So, what is contraception? The definition of contraception is something used to prevent pregnancy. Contraception is used to prevent pregnancy and, in some cases, STI/STD’s. There is also emergency contraception, which is used in the event of failed contraception such as condoms. In this guide, we’re going to break down the different forms of contraception methods and how they can be used.
The classic – birth control contraceptive pills.
Birth control pills come in many forms and types. Some pills are designed to be taken daily and give you a monthly period, and some pills offer the ability to skip periods and have them 4 times per year.
Orthotricyclen, Trinessa-lo, Orthosprintec, and others are all very similar monthly period pills. You take 3 weeks of hormonal pills that contain ethinyl estradiol and norgestimate. This prevents ovulation, which is what helps you not get pregnant. Then, the 4th week of pills are called placebos, and have no hormones. Ideally, this is the week you will get your period.
Yasmin and Yaz are a 28-day contraceptive pill that uses a combination of estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (drospirenone). This form of hormones is a little different, and you should speak to your gynecologist about the best option for you. These are designed to help with PMS and Acne.
There’s also a pill called Lybrel, which is a no period pill. This means that you take the pill for the entire year, and don’t have a period. You may experience spotting and break through bleeding, however. Lybrel also is shown to help with PMS symptoms.
Seasonale and Seasonique are 12-week pills, which are designed to allow you to only have 4 periods per year instead of monthly. This could be a good option for those that would be afraid of having no periods due to potential pregnancy scares.
With birth control pills, you can typically get pregnant one to two months after stopping, but everybody is different so that is not a guarantee. You should take them around the same time every day, but there is a forgiveness window of an hour or so. If you struggle with taking them on time, set a reminder on your phone, or explore other options!
The contraceptive shot.
Depo-Provera is an injectable birth control that is relatively well known and is given every 3 months. Depo-Provera has a great effectiveness rating, and some people may prefer it for the ease of only needing to get an injection. For those who have a hard time remembering to take a daily pill, this can be a great option. Depo-Provera is injected into your muscle, which can be a little painful for some. Luckily there is another option called Depo-SubQ Provera 104, which is a subcutaneous injection that goes just beneath the skin and may be more tolerable. Depo also is estrogen free, so if you’re sensitive to estrogen, the progesterone option of Depo can be a much better idea.
Diaphragms Birth Control.
Diaphragms are considered a more old-fashioned form of birth control. It is a silicone cap that goes over the cervix to protect sperm from penetrating. This cap is inserted right before sex and must be left in at least 6 hours after sex to work effectively. You also need to apply spermicide.
Nexplanon is an implantable plastic rod that goes under your skin and releases progesterone. This is another great option for those who don’t want or can’t have estrogen-based birth controls. Nexplanon is effective for up to three years, and again is great for people who can’t remember to take a pill daily. The implant can also be removed at any time.
There are contraceptive patches available, which are very straightforward to use. Each patch is good for a week, and you remove and replace it after that. It can be used when swimming or in water, so showering is not an issue. It can also be helpful for those with very heavy or painful periods! This form of birth control has estrogen and progesterone.
IUD’s, or intrauterine devices are great ways to protect against pregnancy. They are extremely effective, and last quite a while. There are both hormonal and non-hormonal versions of IUD’s.
The non-hormonal form is Paragard, which is a copper IUD that acts as a natural spermicide. It is inserted in through your cervix and is effective for up to 10 years. Paragard can also be inserted as emergency contraception, and is effective immediately from the point of putting it in.
Hormonal IUD’s include Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta. These are typically effective for 3 – 7 years, depending on the one you choose.
Condoms are the most effective route when it comes to preventing STI and STD exposure. They are not the most effective form of birth control, but are very important to use when it comes to protecting your body from sexual diseases. There are latex and non latex options, and even different size options for penises that may need larger or smaller condoms.
Latex condoms are your tried and true condom, with brands like Trojan and Durex dominating the market. However, companies such as Lelo, Lola, and Maude also make incredible condoms that are recommended by gynecologists for those who may be more sensitive down there.
Non-latex condoms are typically polyurethane aor lambskin, and are for those with latex sensitivities or allergies. However, anyone can use them, so feel free to try them out! These are not effective typically for STI/STD prevention, so make sure you read and understand what you’re using first.
There are also female condoms, which are inserted inside of you. These are a less popular choice, but they are available.
There are also permanent forms of contraception.
Women have the option of getting their tubes tied, which is a procedure where the fallopian tubes are blocked or sealed, which prevents eggs from travelling down.
Men can also have a vasectomy, which seals the tubes that carry his sperm.
Neither of these procedures are easily reversible.
Regardless of what option you choose, talk to your doctor about the right contraceptive method for you!