Sex 101: Birth Control Options

Earlier this week, Chana gave us a rundown of birth control options, particularly the IUD. Today she covers more birth control options depending on what seems right for you. As always, if you have any questions let us know and we’ll be sure to help!

Prescription Birth Control Methods

Birth Control Pill: Available in different brands. A pill that is taken daily to prevent pregnacy through use of hormones such as; progesterone and estrogen. You will have  a more controlled period. It works by stopping your ovaries from releasing an egg each month. The pill also makes the mucus in the cervix thicker and the lining of the uterus thinner. This makes it harder for sperm to travel to the cervix, and attach to the uterus. The pill is a prescription you get from your doctor, and can vary in price based on insurance or company. Is incredible effective when used properly. Doesn’t protect against STIs.

Birth Control Patch: Is a thin patch that is worn to slowly release hormones into the body to prevent pregnancy (in the same ways that the pill does). Is 99% effective when used correctly. Doesn’t protect against STIs.

Birth Control Ring: Known as the Nuvaring, is a flexible ring that is inserted into the vagina and releases hormones to prevent pregnancy. The Nuvaring stays in place for three weeks, and is removed for the period. Works in the same way as the pill, and is very effective when used properly. Doesn’t protect against STIs.
Depo-provera: This method is given through injection to prevent pregnancy in the same way as the pill. Generally you have to get injected every three months, and are 99% protected against pregnancy. Doesn’t protect against STIs.

Interuterine Device (IUD): A small plastic device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy by slightly inflaming the lining of the uterus, making it harder for sperm to enter. The IUD is 97-99% effective, and comes in different models. The copper (ParaGard) model costs 50-70$ and the hormonal (Mirena) model costs 300-500$. Doesn’t protect against STIs.

Non-Prescription Birth Control Method

Male Condom: Has tons of variety, and can be bought pretty much anywhere without a prescription. Will protect against pregnancy and STIs. There are non-latex condoms available for those with latex allergies. Doesn’t interfere with cycle in anyway, and is only used when the specific sexual act is happening.

Female Condom: Can protect against some STIs and pregnancy by 95% (when used correctly). Doesn’t interfere with cycle in anyway, and is only used when the specific sexual act is happening.

Diaphragm: Placed into the vagina before having vaginal sex. Doesn’t interfere with cycle in anyway, and is only used when the specific sexual act is happening. The diaphragm works by holding a spermicidal cream/jelly that kills sperm that is close to the cervix. It also works as a barrier by covering the cervix. When used properlly, the diaphragm is 85% effective. It can protect against some STIs.

Spermicide: Is placed into the vagina before having vaginal sex, using a chemical (usually nonoxynol-9) to kill sperm. It also acts as a barrier preventing sperm from entering the vagina. When used properly, spermicide is roughly 79-97% effective.

Protectair Sponge: A sponge that is placed into the vagina for vaginal sex. Uses spermicide close to the cervix, killing and trapping sperm. It also acts as a barrier for the cervix. Is roughly 75-90% effective if used correctly.

Vaginal Contraceptive Film (VCF): A thin film is placed into the vagina before vaginal sex, and then dissolves quickly spreading Nonoxynol-9 into the vagina near the cervix, acting as a barrier that is 75-90% effective.

Alternative Birth Control Methods

Sterilization: Is done by a doctor to prevent pregnancy. Known as a tubal ligation or vasectomy. This method is 99% effective, and is the most permanent form of birth control.

Fertility Awareness Methods: This method allows partners to track their ovulation cycle as a way to avoid pregnancy. Can be 80-99% effective when done properly.

Withdrawal: This method is done by the man removing his penis before ejaculation, thus preventing sperm and semen from entering the vagina.

Make sure to talk to your doctor about any changes in your birth control. The internet is a great information source, but your doctor will most likely have the most accurate information. Also, talk to your partner about this. You should all be on the same page when it comes to your reproductive health.

Find out from your insurance company, what forms of birth control will be covered, this lets you know what you can/cannot afford. You may have to test different methods out before you find what works best for you. Always practice safe, sane, and consensual sex regardless of the birth control method.