When you’re a busy mom, the last thing you want to worry about is potential side effects with your birth control or a form of birth control being incompatible with your needs.The important thing to realize first is what the differences are between the types of birth control available, so you can start to make the right decision for you. Finding a safe contraceptive is important for your overall physical and mental health.
There’s not one type of birth control that’s considered best for everyone. Some of the factors that play a role include whether you plan to get pregnant again, your overall health, and how comfortable you are with a particular method. The following are some of the primary types of contraception available.
An IUD stands for intrauterine device, and it’s shaped like a T. It fits in your uterus and works by stopping sperm from reaching and then fertilizing eggs. There are five types of IUD available in the U.S. Four of them, Liletta, Kyleena, Mirena, and Skyla, release the hormone progestin into your body in small amounts. That’s the hormone used in many birth control pills.
The fifth type of IUD is the copper T, which is hormone-free. The copper prevents pregnancy by triggering your immune system. IUDs tend to be hassle-free, and they last a long time, which are a couple of things women like about them. IUDs can fall into the larger category of long-term contraception.
Birth Control Pills
Hormonal contraception in the form of birth control pills is very effective when taken correctly. Contraceptives, which include not only pills but also patches and the vaginal ring, all have a small amount of synthetic estrogen and progestin which are hormones. The hormones stop your natural cyclical hormones, which is how they work to prevent pregnancy.
Also, hormonal contraceptives like the pill stop your body from ovulating. They can also change your cervical mucus, making it harder for a sperm to find an egg or pass through your cervix. Some women have side effects with birth control pills like mood changes.
Contraceptive implants go under your skin, and they release a hormone to prevent pregnancy. An implant contains a type of progesterone called etonogestrel. When an implant is placed under your skin, it releases small amounts of that etonogestrel. That hormone affects your pituitary gland, which then signals your ovaries not to release eggs. The hormone also makes your cervical mucus thicker, so it’s harder for sperm to reach released eggs. As such, implants are also considered hormonal birth control.
Barrier Birth Control
Barrier birth control is a general term for types of birth control that create a barrier blocking sperm from reaching an egg. Most of these don’t require a prescription. A male condom is an example of barrier birth control. There are also female condoms, and one of the benefits of barrier birth control is that it also protects against STDs.
Vaginal contraception is used before sex, and it’s meant to create an environment that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. There are jellies, tablets, foams, and different types of these. There’s also a relatively new product called Phexxi, which is a non-hormonal gel. It keeps the pH level at an acidic level that kills sperm, but you need a prescription.
If you don’t plan to have any more children, you might consider permanent contraception. For women, that’s tubal ligation and for men that’s a vasectomy. These are pretty simple procedures, and they’re almost 100% effective. Also, these procedures don’t impact sexual function, and you’ll usually be fully recovered within a few days. Your daily life stays the same, but you can’t get pregnant. It’s possible to reverse these procedures, but your fertility may not return, so you should make sure you don’t want more kids.
Finally, there’s emergency contraception, which is not something you should rely on regularly. Emergency birth control includes pills and a copper IUD. One pill is called Plan B, and you can get it without a prescription at most pharmacies. It can prevent pregnancy for up to three days after sex. There’s also the Ella pill, considered more effective and it does require a prescription. You can use Ella for up to five days after sex. A copper IUD can be almost completely effective if inserted within five days of sex.
Every woman’s preferences and health dictate the birth control that’s best for your needs, but knowing what’s available can facilitate a better conversation with your health care provider.
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