Are you a mother or do you hope to become one in the near future? Or perhaps you are a proud mother of one or two children and hope to have more babies someday but not right now? If any of these scenarios applies to you then you know the importance of choosing a method of birth control that will work as well as you need it too. Let us take the time to look at some of the most effective ways at preventing pregnancy right now to guarantee peace of mind for the both of you!
The choices in contraception abound in our society today and new developments are always appearing on the market as the birth control market is booming. In other words, there are more options now that there has ever been before. There are birth control methods that can be swallowed, inserted, injected and attached to the body for ample protection. Not all methods are discussed here, just the ones that can be obtained through a doctor. These are also the methods that are believed to be the most effective at preventing pregnancy. Be aware that plenty of methods that can be purchased at a drugstore are very effective as well such as the tried and true condom, the sponge (Today sponge), spermicidal foam and the new female condom (called Reality). Condoms are the only method of birth control that is effective at preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.
Take note that these methods are not presented in any particular order.
Combined oral contraceptive (estrogen and progestin). This is often referred to as simply the pill.
Brand names: Currently there are 24 different types of birth control pills available on the market, not including dosage variations within similar products. Ortho-Tricyclen is one of the most commonly prescribed.
How it works: One pill is taken every day for a period of three weeks. In the fourth week placebo pills are taken or in a lot of cases, nothing at all. The pills contain estrogen and progestin hormones that serve to black ovulation and thicken cervical mucus. In essence a pseudo pregnancy takes place whereby the brain is sent the message that the woman is pregnant and therefore no egg is released from the ovary at the scheduled time.
97-99 percent effective. (Some doctors will go as far as to say that the pill is 100 effective if taken as directed)
Progestin- only (or the mini pill)
Brand name: Micronor
How it works: One pill is taken once a day, every day. There is no pill-free week and no placebos. The mini-pill works by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus. In some women it suppresses ovulation.
90-99 percent effective.
Brand name: Ortho-Evra
How it works: The patch as it is often called, is attached directly onto the body of a woman and a new one is applied once a week for a period of three weeks time. The fourth week is patch-free for the woman. This form of contraception works by slowly releasing estrogen and progestin, the same hormones as the combined oral contraceptive pill. Like the work of the pill, it serves to block ovulation and thickens cervical mucus. The patch is designed to stay on the skin during bathing, swimming and exercise.
97-99 percent effective.
Brand name: Depo-Provera
How it works: A doctor administers an injection once every three months. This birth control method suppresses ovulation, thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus.
Over 99 percent effective.
Hormonal Intrauterine Device (IUD)
Brand name: Mirena
How it works: A doctor implants the Mirena IUD directly into the uterus and it becomes effective immediately upon insertion. The device can be left in the body for up to five years before a doctor removes it. There was a lot of controversy over the use of IUDs in the past but today the newer versions are considered safe and effective for use. The IUD works by thinning the lining of the uterus, thickening cervical mucus and inhibiting sperm movement. The two latest versions of the IUD are the copper T IUD and the progestasert IUD. Speak with your doctor to learn more about these.
Over 99 percent effective.
Hormonal Vaginal Contraceptive Ring
Brand name: NuvaRing
How it works: The NuvaRing releases both the hormones estrogen and progestin into the system to help prevent pregnancy. The ring is soft and malleable and once squeezed between the thumb and index finger can quickly and easily be inserted into the vagina. The NuvaRing is worn for a period of three weeks and then it needs to come out when your period starts. Once the period is over, a new one can be inserted.
98 to 99 percent effective.
Barrier Methods of Birth Control
The diaphragm, cervical cap and cervical shield are all barrier methods of birth control that serve to prevent sperm from entering the cervix and finding their way to an egg. The diaphragm, which is the oldest method of the three is shaped much like a shallow latex cup and come in different sizes that a doctor must fit you for. The diaphragm is 84 to 94 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. The cervical cap is a latex cup that is shaped like a thimble. It comes in different sizes like the diaphragm and a doctor must fit you for the proper one. This form of contraception is 84 to 91 percent effective. The cervical shield requires a prescription from a doctor but it comes in one size only and does not require a fitting. This method is 85 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Spermicides purchased from a pharmacy must be used with each of these three methods of birth control. Spermicides come in either foams or gel. Barrier forms of birth control such as these must be left in place for a period of six to eight hours after intercourse has taken place, however they must be removed within a period of 24 hours if you use a diaphragm and 48 for a cervical cap or shield.