Which Birth Control Is Best For Me – Medically Reviewed by Janet Brito, Ph.D., LCSW, CST – Gabrielle Kassel and Emma Caplan – Updated November 10, 2021
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Which Birth Control Is Best For Me
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We have to make all kinds of choices every day. These decisions range from simple things like what to eat for breakfast or which running route to choose, to more serious things like using the best birth control method. In fact, it can be downright overwhelming to sort through all the information and advice out there when it comes to birth control.
That’s where this guide comes from. It will put you on the right path to making a solid decision about the best birth control method
There are many different methods of birth control, which means that many of them work in different ways. In general, there are four different methods of contraception:
These are big and important questions, but don’t worry! A healthcare professional can give you the information you need to respond to them if you are feeling anxious or nervous. It’s a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to address these issues. They will help you resolve any concerns you may have.
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“There are birth control options that you can buy over the counter without insurance,” says Dr. Felice Gersh. Gersh is the author of the book “PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness.”
Many family planning clinics and health centers have programs to help you pay for options. Some examples include:
Many telehealth services also offer contraception. This can be very convenient if you live far from the clinic or health center or otherwise cannot get there, or if you prefer a virtual meeting. Some of these services include:
The bird and the bee 101 says that a sperm must meet an egg in order for pregnancy to occur.
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“If you want to avoid pregnancy, that means specifically avoiding vaginal intercourse,” Gersh adds. “It’s incredibly effective for people who commit to never being in a relationship.”
The effectiveness of outdoor activities depends on what you and your partner define. If you choose to avoid any type of penetration (including skin, mouth and hand sex), it is also 100% effective.
Also known as the rhythm method, fertility awareness involves tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms to avoid intercourse on your most fertile days.
While fertility awareness methods are inexpensive, low-risk, and a great way to learn more about your body, they have a high failure rate.
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“In general, fertility awareness methods are better options if you’re trying to conceive,” says Dr. G. Thomas Ruiz. Ruiz is the lead OB-GYN at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
According to Planned Parenthood, fertility awareness methods are 76-88 percent effective. This means that about 24 out of every hundred people using Fertility Awareness will get pregnant.
Birth control can be a touchy subject for some, but that doesn’t change how important a sensible method is if you’re trying to avoid getting pregnant.
So while it may be tempting to use the old-fashioned pull-out method, this is by far one of the most effective birth control options. You might want to believe it works for you. But with a typical user error rate of 22 percent, you can bet it won’t be.
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Fortunately, there are plenty of other “use when you need” options. You can find some of these for free at your local health center.
What is that? Internal condoms are latex-free and hormone-free polyurethane bags that can be used inside the vagina. They also significantly reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Win-win
Pros: Know you’re going to lie down later? You can get this baby out 8 (!) hours before intercourse.
Another advantage: even if your partner doesn’t want to use a condom, you can protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy.
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Even internal condoms don’t fit that well around the penis; Some users enjoy this freedom, but others say the extra material hinders the feel.
Cons: In addition to the average cost of external condoms being 2-4 times higher, these guys also have a bit of a learning curve. They are not
How to use: Squeeze the smaller inner ring at the end of the condom and at the same time pull the labia and vaginal folds back with your other hand. Insert the tightened inner ring into the vagina. Slide your index finger, middle finger, or both over the open end of the condom until you feel the closed end.
Gently push the condom until it reaches the uterus. Insert the outer ring of the condom into the outer hole and hold it in place during intercourse. If the outer ring goes into the hole when pushing, pull it out.
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What is that? As far as birth control options go, it’s classic rubber. The external condom tightly covers the penis during intercourse and is designed to trap all penile fluid, including pre-ejaculate, semen, and seminal fluid.
Pros: The external condom does double duty and protects you from sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. Wow! And since they are available in both latex and non-latex options, the risk of allergies is extremely low. Cleaning after intercourse is also very easy.
Cons: They are not stupid. Oh, and like an internal condom, while some say it increases pleasure, those used to unimpeded sex may find the opposite.
Remember: internal and external condoms are the only contraceptive options that reduce the risk of STD transmission! Mushroom
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What is that? The contraceptive sponge is a soft (latex-free) plastic sheet impregnated with spermicide. You insert it into the vagina, which covers the cervix and prevents sperm from entering the uterus, killing them if they try.
Effectiveness: Full use if you’ve never given birth: 91 percent Regular use if you’ve never given birth: 80 percent If you give birth, full use is 80 percent and regular use is 76 percent.
Pros: You can get this bad boy out within 24 hours of intercourse. You can also leave as many genders as you can in that 24-hour window.
Cons: You have to leave the sponge in your vagina for 6 hours after sex, which some people find messy (think: it drips). The risk of toxic shock syndrome increases slightly with this method.
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Some people find it difficult to start on the spot. If you hate using tampons, this method is not for you.
What is that? Reusable prescription prevention, the membrane is a soft silicone sheet. You saturate it with a spermicide and then insert it into your vagina, where it acts as a cervical bodyguard (er, babysitter) and keeps the sperm out.
Average cost: Free up to $80 depending on health insurance. You also have to consider the cost of a doctor’s visit and the cost of spermicide, which is about $0.60 to $3 per dose.
Pros: Hormone-free and latex-free, the diaphragm is a good choice if you want a hormone-free option or are allergic to latex. The hanky panky can also be left for 24 hours (as long as you add spermicide every 6 hours!).
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Cons: For those of you who like fast and furious fun, this option is not for you. Diaphragms can snap into place with aggressive pushing.
It’s also not a great choice for people who are known to be unable to use spermicide again or who are prone to urinary tract infections.
What is that? A cervical cap is a reusable, spermicide-filled silicone cap that you place in the uterus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.
Effectiveness: People who have never given birth: 86 percent People who have given birth vaginally: 71 percent The difference is because vaginal births stretch the vagina and cervix, which may or may not cause the cervical cap to fit as well as its should.
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Average cost: Free up to $90 depending on your health insurance, plus the cost of the doctor’s visit and the cost of the spermicide.
Pros: Don’t want the hormonal effects of pills, implants, injections or patches? Maybe you want to get pregnant in the near future? The neck cap has got your back. They are also suitable for those who want to save money. In a 48-hour period, they may be allowed multiple relationships. You only need to replace them every year, so running costs are relatively low. Another win: you don’t have to worry about reapplying spermicide.
Cons: Some people are sensitive to spermicides, which is a MUST for this method to work. The cap should also be left in place for 4 hours after intercourse, i.e
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