Birth Control (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Choosing a Birth Control Method
With so many methods available and so many factors to consider, choosing birth control can be difficult. You may be able to decide on a method by asking yourself the following questions.
Might I want to have a biological child in the future?
One of your first considerations might be to determine whether you want permanent or temporary birth control. In other words, you should consider whether you want to conceive any (or more) children. This is a decision that will affect the rest of your life and can be made only after thinking it through carefully.
If you are not sure about the future even though you know how you feel now, a temporary method is a better choice. If you are young, have few or no children, are choosing sterilization because your partner wants it, or think it will solve money or relationship problems, you may regret your decision later.
How would an unplanned pregnancy affect my life?
If an unplanned pregnancy would seriously impact your plans for the future, choose a birth control method that is highly effective. Or if you have a stable relationship and income and plan to have children in the future anyway, you may feel comfortable using a less reliable method.
How effective are different types of birth control?
Consider how important it is to you to avoid pregnancy, and then look at how well each birth control method works. Hormonal methods and IUDs work very well. Barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms, and spermicides are only moderately effective. Fertility awareness is even less effective.
Be honest about how much effort you are willing to put into birth control. To be effective, birth control pills require you to take a pill every day. Barrier methods have to be used before sex. Fertility awareness requires that you watch your temperature and other signs closely. You must also avoid sex on days when you could get pregnant. If you are not willing to put in the effort, choose another method of birth control.
Consider how comfortable you feel about using a particular method of birth control. If you are not comfortable with or might not consistently use a birth control method for any reason, that method is not likely to be reliable for you in the long run. Asking yourself these questions can help you decide which birth control method is right for you.
How can I prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
Unless you know that your partner has no other sex partners and is free of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), you are at risk for STD infection. If you are at risk, protect yourself from infection every time you have sex. Use a condom in addition to any other birth control method you choose.
You can choose between a male or female condom to reduce your risk for HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, genital warts, herpes, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and other infections.
What health factors could limit my choice of birth control?
If you have health problems or other risk factors, some birth control methods may not be right for you.
Other health problems that might keep you from using a particular birth control method are relatively rare, especially in young women. Compare the recommendations for and against certain hormonal birth control methods. But before using any method, talk with your health professional to see if it is safe for you.
What are some other considerations in choosing a birth control method?
Other things to consider when choosing a method of birth control include:
Birth control methods work the same for people of all ages. But some methods are not recommended for sexually active teenagers or women over 35 who smoke. This can be because of health reasons or poor pregnancy prevention if the method is not used every time. Thinking about the pros and cons of birth control methods will help you choose the one that is best for you:
After you have looked at the facts about the different methods and thought about your own values and needs, you can choose the method that will work best for you. Using condoms with any method may increase its reliability and helps to protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Women's Health Resources
- Your Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy
- What to Know Before You Get Pregnant
- Birth Control and Insurance FAQ
- Symptoms of a Severe Allergic Reaction
- Can Baby Catch Eczema?
- How to Get Beautiful, Dandruff-Free Hair