Your choice of a birth control method depends on a number of factors, including your health, how often you have sex, and whether or not you want children.
Here are some questions to consider when selecting a birth control method:
BARRIER METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL
DIAPHRAGM AND CERVICAL CAP:
HORMONAL METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL
Some birth control methods use hormones. They will have either both an estrogen and a progestin, or a progestin alone. You need a prescription for most hormonal birth control methods.
Types of hormonal birth control methods include:
IUD (INTRAUTERINE DEVICE):
PERMANENT METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL
These methods are best for men, women, and couples who feel certain they do not want to have children in the future. They include vasectomy and tubal ligation. These procedures can sometimes be reversed if a pregnancy is desired at a later time. However, the success rate for reversal is not high.
BIRTH CONTROL METHODS THAT DO NOT WORK VERY WELL
Contraception; Family planning and contraception; Coitus interruptus
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee opinion no. 539: adolescents and long-acting reversible contraception: implants and intrauterine devices. Obstet Gynecol. 2012 Oct;120(4):983-8.
Amy JJ, Tripathi V. Contraception for women: an evidence-based review. BMJ. 2009;339:b2895. doi:10.1136/bmj.b2895.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2013: adapted from the World Health Organization selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use, 2nd edition. MMWR Recomm Rep. 2013 Jun 21;62(RR-05):1-60.
Committee On Adolescence. Emergency contraception. Pediatrics. 2012 Dec;130(6):1174-82. Epub 2012 Nov 26.
Jensen JT, Mishell DR. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2012:chap 13.
Linares AC, Schutt-Aine AI. Contraception. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 26.
Lopez LM, Grimes DA, Gallo MF, Stockton LL, Schulz KF. Skin patch and vaginal ring versus combined oral contraceptives for contraception. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Apr 30;4:CD003552.
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, WA; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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