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Birth Control Options

Pills: This is the most common form of birth control for most women to start contraception.  There are two main types of birth control pills. 


·         Combined oral contraception (COC): 99% effective when used properly.  These pills have both estrogen and progesterone. You will need to take the pill at the same time daily.  If you forget to take your pill or take it late more than 1 time in your pill pack, it is no longer effective birth control and you should use a back-up form of birth control (such as condoms or abstinence).   For some of the more common birth control names and link you can visit Health Links.


·         Progesterone only pills (POP)- these pills only have progesterone.  These pills are taken continuously without a break from the hormones.  They can cause spotting or you may not have a period while taking them.  It is very important to take these pills at the same time every day.   


Patch: Birth control patches are placed on the skin of the lower stomach or upper buttock.  Patches are changed weekly.Currently the only patch available in the US is OrthoEvra.  You can find more information at http://www.orthoevra.com/.


Injections: Depo Provera is a injection you go to a healthcare provider’s office every 12 weeks.  Depo will often take away your period by the 2nd or 3rd dose.  It has been shown to remove some calcium from the bones with long term use.  There may also be weight gain associated with Depo.  However, not everyone gains weight with this birth control. For more information, visit http://www.depoprovera.com/ .


Vaginal Ring: Nuvaring is a round plastic ring that you place in your vagina.  The plastic ring dispenses the same type of hormones you would normally take by mouth if on birth control pills.  You leave the ring in place for 3 weeks and then remove it for 1 week.  You will start you period while it is out.  At the end of the week, you place a new ring in the vagina.  You can find more information at http://www.nuvaring.com/.


Skin Implants: Nexplanon is a small plastic implant that is placed under the skin of your upper inner arm by your healthcare provider.  This provides birth control for 3 years.  It can be removed early if you desire.  More information is available at  http://www.nexplanon.com/en/consumer/


Intrauterine Devices (IUDs): IUDs are placed in your uterus by your healthcare provider.  Both are inserted on your period.  There are 2 types currently available.


·         Mirena: This IUD is good for 5 years.  This IUD contains levonorgestrel, which thins the lining of the uterus.  It may cause irregular bleeding after insertion for the first 3- 6 months.  Then, your periods will usually be very light or stop completely.  Mirena can be removed prior to 5 years if you desire.  You can visit the Mirena website at http://www.mirena-us.com/index.jsp.


·         Skyla:  This IUD is good for 3 years.  It is similar to Mirena.  However, it is smaller and may be a good options for women who have never been pregnant.  For more information, please visit http://www.skyla-us.com/index.php


·         Paragard:This IUD is good for 10 years.  Paragard contains no hormones.  It is made of a plastic T-shaped device with some copper wire.  Paragard will not change the pattern of your periods.  Sometimes your periods may be heavier or more uncomfortable with Paragard in place.  It can be remove prior to 10 years if you desire. You can find more information at http://www.paragard.com/.


Barrier devices: These are forms of birth control that place a physical wall between partners.


·         Condoms: 97% effective.  Condoms are placed over the penis prior to sex.  A new condom must be used each time you have sex.  When putting on a condom, leave space at the tip to collect semen (about ½ inch).  Pinch the air out of the top and roll the condom down the shaft of the penis.  Smooth out any air bubbles.  Hold on to the condom when pulling out after sex to prevent it from slipping or falling off.  Condoms can slip, leak or break.  If you notice any problems with the condom, the girl should take Plan B to prevent pregnancy.  Condoms can also help prevent STDs.


·         Female condoms 95% effective. This is similar to the male condom since it prevents both pregnancy and STDs.  The female condom is inserted inside the vagina prior to sex.


·         Diaphragm: 94% effective.  This is a silicone cup placed in the vagina.  The cup should make contact with the side walls to create a barrier to sperm and pregnancy.  The diaphragm must stay in place for 6 hours after sex.  A diaphragm should be used with spermicide and will not prevent STDs.


·         Cervical Cap 84% effective.  This is a smaller silicone cup placed in the vagina and over the cervix prior to sex.  The cap should be filled with spermicide prior to insertion.  The cap needs to stay in place for 6 hours after sex.   Cervical caps do not prevent STDs.          

·         Spermicides: typically spermicides are used together with a barrier method.  Spermicide can help increase the effectiveness of a barrier method.


Plan B: This is an emergency form of birth control.  If you have unprotected sex, if a condom breaks or slips off during sex or forget to take your regular birth control pill, taking Plan B may help prevent pregnancy.  Plan B works by preventing a woman from ovulating, if she has not already done so.  The sooner you take Plan B, the better chance it will be effective.  Plan B is not an abortion pill.  If you have already ovulated or conceived a pregnancy, Plan B will not stop or damage the pregnancy.  For more information, go to http://www.planbonestep.com/.

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