The Right Birth Control
The right birth control option is crucial to living a happy and healthy life for yourself and your partner. There are many options out there, and your doctor will (of course) guide you to the right one for you, but getting informed is the first step towards finding the perfect fit. There are two broad categories of birth control: Hormonal (a small amount of hormones is introduced into your body in some way), or Non-Hormonal/Barrier Methods (which use physical barriers to keep semen from penetrating the uterus).
Hormonal Birth Control
Taken every day, the pill delivers measured doses of hormones to essentially trick your body into either keeping eggs in the ovaries, or thickening the cervical mucus to arrest the motion of sperm.
There are many different kinds of pills and, while they are all 99% effective if taken correctly (you must take them at the same time every day), some women experience emotional side effects from the hormones.
This small ring is inserted in your vagina for three weeks out of a month and emits a low dose of hormones to do essentially what the pill does. The ring is more than 99% effective if used appropriately and some women find it slightly more convenient than pill-taking.
IntraUteran Device; or IUD
A small copper or plastic device, this is inserted into your uterus by a doctor where it remains effective for five years (Mirena, hormonal version) or twelve years (copper, non-hormonal version). The IUD is over 99% effective and many find it extremely convenient since it involves little to no maintenance.
A flexible plastic rod the size of a matchstick, the implant is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It emits a low dosage of hormones and is effective for up to three years, though can be removed at any point.
A latex or plastic sleeve fitted over the penis directly before intercourse, condoms are 98% effective when used correctly. They prevent the sperm from entering the uterus and thus prevent fertilization. Condoms are convenient ways to manage particularly short-term birth control.
A shallow cup made of silicone; the diaphragm is inserted into the vagina directly before sex to “catch” the sperm before it may proceed towards the eggs for fertilization. The diaphragm is 94% effective when used properly. Some women prefer it to condoms because it can be inserted hours before intercourse and thereby does not interrupt sex play.