Birth control and family planning

 


Your choice of a birth control method depends on a number of factors, including your health, how often you have sex, and whether or not you want children.




Information

Here are some questions to consider when selecting a birth control method:

  • How well does the method prevent pregnancy? To tell how well a method works, look at the number of pregnancies in 100 women using that method over a period of 1 year.
  • What are your feelings about getting pregnant? Would an unplanned pregnancy create hardship or distress to a woman or her partner? Or would a pregnancy be welcomed if it occurred earlier than planned?
  • How much does a method of birth control cost? Does your insurance plan pay for it?
  • What are the health risks? Talk about these risks with your health care provider before believing what you hear from others.
  • Is your partner willing to accept and use a given method of birth control?
  • Do you want a method that you only need to use when you have sex? Or do you want something that is in place and always working?
  • Is preventing infections spread by sexual contact important? Many methods do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condoms are the best choice for preventing STIs. They work best when combined with spermicides.
  • Availability: Can the method be used without a prescription, a provider visit, or, in the case of minors, parental consent?

BARRIER METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL

CONDOMS

  • A diaphragm is a flexible rubber cup that is filled with spermicidal cream or jelly.
  • It is placed into the vagina over the cervix before intercourse, to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus.
  • It should be left in place for 6 to 8 hours after intercourse.
  • Diaphragms must be prescribed by a woman's provider. The provider will determine the correct type and size of diaphragm for the woman.
  • About 5 to 20 pregnancies occur over 1 year in 100 women using this method, depending on proper use.
  • A similar, smaller device is called a cervical cap.
  • Risks include irritation and allergic reactions to the diaphragm or spermicide, and increased frequency of urinary tract infection and vaginal yeast infection. In rare cases, toxic shock syndrome may develop in women who leave the diaphragm in too long. A cervical cap may cause an abnormal Pap test.

VAGINAL SPONGE:

  • Vaginal contraceptive sponges are soft, and contain a chemical that kills or "disables" sperm.
  • The sponge is moistened and inserted into the vagina, to cover over the cervix before intercourse.
  • The vaginal sponge can be bought at your pharmacy without a prescription.

HORMONAL METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL

Some birth control methods use hormones. They will have either both an estrogen and a progestin, or a progestin alone. You need a prescription for most hormonal birth control methods.

  • Both hormones prevent a woman’s ovary from releasing an egg during her cycle. They do this by affecting the levels of other hormones the body makes.
  • Progestins help prevent sperm from making their way to the egg by making mucus around a woman’s cervix thick and sticky.
  • A diaphragm is a flexible rubber cup that is filled with spermicidal cream or jelly.
  • It is placed into the vagina over the cervix before intercourse, to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus.
  • It should be left in place for 6 to 8 hours after intercourse.
  • Diaphragms must be prescribed by a woman's provider. The provider will determine the correct type and size of diaphragm for the woman.
  • About 5 to 20 pregnancies occur over 1 year in 100 women using this method, depending on proper use.
  • A similar, smaller device is called a cervical cap.
  • Risks include irritation and allergic reactions to the diaphragm or spermicide, and increased frequency of urinary tract infection and vaginal yeast infection. In rare cases, toxic shock syndrome may develop in women who leave the diaphragm in too long. A cervical cap may cause an abnormal Pap test.
  • VAGINAL SPONGE:

    • Vaginal contraceptive sponges are soft, and contain a chemical that kills or "disables" sperm.
    • The sponge is moistened and inserted into the vagina, to cover over the cervix before intercourse.
    • The vaginal sponge can be bought at your pharmacy without a prescription.

    HORMONAL METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL

    Some birth control methods use hormones. They will have either both an estrogen and a progestin, or a progestin alone. You need a prescription for most hormonal birth control methods.

    • Both hormones prevent a woman’s ovary from releasing an egg during her cycle. They do this by affecting the levels of other hormones the body makes.
    • Progestins help prevent sperm from making their way to the egg by making mucus around a woman’s cervix thick and sticky.

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