Starting a family is an important decision. If you’re not ready yet, talk to your doctor about which contraception methods may be right for you. Board-certified OBGYN, provides an overview of some hormonal, nonhormonal, short-acting, and long-acting options for women.
Birth control pills are a popular choice. There are two kinds of birth control pills: those that contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only pills. They are taken daily. They also may treat irregular or heavy periods, cramps, PMS, menstrual migraines, acne, polycystic ovary syndrome, and endometriosis. Side effects are typically mild and can include nausea, breast tenderness, and headaches.
If you prefer the convenience of not having to remember to take a pill, an intrauterine device (IUD), implant, or injection might be right for you:
IUDs are T-shaped devices inserted into the uterus during an office visit. Hormonal IUDs, which can be used for three to six years, include Mirena®, Skyla®, Liletta®, and Kyleena®. Paragard® is an IUD that uses copper instead of hormones to prevent pregnancy.
IMPLANTS like Nexplanon® are small, thin rods of progestin inserted just under the skin of your arm by your doctor. Implants can be used for up to three years and may temporarily cause irregular spotting.
DEPO-PROVERA is a progestin-only injection given every three months. It may cause minor weight gain or irregular spotting.
Other options include the vaginal ring, a small, self-inserted flexible ring that remains in place for three weeks and is then removed during your period, or estrogen-progestin patches that you apply to your upper outer arm, lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body each week.
“You’re in control,” explains Dr. Dufreney. “Talk with your doctor to find an option that works best for your lifestyle and health history.” All birth control carries a small failure rate. None of these options will impact your ability to get pregnant later, and some studies show they may reduce your risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer.