Searching for a birth control option can be daunting when there are so many to choose from. Many women don’t know the information and facts about most of these options, so it makes finding the right birth control method for your body difficult. We’ve compiled a list of the various contraceptives available to you, what exactly they are, and how they work and how often you have to use them.
Low Maintenance Options:
Birth Control Implant (Nexplanon)
- Nexplanon is a small rod about the size of a matchstick that is implanted into your arm.
- It releases the Progestin hormone into your body which thickens the mucus on your cervix and stops sperm from getting to your egg cells. It also sometimes stops your egg cells from leaving the ovaries.
- The implant is 99% effective up to 5 years.
IUD (Intrauterine Device)
- There are copper IUDs and Hormonal IUDs and they are inserted into your uterus.
- The hormonal IUDs release Progestin – like Nexplanon – which also thickens mucus on your cervix and stops sperm cells from entering, and sometimes egg cells from leaving.
- The copper IUD is wrapped in a thin layer of copper. Sperm are repelled by copper, which results in sperm getting nowhere near your eggs.
- The Copper IUD is effective for up to 12 years, and the hormonal IUD works for 3-5 years, depending on which brand you get.
- Both are 99% effective.
Options Used On A Schedule:
Birth Control Pill
- Like all other hormonal birth controls, the pill consists of estrogen and progestin.
- These hormones prevent ovulation and fertilization and stop your eggs and sperm from coming into contact.
- The pill is the most accessible birth control and usually consists of 28 pills – 21 active and 7 inactive, or 24 active and 4 inactive.
You take one pill every day. The inactive pills are the pills you take that allow your body to menstruate.
- If pills are taken correctly, they have a 91% effectivity rate.
Birth Control Ring (NuvaRing)
- The NuvaRing is a small flexible ring that you insert yourself inside your vagina. It also works by means of hormones estrogen and progestin.
- The hormones prevent fertilization of sperm and egg by stopping ovulation and thicken the mucus layer of your cervix.
- The ring must be changed every 3 – 5 weeks. Forgetting to replace your ring is the main reason women fall pregnant with this option.
- When used correctly it is 91% effective.
Birth Control Shot (Depo-Provera)
- The birth control shot is an injection you get every 3 months.
- Like the others, it injects progestin into your body. The injection stops ovulation and also creates the thick mucus layer on your cervix stopping entry of sperm.
- It has a 94% effectivity rate, only if you do it correctly and get it every 12-13 weeks.
- Make sure you have a calendar or reminder set for all your future shots.
Birth Control Patch (Transdermal Contraceptive Patch)
- The birth control patch is an adhesive patch that you wear on your upper arm, back, butt, or tummy.
- It releases hormones into your skin (estrogen and progestin) which stops fertilization and any contact between an egg and sperm.
- The patch must be replaced every week for 3 weeks, after this you go 1 week without the patch and then start the cycle again.
- The patch is 91% effective if replaced weekly.
Use Every Time:
- Condoms are thin latex or plastic pouches that a man wears on his penis during sex.
- Condoms “catch” the sperm which results in no sperm entering the vagina.
- They have an 85% effectivity rating.
- Spermicide is a chemical that comes in creams, gels, suppositories etc) that you insert deep into your vagina before sex.
- The chemical works by blocking the entrance to your cervix, thus blocking sperm from passing through, as well as making it more difficult for sperm to swim and reach an egg.
- Spermicide has a 71% effectivity rate and works best when combined with another birth control method like a condom, diaphragm or cervical cap.
- A diaphragm is a flexible, plastic cup that you insert into your vagina before sex.
- It covers your cervix during sex and blocks any sperm from entering your cervix and coming into contact with any eggs.
- Spermicide must be used with a diaphragm in order for it to work.
- It is 88% effective.
- A cervical cap is a small silicone cup that you insert inside your vagina before sex.
- It blocks your cervix and prevents sperm from passing through and meeting eggs.
- A cervical cap must be used with spermicide in order for it to work best.
- The difference between a diaphragm and cervical cap is that the cervical cap is smaller and shaped like a sailor’s hat, whereas the diaphragm is bigger in size and shaped like a dish.
- It is 70% – 85% effective.
Your Lifestyle Options:
Outercourse and Abstinence
- Abstinence is when you don’t have sex at all, and outercourse when you take part in other sexual activities that don’t involve vaginal intercourse.
- This, of course, is 100% effective.
Fertility Awareness Method (FAM or Rhythm Method)
- Fertility awareness means keeping track of your ovulation and menstrual cycle in order to prevent pregnancy.
- The days near ovulation (when your body releases an egg) are you fertile days and most likely when you’ll fall pregnant.
- During the fertile days, sex is avoided or other birth control options are used, for example condoms.
- There are a few different ways you can keep track of your ovulation, including checking your temperature each morning, checking our cervical mucus (discharge) every day, or charting your menstrual cycle on a calendar.
- Couples who use FAM’s can expect 75% – 85% effectivity.
Withdrawal (Pull-Out) Method
- Withdrawal is basically keeping sperm away from the vagina, and is exactly what it sounds like; pulling the penis out before sperm is ejected into the vagina.
- It is 78% effective but works best when combined with another method of birth control.
Sterilization (Tubal Ligation)
- Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure for women that permanently prevents pregnancy by closing or blocking your fallopian tubes.
- This prevents sperm from reaching an egg.
- Tubal ligation lasts a lifetime and has a 99% effectivity rate.
- A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that men have that prevents making a women pregnant.
- The small tubes in a male’s scrotum that carry sperm are cut off or blocked so that your semen won’t contain any sperm.
- Vasectomies last a lifetime and are 99% effective.
Hopefully you are more clued up on the various kinds of birth control and have figured out what would best work for you! It is always a good idea to speak to your GP before making any decisions.