Whether you’re looking to chose a method of birth control, the task of picking one is definitely overwhelming. From the pill to the birth control shot and beyond, understanding how each method works helps you figure out the best option for you.
Dr. John Paul Roberts is our experienced OB/GYN who helps you with all of your birth control needs. He has all the information you need to help you make the best decision for your body and your lifestyle.
How does birth control work?
Each type of birth control works in your body in a different way to prevent pregnancy. Ultimately, though, birth control methods either create a barrier for the sperm, kill the sperm, or use hormones to change certain things in your body to prevent sperm from reaching your egg. Some methods work for months to years, and others must be used every time you have sex.
“Every time” methods
If you don’t have sex often, or you prefer not to use hormonal methods, there are a number of options to use just when you need them -- but they must be used consistently. These methods include condoms, spermicidals, cervical caps, sponges, and diaphragms. Condoms have the added benefit of protecting you from sexually transmitted diseases.
The birth control pill is a popular method of contraception that contains hormones. Some pills contain estrogen and progestin, while others only contain progestin. Although each brand of pill is different, the concept of how they work is similar, and they must be taken every day.
Because they contain extra hormones, birth control pills prevent pregnancy a few different ways, including stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Without ovulation, you’re unable to become pregnant. Some of these pills also thicken the mucus inside your cervix, which makes it almost impossible for sperm to make it to your fallopian tubes.
Some of the pills also thin out the lining of your uterus. In order to support a healthy pregnancy, your uterine lining needs to be thick enough for a fertilized egg to implant. By thinning out the lining, your uterus is unable to support the implantation of an embryo.
However, pills aren’t the only hormonal option for pregnancy prevention.
Other hormonal types of birth control
Although the pill is one of the most well-known forms of birth control, there are other hormonal options out there to choose fro, including:
- Vaginal ring
- Birth control shot
- Nexplanon® implant
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
The IUD is also available in a copper form that doesn’t use hormones.
All of the above options are reversible, meaning you’ll still be able to get pregnant after you stop using them.
Choosing the right one for you
If you’re choosing a birth control method to prevent pregnancy, the choice is ultimately up to you. Many different factors go into choosing one, including convenience and your lifestyle.
It also depends on whether you want something that you can stop at any time, or something that you need an appointment to have removed. For example, the ring can be stopped whenever you want, whereas an IUD or implant requires an appointment to be removed.
There are a lot of considerations that go into choosing a birth control method. Here are some other questions to consider and discuss with Dr. Roberts before making your choice:
- Do you have health problems?
- What are the side effects of each method?
- Do you need STD protection?
- How soon do you want to have children?
- How effective is each birth control method?
You can also take into consideration how often you’re sexually active and if you’re going to use the birth control correctly every day or every time. Dr. Roberts helps you determine the best method for your body, lifestyle, and stage in life.
In addition to the methods discussed above, there are also natural methods like fertility awareness and withdrawal. And if your family is complete, there are permanent birth control options, too.
When you'd like to discuss your birth control options, call our office in Plano, Texas, to make an appointment, or request one using our online booking tool.