For most women, effective family planning is only made possible through birth control, or the contraceptive medications and devices that are designed to reduce the risk of an unplanned pregnancy. The physicians and health experts at Michigan Avenue Center for Health in Chicago know that you have a variety of methods to choose from, and they’re committed to helping you understand your options and find the one that’s best for you. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, call their South Loop office or request an appointment online today.
Birth Control Q & A
What are the Different Types of Birth Control?
Understanding what your options are is the first step in choosing the birth control that fits your life. The five main categories of contraception are:
Hormonal Methods: Hormonal birth control stops ovulation so your eggs can’t be fertilized. The pill, shot, vaginal ring, and contraceptive patch are common forms of hormonal contraception. Michigan Avenue Center for Health provides birth control pills as well as NuvaRing®, a hormonal vaginal ring that you wear for three weeks at a time.
Long Acting Reversible Contraception: IUDs and implants are considered long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods. An IUD is a T-shaped device that’s placed in your uterus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg; an implant is a tiny, flexible rod that’s placed in your upper arm, where it releases hormones to prevent ovulation.
Michigan Avenue Center for Health provides several LARC options:
ParaGard® copper IUDs, which last for up to 10 years
Mirena® hormone-releasing IUDs, which last for up to five years
Nexplanon® implants, which last for up to three years
Barrier Methods: This form of contraception prevents sperm from entering your uterus. Male condoms, female condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps are barrier methods, as are spermicidal foams, sponges, and films.
Permanent Birth Control: Permanent birth control is a viable option for women who are done having children or never plan to have them. It may be accomplished surgically, with a tubal ligation that either ties or seals off your fallopian tubes, or non-surgically, with an implant that permanently blocks your fallopian tubes.
How Do I Know Which Birth Control is Right For Me?
Each birth control method comes with its own advantages, drawbacks, and rate of effectiveness. Your doctor at Michigan Avenue Center for Health can help you choose the right form of contraception after considering the following factors:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Your level of comfort with the method
Your future family planning desires
Your sexual frequency and number of partners
Potential side effects
How Effective is Birth Control?
No matter which type of birth control you choose, its effectiveness for preventing pregnancy depends on consistent, proper use.
When used correctly, IUDs and implants are 99% effective, while hormonal birth control shots are 94% effective, and hormonal patches, vaginal rings, and birth control pills are about 91% effective.
Male and female condoms, often used in conjunction with another type of birth control for added protection, are only about 80% effective when used alone.
There are many options for Birth Control. For a pictorial reference guide, click Birth Control.