With so many options, our OB/GYNs can help eliminate the confusion of which contraception to use. We provide various methods of contraception as well as counsel patients on natural methods.
What is contraception?
Contraception is a term used for the prevention of pregnancy, and it is often referred to as birth control. There are several methods of contraception, some of which are created for women and others for men. Some methods are considered permanent while others are reversible. The majority of birth control methods fall into one of two categories: barrier or hormonal. There are also four other methods: sterilization (surgery), withdrawal, natural family planning and abstinence.
It is important to examine the different methods of birth control and other related considerations as you determine which method of contraception is best for you. It is important to remember that most birth control methods prevent pregnancy, but they do not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. If you are sexually active and using a form of birth control, it is important to remember that all forms of birth control have a failure rate. You should take a pregnancy test if you are experiencing any pregnancy symptoms.
Below is a brief description of each type of contraception. Additional detailed information is available through links to each specific type of contraception.
- As a means of contraception, abstinence is the voluntary refraining from sexual activity
- Abstinence is the only contraceptive method that is 100% effective in the prevention of both pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases
Fertility awareness method – natural family planning (nfp):
Fertility awareness method is also known as Natural Family Planning and is commonly called NFP.
- NFP does not rely on devices or medications to prevent pregnancies
- NFP is a contraceptive method that uses the natural functions of your body and your menstrual cycle to calculate ovulation. The most common features of NFP involve recording of your body temperature and changes in your cervical mucus each day
- NFP requires periodic abstinence (approximately 7 to 10 days) during the ovulation period. Some women choose to use a barrier method or withdrawal during this time frame
Barrier methods: devices
- Barrier or device methods of contraceptives are physical or chemical barriers designed to stop sperm from entering a woman’s uterus.
- The male condom is a tube of thin material (latex rubber) that is rolled over the erect penis prior to contact with the vagina. The male condom is the most common barrier method.
- The female condom is a seven-inch long pouch of polyurethane with two flexible rings and is inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse.
- The female condom covers the cervix, vaginal canal, and the immediate area around the vagina.
- Spermicides are chemicals that are designed to kill sperm.
- Spermicide chemicals are available as foam, jelly, foaming tablets and vaginal suppositories.
- The diaphragm is a soft rubber dome stretched over a flexible ring; the dome is filled with a spermicidal cream or jelly.
- The diaphragm is inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix no more than 3 hours prior to intercourse.
- The cervical cap is a small cup made of latex rubber or plastic.
- The cervical cap is filled with a spermicidal cream or jelly and inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix.
- The contraceptive sponge is a soft saucer-shaped device made from polyurethane foam.
Whether administered as a pill, patch, shot, ring or implant, hormone medications contain manufactured forms of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. Hormonal methods work in one of three ways:
- Preventing a woman’s ovaries from releasing an egg each month.
- Causing the cervical mucus to thicken making it harder for sperm to reach and penetrate the egg.
- Thinning the lining of the uterus which reduces the likelihood that a fertilized egg will implant in the uterus wall. Hormonal contraceptives do NOT protect against the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
Birth Control Pills:
- Birth control pills are taken daily as prescribed by your healthcare provider.
- Depo-Provera is an injection given by your health care provider that prevents pregnancy for three months.
- Lunelle is an injection given by your health care provider that prevents pregnancy for one month.
- NuvaRing, or vaginal ring, is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina for three weeks, removed for one week, and then replaced with a new ring.
- The ring releases estrogen and progesterone into your body.
Ortho Evra Patch/Birth Control Patch:
- The birth control patch is placed directly on the skin with the hormones built into the sticky side of the patch.
- Each week for the first three weeks a patch is placed on the hip, buttocks or upper arm.
The fourth week you are free from the patch allowing for a menstrual period.
Intrauterine Device (IUD):
- The IUD is a small plastic device containing copper or hormones and is inserted into the uterus by a medical professional.
- The IUD does not stop the sperm from entering into the uterus, but rather it changes cervical mucus decreasing the probability of fertilization and it changes the lining of the uterus preventing implantation should fertilization occur.
withdrawal & sterilization:
- Neither withdrawal nor sterilizations prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
- Involves the removal of the erect penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation.
- Sterilization involves the surgical closing of the fallopian tubes which carry the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus.
- This procedure is referred to as a tubal ligation.
- Sterilization involves the surgical closing of tubes that carry sperm.
- This procedure is referred to as a vasectomy.
Permanent birth control options
The Essure procedure, is a new, minimally invasive method of permanent birth control. The procedure can be conveniently performed in our office or on an out patient basis. Unlike tubal ligation, Essure requires no incisions, burning, or tying, and the entire procedure takes approximately 35 minutes. Most patients may return home in as little as 45 minutes following the procedure and resume normal activities within 24 hours. Essure may be recommended for patients who could face risks through other procedures, including obese women or those who have had past abdominal surgery.
Benefits of ESSURE:
- Surgery Free – During the procedure, the Essure inserts are placed in the fallopian tubes through the natural pathways of the vagina and cervix, with no incisions and no surgery.
- Performed in the Comfort of a Doctor’s Office – Because there is no surgery required, the Essure procedure can be performed comfortably and quickly in your doctor’s office.
- Hormone Free – Unlike many temporary methods of birth control such as oral contraceptives, the shot, the ring and some IUDs, the Essure inserts do not contain hormones. Therefore, they will not interfere with your monthly cycle nor cause the side effects that many women experience with hormone-related birth control.
- Virtually Recovery Free – Following the Essure procedure, most women return to their normal activities in less than a day.
- Covered by Insurance – The Essure procedure is covered by most insurance providers. If the procedure is performed in a doctor’s office, your payment may be as low as a simple co-pay, depending on your insurance plan.
What is IMPLANON®: IMPLANON® is a hormone-releasing birth control implant for use by women to prevent pregnancy for up to 3 years. The implant is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a matchstick that contains a progestin hormone called etonogestrel. Your healthcare provider will insert the implant just under the skin of the inner side of your upper arm. You can use a single IMPLANON® implant for up to 3 years. IMPLANON® does not contain estrogen.
What if I need birth control for more than 3 years?
The IMPLANON® implant must be removed after 3 years. Your healthcare provider can insert a new implant under your skin after taking out the old one if you choose to continue using IMPLANON® for birth control.
What if I change my mind about birth control and want to stop using IMPLANON® before 3 years?
Your healthcare provider can remove the implant at any time. You may become pregnant as early as the first week after removal of the implant. If you do not want to get pregnant after your healthcare provider removes the IMPLANON® implant, you should start another birth control method right away.
How does IMPLANON® work?
IMPLANON® prevents pregnancy in several ways. The most important way is by stopping the release of an egg from your ovary. IMPLANON® also thickens the mucus in your cervix and this change may keep sperm from reaching the egg. IMPLANON® also changes the lining of your uterus.
How well does IMPLANON® work?
When the IMPLANON® implant is placed correctly, your chance of getting pregnant is very low (less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women who use IMPLANON® for 1 year). It is not known if IMPLANON® is as effective in very overweight women because studies did not include many overweight women.
How is the IMPLANON® implant placed and removed?
Your healthcare provider will place and remove the IMPLANON® implant in a minor surgical procedure in his or her office. The implant is placed just under the skin on the inner side of your upper arm.
The timing of insertion is important. Your healthcare provider may:
- Perform a pregnancy test before inserting IMPLANON®.
- Schedule the insertion at a specific time of your menstrual cycle (for example, within the first days of your regular menstrual bleeding).