There are numerous birth control methods available to help you avoid unplanned pregnancies. Some birth control choices may be better depending on your lifestyle, needs, and preferences. A growing number of women prefer long-acting reversible birth control.

OB/GYN Dr. Kiran Patel and board-certified family medicine physician Dr. Leela Patel want women to know their options and what to consider when choosing birth control. There is no single method of pregnancy prevention that is appropriate for every woman. When it comes to selecting the best contraceptive method, the best option is the one that best fits what’s most important to you.

We’ve put together some important details for you to consider when it comes to choosing a contraceptive method.

1. Intrauterine device

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a little t-shaped device that a health care physician places inside the uterus. It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.  

The IUD, which is available as non-hormonal (copper) and hormonal (plastic), is one of the most effective types of birth control and can last anywhere from 3-10 years, depending on the kind you choose. Both types of IUDs work by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. 

IUDs are a good option for women who want a long-term contraceptive that they won’t have to think about or maintain once it’s in place. 

2. Contraceptive implant

The contraceptive implant (Nexplanon®) is a thin, flexible, plastic rod inserted beneath the upper arm’s skin. Like IUDs, the implant is more than 99% effective.

It protects against pregnancy for three years and works by releasing estrogen, which prevents ovulation. It thins the uterine lining, making a fertilized egg less likely to establish itself. The implant also thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to pass through the cervix.

It can be removed at any time, and fertility rapidly returns. 

3. Contraceptive injection

Depo-Provera® is a contraceptive injectable that you get every three months. It prevents your ovaries from releasing an egg and also thickens cervical mucus to block sperm.

You can also get a lower dose, at-home injectable that comes prefilled. To be effective, you must administer a shot every 12 weeks. Depo-Provera is a good option for women who will remember to get the shot every three months and who can benefit from having lighter, less painful periods. 

4. Vaginal ring

The vaginal ring is a small ring that you place in your vagina for 21 days and take out for seven days to have your period. After seven days, you’ll place a new ring in your vagina. The ring is safe, effective, and easy to use. It contains hormones similar to those in the combination pill. The vaginal ring is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used perfectly. 

Choosing the right birth control for you

A lot of factors go into deciding on the best form of birth control for you. It comes down to the aspects that are most important to you. For example, women with painful periods may prefer a contraceptive that stops their period. Other women may consider convenience to be the most important factor. In some cases, a contraceptive with fewer side effects is paramount. You may want a form of birth control that is immediately reversible.

Because everyone is different, the best contraception for your friends or family members may not be ideal. However, regardless of the contraceptive you choose, using it correctly is an essential factor in effectiveness. 

The team at Patel & Patel is here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you confidently choose a form of contraceptive that best meets your unique needs. To discuss your options further, schedule an appointment with us by calling our South Charleston, West Virginia, office. One of our scheduling coordinators will assist you in scheduling a visit. 

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