When you’re sexually active but don’t want to have a baby, you need birth control. Although “natural” methods of preventing pregnancy exist, they’re not particularly effective. They also rely heavily on your or your partner’s behavior, which makes them especially prone to human error.
Many different types of effective birth control options exist, from hormonal to non-hormonal. With so many options to choose from, you may wonder which is the right choice for you, right now.
At the Center of Advanced Wellness, our expert medical team offers a full array of contraceptive devices and procedures. We also spend time with you to help you find the best type of contraception for your current needs and future desires.
Are you looking for birth control? Following is a guide to help you choose.
Both male (external) and female (internal) condoms are barrier methods of contraception that offer the further benefit of reducing your risk for some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). No other type of contraception reduces STD risk.
Female condoms are 79% effective against pregnancy; male condoms are 87% effective. If you’re not monogamous, you should use condoms for STD protection, even if you use other methods of contraception. Condoms are easily transportable for at-will use.
Like condoms, you can easily tote diaphragms, cervical caps, and sponges for spontaneous use. As long as you use diaphragms and caps with spermicide, they’re 87% and 71-86% effective against pregnancy, respectively. You must use them every time and leave them in place for a required amount of time. You then remove and wash them for later use.
Sponges, which contain spermicide, are 78-86% effective. They can’t be re-used. You may also choose to use spermicide alone, which is 79 or 86% effective.
If you don’t want to carry birth control wherever you go but aren’t ready for long-term, continuous hormonal therapy or an intrauterine device (IUD), you might choose a method that requires you to keep a schedule but otherwise “forget” about your contraception. Choices include:
If you need protection from STDs, continue to use condoms, too.
When you’re sexually active on a regular basis, you may choose a method that stays in place for a long time. These methods allow you peace of mind and are low-maintenance.
A birth control implant is 99% effective and can last for up to five years. We use a special device to insert the implant under the skin on your arm quickly and painlessly. After five years, we can replace the implant if you wish. If you’d like to become pregnant before the five years are up, we can also remove the implant for you.
An IUD is a T-shaped device that we insert into your uterus. Most IUDs gradually release hormones. However, copper IUDs are non-hormonal. These IUDs create an inhospitable environment for sperm so they can’t fertilize an egg. All IUDs are about 99% effective. They can stay in place from 3 to 12 years, depending on which type you get.
As with an implant, you can have us remove your IUD at any time that you decide to become pregnant. If you want continued protection, we remove the IUD and replace it with a new one after the IUD has expired.
As mentioned above, natural methods of birth control tend to be less reliable than contraception because they rely on human behavior. However, if you’d like to learn how to time intercourse with your cycle to minimize the risk of pregnancy — FAMs — we can teach you how to do so.
FAMs is 71-98% effective, depending on how carefully you monitor your cycle. After you have a baby, nursing that child may prevent a consequent pregnancy for up to six months.
Male withdrawal is only 78% effective. Men sometimes release sperm into the vagina before they ejaculate, which can result in a pregnancy.
If you and your partner are 100% committed to not having a baby, you may consider surgical sterilization. For women, this requires severing and sealing the fallopian tubes. For men, the vas deferens tubes are severed and sealed during a vasectomy.
These surgeries are generally irreversible. You must also take care after surgery to continue to use birth control until your doctor confirms that you’re no longer fertile.
Get the type of birth control that’s best for you by scheduling a contraception consultation today. Contact our Center of Advanced Wellness office nearest you today by phone or online. We have a location in Frisco and two in San Antonio, Texas.