While birth control is generally defined as a method for preventing pregnancy, there are many different varieties you can choose from based on your preference, lifestyle, and ease of use. Occasionally, birth control has other health benefits as well, even if you aren’t worried about preventing pregnancy.
If you’re interested in learning more about birth control, and how to obtain it, we’ve put together this short guide.
Copperstate’s Brief Guide to Birth Control
Types of Contraception
There are many different methods of preventing pregnancy, all of which have varying degrees of success and different levels of “maintenance” required to be as effective as possible. Choosing the right type for you and your lifestyle is unique to everyone. Some women love hormonal birth control, others would prefer to avoid it. Always be sure to discuss any questions and concerns with your doctor to learn what’s right for you.
Here are 17 different methods of birth control to be aware of:
- Implant: 99% effective, lasts up to 5 years
- IUD: 99% effective, lasts up to 3-12 years
- Shot: 94% effective, receive every 3 months
- Vaginal Ring: 91% effective, replace monthly
- Patch: 91% effective, replace weekly
- The Pill: 91% effective, take daily
- Condom: 85% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Internal Condom: 79% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Diaphragm: 88% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Sponge: 76-88% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Cervical Cap: 71-86% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Spermicide: 71% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Fertility Awareness (Calendar method): 76-88% effective, use daily
- Withdrawal or the Pull Out Method: 78% effective, use every time you have intercourse
- Outercourse and Abstinence: 100% effective, used every time
- Sterilization (Tubal Ligation): 99% effective, lasts for life (permanent)
- Vasectomy: 99% effective, lasts for life (permanent)
While birth control is generally used as a way to prevent pregnancy, there can be other benefits to birth control as well. Some women are prescribed hormonal birth control (such as the pill) to help them alleviate severe cramps or menstrual symptoms each month. Some women are prescribed this same birth control as a way to get a hold on (or get rid of) severe acne.
Some other benefits of hormonal birth control could be:
- Treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Lowered risk of anemia
- Ability to avoid monthly periods if desired
How to Get Birth Control
Obtaining your choice of birth control depends on the method. Here’s how to get the following types of birth control (some of the more common methods):
Condoms, Spermicide – you can purchase these at many stores, such as a local drug store, the grocery store, or even Target.
The Pill – this one, and other types of birth control like the vaginal ring, an IUD, or a shot, generally requires you to visit your doctor to get a prescription or to have a small medical procedure to implement it.
Sterilization, Vasectomy – these require you to visit your doctor and schedule a medical procedure.
Birth control isn’t something to be afraid of and there are so many options to choose from.
Whether you want to start a family “someday” or you never do, you have so many options when it comes to preventing pregnancy. You don’t have to choose between taking a hormonal pill every day or condoms – you can choose other long-lasting methods and hormone-free methods that will help to prevent pregnancy, too. Keep in mind the efficacy of your method of choice and choose the birth control method that’s right for you and your lifestyle.
A gentle reminder: with the exception of condoms, these birth control methods are only meant to prevent pregnancy. To prevent STI’s and other sexually transmitted diseases, be sure to use condoms or dental dams in addition to your birth control of choice.
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