One of the most important decisions you can make for your future is what birth control method you choose to use.
There are several variants of contraception available to you and they all work a little differently. They vary in how effective they are, how they’re used, how long they work for, how you acquire them, and what they cost.
Something like a Mirena IUD is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy but is known for causing several side effects known as the Mirena Crash. Everyone is not affected the same and this means what works for one woman may not be the same for you!
With this in mind, you have a lot to consider before deciding which one is right for you. We’ll take a look at a few important factors to think about before picking a birth control method below to send you in the right direction.
Consider Your Options
A critical step in this process is to fully consider all the options that you have available to you.
As we mentioned above, there are now several methods that you can use to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. This is separated into a few different categories of contraceptive, including barrier methods, hormonal prevention, natural techniques, and permanent surgery.
Barrier methods include devices like condoms and sponges, which typically places a physical barrier to protect your body from sperm. Sometimes, spermicide is also included.
Hormonal prevention is more diverse and it includes both long-term and short-term methods. Short-term use involves contraceptives like the patch, pill, or ring. On the other hand, long-term devices include an IUD or an implant.
Natural techniques work far differently because no special items are used. This relies on you to understand your natural fertility cycle to avoid sex when you are most fertile or using a pull-out method to prevent sperm from entering your body.
As a final option, permanent surgery will make it nearly impossible for you to get pregnant. Unlike other contraceptives, this is irreversible and should only be considered if you’re positive that you don’t want any children in the future.
Understand the Effectiveness
Now that you know the different types of birth control you can use, you should understand that they all have differing levels of effectiveness.
While you might have heard that barrier methods are most effective, they are only about 80% effective. This means that you have a 20% chance of getting pregnant, even when using them correctly.
On the other hand, hormonal methods are more reliable and have an effectiveness of 90% or higher. This option is as powerful as you can get aside from surgery, making it your best choice for flexible birth control.
Natural techniques can be useful, but they also have an effectiveness rate of 80% or less. The likelihood of human error is too high unless you choose the fool-proof method of abstinence.
With all of this in mind, you should consider how serious you are about preventing an accidental pregnancy. If you’re committed to not getting pregnant, then consider combining a barrier method and a hormonal contraceptive for a double layer of protection.
Compare Hormone Levels
Another thing to consider is the hormone levels of each choice.
This doesn’t usually apply to barrier methods but is relevant for the wide number of hormonal options available. While each device contains hormones, their hormone level differs.
Most hormonal devices contain estrogen and progestin, which your body may be sensitive to. It may be possible that your body responds poorly to one hormone and not the other or that both don’t work for you at all.
If this is the case, then taking hormonal birth control will cause side effects that may make it not worth taking. You might not know that you’re sensitive to a hormone until you try it, so consider trying different types until you find one that works well for you.
On the other hand, you can forego hormonal birth control altogether and opt for multiple barrier methods, like a condom and spermicide. Understand that hormonal options are typically more effective, so there is a trade-off for opting to not use them.
Research Potential Side Effects
Speaking of side effects, you should be aware of any that might affect you. These are usually caused by hormonal birth control, specifically the pill, but they can be caused by any method.
Here are a few common side effects linked to birth control:
- Mood Shifts
- Headaches and Migraines
- Breast Tenderness
- Appetite Changes
- Weight Gain
- Menstrual Discomfort
Again, the side effects of a specific birth control will vary from woman to woman. You might have no issue using a generic birth control pill, while friends of yours might steer clear of them due to the negative effects that they experience.
It can be difficult to know how you’ll react before trying one, but researching what may be caused by a method will help you correlate a side effect to your birth control if you do experience it.
Pick One That Suits Your Lifestyle
As a final piece of advice, select a birth control method that suits your lifestyle!
Think about how often you have sex and whether you plan of having kids anytime soon.
For example, if you don’t want kids in the next year or so but are open to having one sometime in the next three years, you might not want an IUD or implant. Alternatively, these might be good choices if you’re particularly young and don’t want kids for several years.
For your average woman, birth control pills are a great option that isn’t permanent. These are particularly effective, non-invasive, and you can easily stop at any time.
Each type of contraceptive is a little different and what works for your friends might not be good for you. Your best option is to consider what fits your life and try multiple options until you find one that suits your needs.
When it comes to deciding on a birth control method to use, there’s a lot that you need to think about. Blindly picking a device without understanding how it works can lead to an accidental pregnancy.
To prevent this, you should investigate each type of birth control. The three main methods include barrier protection, hormonal contraceptive, and natural techniques. Permanent surgery is also an option.
From here, you should evaluate effectiveness, hormone levels, and any potential side effects. Using this information, you can make a choice that fits your lifestyle.
While getting pregnant might be a scary thought, it’s often avoidable if you’re careful and committed to using birth control properly. Find a style that you don’t mind using and you’ll appreciate the freedom that comes with it!
Always check with your physician on all medical decisions.
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