Birth control is not — and never should be — one size fits all. The good news is you have a long list of options, and we want to help you find the one that fits your lifestyle, values, and needs.
Our team of experienced doctors at Salem Women’s Clinic, Inc., in Salem, Oregon, is here to wade through the choices with you and help you decide which is best for you. Here are a few things to consider when selecting your method of birth control.
You want maximum pregnancy prevention
If starting a family is either out of the question or a long way off, you want to opt for the birth control methods that almost guarantee you won’t get pregnant.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC), such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants, and short-acting hormonal methods, such as pills, mini pills, patches, shots, and vaginal rings, offer some of the most effective forms of birth control. Even with typical use, these methods provide nearly 100% protection — in other words, only 1 woman out of 100 will get pregnant.
Short- and long-acting birth control methods work by either preventing your ovaries from releasing eggs, making implantation unlikely or impossible, or making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
Bonus: If you do decide to get pregnant later on, you can stop taking your birth control and resume your menstrual and ovulation cycles.
However, if you want to go a step further and end all chances of pregnancy for good, you can choose permanent birth control, also known as sterilization. For men, that means getting a vasectomy; for women, tubal ligation or salpingectomy — the complete removal of the fallopian tubes.
You want a hands-off approach
Many of our patients are looking for a set-it-and-forget-it approach to birth control. They want maximum protection but don’t want to remember to take a pill or jump through hoops.
If so, we recommend methods like shots, IUDs, and implants. We offer two kinds of IUDs: the copper IUD, ParaGard, and the hormone IUD, Miren or Skyla. ParaGard offers pregnancy prevention for up to 10 years, Skyla for 3 years, and Mirence for 5 years. Once the device is implanted, you don’t need to change or do anything to maintain it.
Birth control implants are placed in your upper arm and deliver continuous pregnancy prevention for up to three years.
You want to protect yourself against STDs
The only method of birth control that offers protection against STDs is a condom. You can use this simple barrier method with any other birth control you’re taking, adding an extra layer of protection against pregnancy.
You want to go the natural route
Want to go au naturale? You can do that and still avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Some non-hormonal options include spermicide, the natural rhythm method, and abstinence. These methods take much more willpower and diligence than others, but they’re the most natural approaches and the easiest to stop and start, especially if you want to get pregnant quickly in the future.
The bottom line
Choosing the best form of birth control can be overwhelming, so we walk alongside you and help you hone in on what matters most to you. We talk to you and ask questions about:
- How often you have sex
- Possible side effects
- The number of partners you have
- Your overall health
- Your comfort levels with a specific method or methods
- Your future plans
- The effectiveness of each method
- What’s worked (or not worked) for you in the past
All these factors go into your decision and help us make the best recommendation for you.
If you’d like to sit down with us and get more information about your options, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone at our office today.