pregnancy and STIs. They are placed to cover the penis to prevent sperm from entering the vagina. These are about 98% effective if used properly. This means storing them correctly, opening them correctly, and putting them on correctly. Condoms haven’t failed in my experience. I was weary about hormonal birth control, so I stuck to condoms for a good 6 months. Luckily, I have no horror stories! Once again, they are very effective if used properly.
The Ring– The ring is a hormonal birth control that you insert into the vagina. It stays in for 3 weeks and then you take it out for the 4th week, then repeat the cycle. The hormones keep your ovaries from releasing eggs and thicken your cervical mucus. The ring is about 98-99% effective.
The Pill– This, as the name states quite obviously, is a pill. The pill is taken every single day at the same time. There are different types of pills, but the most used are the combination pill and the mini pill. The combo pill contains progestin and estrogen, which I’ve explained previously, and the mini pill contains progestin only. The progestin only is a great option for those who have a sensitivity to estrogen. The combination pill I know has different sized packs, but I feel like the most common is probably a 28-day pack. You take your pill every day for 3 weeks and then your 4th week you take inactive pills to have your period. The mini pill does not have an inactive week, so you will not get your period on a set week. I’ve been on the pill for only about 2 1/2 months, but so far I haven’t had any major issues with it! I’m really good about taking my pill every day and have an alarm for it on my phone to make sure I remember. Even though I am on the pill, I still like to use condoms to be extra safe! When the pill alone is used correctly, it is about 99% effective.
The Sponge– The sponge is very similar to the diaphragm. It is inserted before sex to cover your cervix and continuously releases spermicide. This is a one-time use contraceptive option. The effectiveness is 76-88%.
Spermicide– Spermicide can come in the form of a foam, cream, or gel. It has chemicals that stop sperm from moving. It is inserted into the vagina to keep sperm from getting to the cervix. This is not a very effective method on it’s own. It’s best paired with condoms or the diaphragm. The effectiveness by itself is about 72%. The lubricant that I like to use for sex actually has spermicide in it, so when I used condoms before on the pill I ALWAYS made sure to use that lube. (I guess I still do, but it was more important to me with just using condoms!).
There’s a few other options that are out there, like fertility awareness, which is knowing about your cycle and when you are most likely to conceive (and not having sex on those days). There’s also abstinence, not having sex is a 100% way to not get pregnant. The withdrawal method, when the male does not ejaculate inside a female, is not very effective, but I guess it could be considered something! There’s also the cervical cap, emergency contraception, or sterilization.
If you guys want more information I got all this from here! The have a lot more information about how every method works specifically and the pros and cons of each.
Just a reminder, make sure you talk with your doctor and follow all the instructions that they give you. Using birth control, especially if it’s for reasons of preventing pregnancy, (I know people use some forms of birth control to help with periods/acne/etc.) you NEED to make sure everything is being done properly. The effectiveness rate can only go down with improper use. Unless you’re ready to get pregnant, this is not a good thing!
So if you guys have anything to add or say about these different methods I’d love to hear! This is a bit of a more personal post, so hopefully it’s not too uncomfortable for you guys. I just feel that it’s necessary for everyone to know that there’s so many options. Something that your friends use may be totally wrong for you and you shouldn’t have to live uncomfortably just because you aren’t sure what else you can try! If you are having terrible symptoms for a hormonal option for more than 3 months, talk to your doctor about a new method. It sounds scary sometimes, but you’re never going to know how your body reacts until you try.
Let me know down in the comments how you feel about BC and the variety of contraceptives there are available. Have you found something that works for you? Maybe something that didn’t work for you? Something you want to try? Not on birth control, but thought this post was interesting? (Female bodies are amazing!)
Also, if you want more posts like this in Girl Talk, let me know!