Once a female reaches maturity, she is then able to conceive. Most women at this stage often use birth control to regulate this process. If you’re considering using birth control, you have many options — from natural family planning and over-the-counter birth control products to prescription contraceptives or sterilization.

To help determine which birth control method would be best for you, consider your lifestyle, personal preferences, and health status.

Things to consider for birth control

Your birth control options may include oral contraceptives, barrier methods, or natural family planning.

To help pick the right method of birth control for you and your partner, consider the following questions:

What birth control options are available?

Birth control options may include:

Barrier methods


  • Male and female condoms
  • Diaphragms
  • Cervical cap
  • Contraceptive sponge

Hormonal methods


  • Birth control pills
  • The vaginal ring (NuvaRing)
  • Contraceptive implant (Nexplanon) — a single-rod implant for sub-dermal use that offers women up to three years of contraceptive protection
  • Contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera)
  • Contraceptive patch (Ortho Evra).

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)


  • Copper IUD (ParaGard) For more information visit www.paragard.com
  • Hormonal IUD (Mirena) — a safe and 99.9% effective hormone-releasing intrauterine contraceptive. This device is inserted into the uterus as a form of long-lasting birth control  For more information, visit Mirena online.



Natural family planning


  • The rhythm method
  • Basal body temperature method
  • Cervical mucus methods
How do the different birth control options work?

Various types of birth control work in different ways. Birth control methods may:

  • Prevent sperm from reaching the egg
  • Inactivate or damage sperm
  • Prevent an egg from being released each month
  • Alter the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg doesn’t attach to it
  • Thicken cervical mucus so sperm can’t easily pass through it
What is the method’s effectiveness?

To be effective, any method of contraception must be used consistently and correctly. Contraceptives that require little effort on your part, such as IUDs, contraceptive implants, and sterilization, are associated with lower pregnancy rates. In contrast, methods that require monitoring fertility or periodic abstinence are associated with higher pregnancy rates. The bottom line is that the right method is the one that you are comfortable with and willing and able to use.

Is it reversible?

The method of contraception you choose depends on your reproductive goals. If you’re planning a pregnancy in the near future, you may want a method that’s easily stopped or quickly reversible, such as an oral contraceptive or a barrier method. If you’d like to become pregnant — but not in the near future — you may want to consider an IUD. An IUD has a quick return to fertility, but it is expensive if you are going to use it only for a short time period. If you’re certain that you don’t ever want to have children, you may prefer a permanent method, such as sterilization. You may find that different contraceptive options work for you at different stages of your life.

If these choices feel overwhelming or if you need helping talking through the right contraceptive for your body and lifestyle, reach out to one of the Harbin Clinic physicians on our women’s health team.

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