Which Birth Control is Right for You?

Which birth control is right for you?

Birth control is the practice of preventing unwanted pregnancies. There are twelve different methods to prevent pregnancy for people across the world. Are you thinking about using birth control? Do you know what method is suitable for you? Please keep in mind that every birth control method has its pros and cons, and the choice always lies in your hands! 

Below, I’ve compiled a list of the most effective forms of birth control, as well as the benefits and downfalls to each one. Remember, it is always important to consult with a medical profressional before choosing your birth control!

1. The Pill

It is essential to take the pill at the same time every day, as it contains hormones which regulate your body on a daily cycle. They come in a pack, and you only have to take one pill a day. There are two forms of birth control pills: combination pills, which have estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only pills. The pill does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so it is important to wear condoms to prevent spreading or contracting a disease. 

The Pros: 

  • A very convenient method of contraception
  • May offer protection against pelvic inflammatory disease
  • It can lead to lighter periods or help regulate periods
  • A safe birth control method
  • It helps decrease menstrual cramps
  • It helps you time your period 
  • Allows for sexual spontaneity 

The Cons:

  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Bleeding between periods 
  • Might cause depression
  • Alters sexual desire

2. IUD

IUD stands for Intrauterine Device. It is a small piece of flexible plastic shaped like the letter ‘T’. Sometimes it is called an ICU, which means Intrauterine Contraception. This tiny device is placed into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is long-term, reversible, and known as one of the most effective birth control methods out there. The IUD can cost up to $1,300, but can be as little as $0 with health insurance. There are two forms of IUDs: Hormonal IUD and Copper IUD.

The Pros: 

  • It is so tiny that you cannot feel it
  • Almost as effective as abstinence
  • It is ready when you are
  • Low maintenance 
  • It comes with or without hormones
  • Can be used with emergency contraception
  • Revisable if you want to start a family 
  • Copper IUD lasts ten years
  • Progestin IUD lasts 3-5 years

The Cons:

  • It does not protect against STDs
  • The insertion can hurt
  • Spotting between periods 
  • Irregular periods 
  • May cause heavier or more prolonged periods 
  • More or worse cramping during your period 
3. The Implant
Mostly known as Nexplanon, the implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant. A nurse or doctor inserts the implant into your arm. They call this birth control method a "Get it and forget it" form of birth control. Like the IUD, it can cost up to $1,300 but can end up being $0 with health insurance. 

The Pros: 

  • It lasts for three years (some websites said 5)
  • Convenient and private 
  • It makes your periods lighter
  • It is reversible so that you can get pregnant the minute it is removed 
  • Super effective: 99%
  • Only have one hormone while most methods have two 

The Cons:

  • Requires doctor’s visit for insertion
  • High upfront cost if you are not insured
  • No protection against STDs
  • The device must be removed after three years
  • Possible weight gain
  • Nausea 
  • Ovarian cysts 
  • Infection may appear from the insertion 
  • Headaches 
  • Breast pain 
4. The Shot

The Depo shot (also known as Depo-Provera) is an injection you receive every three months to prevent pregnancy. It would be best if you remembered to get a new shot every 12-13 weeks, which is four times a year. A doctor or nurse can give you the shot. You may also get a supply of shots at the health center to bring home and give yourself. You can start the shot whenever you want. If you get your first shot within the first seven days of your period, you are protected from pregnancy automatically. If you get it at any other time in your cycle, you need to use another form of birth control (such as a condom) for the first week after getting the shot. It can cost up to $150 but can be as low as $0 with health insurance. 

The Pros:

  • Similar to the implant, it is convenient and private 
  • Effective at preventing pregnancy (99%)
  • You either get your period less often or not at all on the shot 
  • It is temporary, so if you want to get pregnant, you can get pregnant 9-10 months once you are off of it 
  • It does not interfere with having sex
  • It does not contain estrogen 
  • Women that are breastfeeding or six weeks postpartum can safely use the shot

The Cons:

  • Scheduling is critical to prevent pregnancy 
  • Bone density loss, so it is recommended to not stay on the shot more than two years
  • Bleeding issues may occur
  • Skin reactions 
  • Delayed return to fertility 
  • Weight gain 
  • Mild pain 
  • May change your appetite 
  • May change sex drive 
  • May cause hair loss 
  • Depression 
  • Sore breasts 
  • Dizziness

No one can tell you which method is best for you but yourself. Please keep note that if none of these methods seem right for you, abstinence and condoms are the most accessible and most affordable forms of birth control. Most women use the listed methods to help their menstrual cycles, while other women use them to prevent pregnancy if they are not ready for kids. 

You have to decide which method is best for you and your body. Not one method of birth control is suitable for every person, so it is essential to look into the pros and cons before deciding which one you will choose. It may be short-term, or it may be long-term. One important thing to remember is that birth control is not permanent! You can always call the doctor and change methods if you feel uncomfortable, or experience side effects. 

Written by: Audre Arnett

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