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Birth Control Methods

Is birth control right for me?

If you are of childbearing age, you may consider using a form of birth control to prevent becoming pregnant. The practice of preventing pregnancy is as old as human existence. For centuries, humans have attempted to avoid pregnancy at certain times of their lives to accommodate their careers, marital situations, and preferences.

The ability to control whether and when you become pregnant can affect your ability to achieve your own goals and can contribute to your sense of well-being.

What type of birth control is best for me? Does my situation in life affect my choice of birth control?

Your choice of birth control method involves factors such as how easy it is to use, safety, risks, cost, and personal considerations. Each form of birth control has its own advantages and disadvantages.

If you are a woman and would have trouble remembering to take a pill each day, daily birth control pills may not be your best choice. Talk with your health care provider about the method that is right for you.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Birth Control Methods:

Birth Control Methods - Permanent Birth Control

If you've opted for a permanent form of birth control, are you satisfied with your decision? Why or why not?

Birth Control Methods - Over-the-Counter Methods

Have you used over-the-counter methods of birth control? Was it effective?

Birth Control Methods

What Are the Types and Option of Birth Control?

Discuss your birth control needs and preferences with your health care provider. Many methods are available from your doctor and can be arranged for during an office visit. Some options, such as a diaphragm (used with spermicide) or a cervical cap (also used with spermicide), require fitting, which can also be done during an office visit. An intrauterine device (IUD) must be placed by a health care professional.

Examples of types and options of birth control include:

Continuous Abstinence

Natural Family Planning/Rhythm Method

  • Barrier Methods
  • Contraceptive Sponge
  • Diaphragm, Cervical Cap, and Cervical Shield
  • Female Condom
  • Male Condom

Hormonal Methods

  • Oral Contraceptives - Combined pill ("The pill")
  • Oral Contraceptives - Progestin-only pill ("Mini-pill")
  • The Patch
  • Shot/Injection
  • Vaginal Ring

Implantable Devices

  • Implantable Rods
  • Intrauterine Devices

Permanent Birth Control Methods

  • Sterilization Implant
  • Surgical Sterilization

Emergency Contraception

SOURCE: Birth Control Methods.

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