There are numerous types of birth control options for women to choose from.
The best birth control method depends on the individual needs of each woman.
Each form of pregnancy prevention offers a different benefit and drawback.
Thus, it is up to each woman to determine what will work best for her. For instance, some women prefer the regularity of taking birth control pills while others prefer to use birth control as needed.
Birth control options make it possible for women to avoid pregnancy while remaining sexually active.
Various medications, inserts and medical devices prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
These birth control options for women include tools like cervical caps, chemicals such as spermicides and long-term options such as sterilization.
Continue reading the sections below to learn about the options that women have to choose from when deciding on the appropriate method of birth control.
Learn About Non Hormonal Birth Control
Non-hormonal birth control is preferred by many sexually-active women.
This option is also referred to as the barrier method. The following are different types of non-hormonal tools that women can utilize to prevent pregnancy:
- Sponge – A plastic foam that contains spermicide and covers the cervix. It can be acquired without a prescription but must be replaced after each use.
- Cervical cap – This is a small silicone cap that fits over the cervix. Most effective when used alongside a spermicide. It can only be obtained with a prescription.
- Diaphragm birth control – This device covers the outside of the cervix. Women are advised to put a spermicide cream or gel along the edges of the diaphragm to increase effectiveness. It is reusable for up to two years but can only be obtained by prescription.
- Spermicide – Cream, gel or suppository that must be inserted into the female reproductive canal prior to intercourse. It can be purchased without a prescription.
- Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD) – This device is placed inside the uterus to prevent sperm from reaching the eggs. It works by creating an inflammatory response from the copper wire that is toxic to both sperm and eggs.
Non-hormonal birth control options have a number of benefits. For instance, the mentioned methods can be used as needed rather than full-time.
Furthermore, non-hormonal approaches are often less expensive than their hormonal or long-term counterparts. Moreover, birth control that does not utilize hormones has fewer side-effects.
Learn About Natural Birth Control
Natural birth control is another method that many women prefer.
Otherwise known as fertility awareness, this method involves tracking one or several body processes that fluctuate throughout a women’s menstrual cycle.
Natural birth control methods are as accurate as the measurements and observations that women take.
Women can discover the days on which they are most fertile, and thus should not have intercourse, and the days that are least fertile and thus are less likely to get pregnant from intercourse.
Common methods of birth control that are natural include the following:
- Rhythm method – Also known as the calendar method. This involves women tracking their menstrual cycle for a six to 12 months before actually implementing the method. Then, women must use a specific formula that helps to determine the times of the month that they are most and least fertile.
- Cervical mucus method – Involves tracking the changes of cervical mucus daily to predict ovulation, and thus the best times to have intercourse. The best days for intercourse depends on each woman as discharge can vary. A doctor can help with this method.
- Basal body temperature – This method takes advantage of the natural body temperature change that occurs during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Her body temperature usually rises as she nears ovulation.
- Continuous breastfeeding – This method is limited to women who are breastfeeding. It is only possible in the first six months after giving birth and only if a woman is feeding her baby at least every four hours and has not gotten her period back.
Learn About Hormonal Birth Control
Hormonal birth control methods function by preventing ovulation, which is the time during a woman’s menstrual cycle when she is most fertile.
This method manipulates the levels of estrogen and progestin. However, many women are wary of this type of birth control due to the possible side effects such as spotting, weight gain, headaches and nausea.
The contraceptive pill is a widely used form of hormonal birth control.
Women using the pill must take it every day in order to prevent pregnancy.
There are a number of pill options depending on the woman’s need. Some allow for monthly bleeding while others limit menstruation to four times per year.
The birth control ring is another option. To use, it must be inserted into the reproductive canal.
It can be left inside for three weeks and removed during the final week of the menstrual cycle.
Alternatively, some woman opt for a birth control patch that is also used for three weeks.
However, patches must be replaced weekly. On the other hand, women can obtain a birth control shot. One shot can prevent pregnancy for up to three months.
Learn About Long Term Birth Control
Long-term birth control options for women involve methods that are permanent or work for extended periods of time without maintenance.
A hormonal IUD is a popular long-term solution for many women.
This device must be implanted by a doctor and will last for five to 12 years depending on the brand.
An alternate option is a birth control implant. This device is inserted into the upper arm by a physician and can prevent pregnancy for up to three years.
Both of these devices are highly effective at preventing pregnancy.
However, they are not appropriate for all women and can cause uncomfortable side effects.
Female sterilization is a long term option that offers permanent birth control.
Under this method, a woman’s fallopian tubes become obstructed through either surgery or implantation.
With sterilization, less than one percent of women experience an unexpected pregnancy.