Posts for tag: Birth Control
Your gynecologist can help you decide which birth control is right for your needs.
There is a lot to consider regarding which birth control option is ideal for you. Do you want a hormonal or non-hormonal option? Are you good with taking a pill every day, or will you forget? It’s important to find a birth control option that fits your lifestyle, and what works well for one woman may not work well for someone else. This is where our OBGYN can help you decide.
First, Decide What’s Most Important to You
It’s important for our patients to vocalize what’s most important regarding the birth control they receive. One woman may be looking for one that also treats acne, while another may be looking for one that can help make their heavy, painful periods more manageable. Your OBGYN will go through your medical history and lifestyle to help you choose the proper birth control based on your preferences and needs.
Know Your Options
An OBGYN can offer you just about every type of birth control imaginable. Here are the most common types of birth control,
Birth control pills
More than 95 percent effective when taken correctly, birth control pills can also improve periods and reduce acne. The cons of birth control pills are that they can increase the risk for blood clots, and they aren’t as effective if you forget a dose or don’t take it at the same time every day.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs)
An excellent option for someone who wants to “set it and forget it,” an IUD is placed in the uterus, where it remains for years. There are hormonal and non-hormonal (copper IUD) options. They are 99 percent effective.
Another option for women who don’t want to take a pill every day, this plastic device is inserted just under the skin of the arm. This is another hormonal birth control option that is highly effective at preventing pregnancy but doesn’t require a vaginal exam or procedure to place it.
Birth Control Shot
Your OBGYN can also offer a birth control shot administered every three months, which is as effective as birth control pills. Some women also report that their periods improve while on the birth control shot. While you won’t have to take a pill every day, you will need to come into your OBGYN’s office every three months.
Birth Control Patch and Ring
The same hormones as the pill, the patch and ring make it easy to place and leave it for three weeks. Then you’ll need to remove it one week out of each month. Like birth control pills, they are 95 percent effective when used correctly.
Ready to discuss your birth control options? If so, an OBGYN is the ideal medical professional to talk to. They can sit down with you to discuss the different options based on your needs and lifestyle.
Effectiveness of Birth Control
When used correctly, birth control pills are 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy; however, improper use of birth control pills can certainly decrease its efficacy. It’s important that you know exactly how to take birth control to protect against pregnancy. Here are some tips to protect yourself from getting pregnant while on “the pill”.
Don’t Miss a Dose
For birth control pills to be effective you must take them every day. So, what happens if you miss a day? Well, your hormone levels won’t remain consistent, which can increase your chances of getting pregnant. Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself to take the pill. If you find that you keep forgetting to take your pill, you may want to talk to your gynecologist about other birth control options such as the patch, injection, or intrauterine devices (IUD) that you can “set and forget”.
Take the Dose at the Same Time
It’s also important that you are taking the pill at the same time every day to maintain proper hormone levels. This means taking the pill within a 3-hour window. If you miss that 3-hour window, you should use backup birth control such as condoms for the next two days. Setting an alarm on your phone can also ensure that you take the pill at the same time every day and that you also don’t miss a dose.
Certain Medications and Supplements May Interfere with Birth Control
Some medications can make birth control less effective and it’s important to know this to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Certain medications that can decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills include,
- Anti-fungal medications
- Epilepsy medications
- Certain anti-viral medications
If you are interested in your family planning options and would like to talk to a qualified medical professional about which type of birth control is right for you, call your OBGYN today to schedule a consultation.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before considering birth control options,
What is most important to you when it comes to birth control?
This might seem like a rather broad question, so let’s get a little more specific. Some women are looking for a low or no hormone birth control that boasts fewer side effects while other women want a birth control option that can also help them get clearer skin. It’s important to talk with your OBGYN about what’s most important to you so that they can provide you with the best options for your specific needs.
Do you want to have a family and how soon?
If you are looking for a birth control option now but are thinking of having a baby in the next year, then this could help us determine which birth control option is best. Women who want to wait several years before starting a family, or who don’t want a family, may benefit from long-term birth control solutions such as intrauterine devices, which can remain in the uterus anywhere from three to ten years. Women who are looking to prevent pregnancy for only up to a year or two may benefit from more short-term options such as the pill or patch.
Will you remember your birth control?
Some women know that they won’t take the pill at the same time every day, so they want an easier option. If you think you’ll forget, or simply don’t want to deal with the daily reminders, then options such as the patch, ring, injection, or IUD can provide peace of mind knowing you are protected without having to take a pill every single day. For other women, taking a pill every day is no big deal. This is something to keep in mind.
Are you concerned about side effects?
Hormonal birth control does come with possible side effects, as compared to non-hormonal birth control (e.g. condoms; diaphragms; certain types of IUDs). Women who’ve tried hormonal birth control in the past and have dealt with mood swings and other issues may want to consider non-hormonal or low-hormone options. This is definitely something to discuss with your gynecologist.
It’s important to have the facts when it comes to birth control. There is a lot of information out there that can be daunting (not to mention that there is also a lot of misinformation out there). If in doubt, schedule a consultation with your OBGYN to help make the decision-making process easier.
You're more likely to experience a birth control failure if you select a method that's not comfortable or convenient for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of effective birth control options available if you're not happy with your current method. Your OBGYN can help you evaluate the pros and cons of each option and make an informed choice.
Types of birth control available
Birth control options include:
- Barrier Methods: Barrier types of birth control physically prevent ejaculated semen from entering your cervix. Condoms are the most well-known type of barrier birth control. Other options include cervical caps, diaphragms and contraceptive sponges. Condoms also help protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- Spermicide: Spermicide is a cream, foam, gel or film placed inside your vagina to kill sperm. It's most effective when combined with other birth control methods, such as diaphragms, condoms or cervical caps.
- Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): IUDs are T-shaped devices inserted in your uterus at your OBGYN's office. The devices protect you from pregnancy for several years and provide reversible protection against pregnancy. Some IUDs release a hormone that thickens the cervical mucus and makes it difficult for eggs to attach to the uterine lining. Others secrete small amounts of copper to prevent sperm from moving.
- Hormonal Methods: Hormonal birth control thickens your cervical mucus and prevents you from ovulating, a process that occurs when you release eggs into the Fallopian tubes. Birth control pills are taken every day, while implants, patches, rings and shots can provide protection from three months up to three years, depending on the method.
- Natural Family Planning (NFP): If you choose NFP, you'll chart your monthly menstrual cycle and avoid sex during fertile periods. NFP doesn't work as well as other methods because ovulation doesn't always occur at the same time every month.
Factors that will affect your choice
Before you select a birth control option, you'll need to consider the method's effectiveness and ease of use. Will you remember to take a daily pill or use a condom every time you have sex? If not, a long-term birth control method may be a better choice.
Your health is an important consideration when selecting a birth control option, particularly if you're interested in hormonal methods. Although hormonal birth control is a good choice for many women, it may not be recommended if you smoke and are over age 35, or have a history of breast cancer, stroke, blood clots, migraine with aura, or other conditions.
Do you need a little help selecting a birth control method? Contact your OBGYN to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.