Learn about birth control methods
There are so many birth control methods available today that sometimes it’s confusing. Our San Antonio OBGYNs can guide you through all the contraceptive options, explaining the pros, cons and effectiveness of each one.
During your appointment, you and your physician will discuss your overall health, when and if you plan to have children, how often you have sex, how many sexual partners you have, and other factors that can influence which choice is best for you. You may also want to consider any side effects of each method, how comfortable you are with your choice, and whether you will use the method consistently and confidently.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives are the most effective methods available
If you want the most effective birth control, choose long-acting reversible contraceptives, or LARCs. These birth control methods are known as “set it and forget it” contraception. Once our San Antonio OBGYNs place LARCs, you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant for several years. Fewer than one in 100 women who use this type of birth control get pregnant in one year of use. LARCs include the following choices.
- Copper IUDs work for up to 10 years.
- Hormonal IUDs are effective for three to eight years.
- Birth control implants stay in place for up to three years.
Hormonal birth control methods are effective and popular
“The pill” became popular in the 1960s, and it remains popular today. Now women can choose from several different hormonal contraceptive options that are very effective, with only six to nine women in 100 getting pregnant with regular use in one year.
- Birth control pills
- Birth control injections
- Hormonal patches
- Vaginal rings
Hormonal methods contain either progestin or a combination of progestin and estrogen. These birth control options prevent pregnancy by releasing hormones that prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus and thin the uterine lining.
Barrier methods are affordable and easy to obtain, but less effective than other choices
The primary advantage of barrier methods is that you can obtain all of them, with the exception of the diaphragm, over-the-counter without a prescription. They are the least effective birth control methods, with 12 to 18 women out of 100 becoming pregnant in one year of regular use. Here are the available choices.
- Male and female condoms
- Diaphragms, which require you to make a visit to a physician and get a prescription
- Birth control sponges
Male and female condoms are the only contraceptives that help prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
Talk to our San Antonio OBGYNs about other options if none of the above methods work for you. You can use spermicides or the fertility awareness-based method, alone or with other barrier methods. Sterilization is another option, if you’re certain you don’t want to get pregnant in the future.
Our San Antonio OBGYNs can help you navigate the variety of contraceptive options
Learning everything you can about birth control methods helps you make the best choice for your lifestyle and your health. Contact us to make an appointment.