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3 Things to Consider When Choosing Birth Control

Are you considering starting or switching your birth control? The options can be overwhelming with barrier methods, daily pills, long-term devices, permanent surgical procedures- the list goes on. What do you really need to know when talking to your OBGYN about contraception?

Your 5-Year Plan

The first question to ask yourself is whether or not you want to have a baby and, if so, when? Some contraceptive options, like birth control pills and barrier methods, allow you to stop at any time when you decide to get pregnant. Intrauterine devices, or IUDs, and implants can provide worry-free contraception for years. And if you’re done having children- ask your OBGYN about permanent sterilization, such as tubal ligation.

Maybe, Baby?

How important is it for you to not have a baby right now? Some birth control options, like Natural Family Planning and barrier methods, are effective, but less so than an implant or IUD. Hormonal contraceptives- including birth control pills, implants and the birth control shot- are most effective when administered on time. If it’s really important for you to not have a baby right now, talk to your OBGYN about backup birth control. Backup birth control is when you use two birth control methods to ensure protection in the event one fails.

Timing is Everything

Some contraceptive options require you to take a pill every day and are most effective when taken at the same time every day, while barrier methods must be used every time you have intercourse. The birth control shot works for three months, but you have to visit your doctor for an injection four times a year. Longer-acting contraception, such as the birth control implant and IUDs, can last for three to ten years and must be placed by your OBGYN. So, ask yourself how regularly you want to take your birth control.

Talk to the Doc

While your plan for the future and your desired frequency for taking contraceptives are important factors to consider when selecting birth control- they aren’t the only ones. For example, there are significant cost differences between the options, ranging from free or nearly free to over $1,000 for some of the IUDs. And your OBGYN will want to know if you have other health factors to consider. Women with some health conditions, like cancer or migraines with aura, shouldn’t take hormones.

Ask your OBGYN questions when considering which contraceptive is best for you.