Do you know about all the birth control options out there?
A complete rundown of the pros and cons of every type of birth control
With the current state of women's healthcare, you may need to reconsider your birth control method — perhaps something a little longer lasting? Or perhaps a cheaper method?
Supporters of women's health rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 23, 2016Getty Images
Many women aren't sure of what kind of birth control is right for them — hell, I didn't even know of some of these methods until I went and Googled them myself in high school. Of course, with my conservative parents, the pill was the only way to go if any.
If you're still unsure, have no fear — this guide will provide you with all the resources and information from pills to IUD's. Here are 13 kinds of birth control for everyone.
Birth control pills come in three — count 'em, three — different forms. Combination pills contain progestin and estrogen. It's what me and most of my friends take on a daily basis. Pros include being 99% effective against pregnancy. Cons include hormone imbalances, no smoking and migraines.
Progestin only pills don't contain estrogen, meaning they're safer for those at risk for blood diseases or heart problems including smokers. Pros include not having a hormone imbalance — no weight gain, bloating or cramps. Cons include having to take it at exactly the right time every day.
Extended-cycle pills stop your period for three whole months — some may even stop it forever. Pros include not having a period — duh — and cons include, well, not having a period. It may be weird at first but is perfectly safe.
2. The Ring
Often called the NuvaRing, this form of contraception stops ovulation and thickens cervical mucus — gross, I know. Put the ring in for three weeks, then take it out for one to have your period.
Pros include not having to remember pills every day. Cons include not preventing STD's and only being 91% effective.
Talk about your mom's birth control. A diaphragm seems to have been alive since the dawn of time — it's basically a little cup that covers your cervix so sperm doesn't get inside. Use with spermicide to make extra effective.
Pros include easy insertion while cons include no protection against STD's and 88% effectiveness against pregnancy.
This is one of the methods I'm currently considering getting. The intrauterine device is inserted into your uterus, becoming a long-term, reversible method of birth control.
There are two types of IUD's — copper and hormonal. Copper IUDs protect you from pregnancy for up to 12 years while hormonal IUDs work from 3 to 6 years.
Pros include 99% effectiveness, everything listed above and the ability to be used as emergency contraception. Cons include a bit of discomfort at insertion and the potential for cramping and spotting afterwards.
Ah, the reliable condom. Of course you know about this method — it's okay if you don't! — but did you know all the different kinds? We have the male condom, female condom and dental dam.
Male condoms wrap around the male genitalia and protect against pregnancy and STDs — although not entirely. Female condoms line the wall of the vagina and only protects against pregnancy. Dental dams are for LGBTQ couples with vaginas — they go over the private area to protect against STDs during oral sex.
Pros include physical barriers and protection against pregnancy and STDs. Cons include discomfort, latex allergies and not being 100% effective.
The birth control patch works by releasing hormones through either your belly, arm, butt or back. Put on a new one every week for three weeks then rest for the fourth week.
Pros include not worrying about taking something everyday. Cons include being 91% effective and not protecting against STDs.
Sometimes called the Depo-Provera, the birth control shot is an injection that you receive every 3 months. It contains progestin and prevents ovulation.
Pros include being 94% effective and only having to remember to get it every 3 months. Cons include not preventing STDs and the possibility of you being scared of needles. I know I am!
The implant is another method I'm considering — it's a thin rod that gets placed inside your arm and continuously releases hormones to prevent pregnancy for up to 4 years. This method is more preferable than an IUD if your partner has a body part that's — ahem — larger than average.
Pros include being 99% effective and not being bothersome for 4 years. Cons include a potentially uncomfortable insertion process and not protecting against STDs.
"Getting your tubes tied" is a permanent way to prevent pregnancy that is 99% effective. The procedure actually closes up your fallopian tubes so that sperm can't get to your eggs. Although you can't get pregnant, you still get your period which is a real bummer.
Individuals with male genitalia can also get a vasectomy which is generally the same thing — this way, sperm cannot exit.
Pros include permanence and effectiveness while cons include cost and a real tough decision.
I don't super like this method — the contraceptive sponge is inserted inside your vagina to catch any sperm that it may happen upon. However, it's only 76% to 88% effective and is pretty uncomfortable to wear.
Pros include cost while cons include little effectiveness, no protection against STDs and everything listed above. Not worth it if you ask me.
11. Cervical Cap
Cervical caps are very similar to diaphragms except they're a bit smaller and differently shaped. Diaphragms are generally more effective at preventing pregnancy but caps can be left in for up to two days — in case you forget.
Pros include easy insertion and cons include price, low effectiveness and a need for a prescription.
12. Emergency Contraception
Don't use Plan B unless you absolutely need to — these tiny demons will mess up your cycle for months. Take this pill within 72 hours after having unprotected sex — however, it may work up to 5 days if you're lucky. Also, they're pretty pricey and you need to be over 18 to obtain one. You can also use copper IUDs although they're way pricier.
Pros include fast acting contraception while cons include price and availability.
A lot of people don't know this but breastfeeding prevents pregnancy — while you're nursing, your body naturally stops ovulating and you stop getting your period. It's 98% effective but won't prevent against STDs.
Pros include being natural method and having no price while cons include, well, getting pregnant which we wanted to avoid in the first place.
Ineffective ways of birth control
In my experience, abstinence — unless you're asexual — spermicide and fertility awareness methods are pretty ineffective.
Abstinence for sexual people can be pretty unrealistic — especially when you try to teach it to sexually curious teenagers as their primary form of sex ed. Spermicide by itself is only 71% effective and doesn't even have a physical barrier. Fertility awareness methods are not effective — cycles and bodies are always changing and can't be tracked perfectly by apps or calendars.
This guide isn't about controlling you — although I listed some major birth controls as being ineffective doesn't mean it won't work for you. The idea is to pick the one you're most comfortable with. Although having birth control is great, being comfortable in your own body is greater.
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