Condoms, IUDs, implants, pills. With so many types of contraception on the market, you may wonder how it’s possible to whittle down the choices to find the best one for you.
At Women’s Healthcare of Princeton in Princeton, New Jersey, our compassionate and expert OB/GYNs and nurses help you find a birth-control method that matches your present goals, future goals, and lifestyle.
You can get a better understanding of the type of contraception that might be a good fit by asking yourself the following questions:
Do I need protection from STDs?
Although we all want to trust our partners, many men aren’t aware that they have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) because they tend to not have symptoms. Even if your partner was recently tested, most centers don’t test for the herpes virus, which can also be transmitted by skin-to-skin touch.
To reduce your risk of contracting an STD, use a male or female condom during sexual intercourse, even if you’re using another form of birth control. Male condoms are about 85% effective at preventing pregnancy and female condoms are approximately 79% effective. Combining them with other methods, of course, minimizes your risk for pregnancy.
Do I need birth control “on the go”?
If you don’t have sex often, you may prefer a method that’s available only when you need it. In addition to condoms, consider a diaphragm with spermicidal cream (88% effective) or a birth-control sponge (76-88% effective). While the diaphragm and sponge must be removed within hours, a cervical cap with spermicide can be left in place for up to two days and is 71-86% effective.
Do I want low-maintenance, reversible protection?
If you’d like birth control that you rarely, if ever, have to think about, you have a number of options, including both hormonal and nonhormonal methods. These types of birth control give you long-lasting protection against pregnancy, but can be stopped when you decide you want to have a child. Low-maintenance options include:
- Intrauterine device (IUD) — stays in place for up to 3-10 years (99% effective)
- Birth control implant — lasts up to 4 years (99%)
- Birth control shot — lasts 3 months (94%)
- Vaginal ring — replace monthly (91%)
- Patch — replace weekly (91%)
- The pill — take daily (91%)
Your doctor must insert an IUD or implant. You can get an IUD with or without hormones. A copper-based, nonhormonal IUD can also be used as emergency contraception.
Do I want contraception that’s 100% natural?
If you prefer not to use barrier or hormonal methods of contraception or an IUD, we can talk to you about natural options. Male withdrawal before ejaculation is about 78% effective if performed correctly each time. We can also teach you how to track your ovulation cycles (the Fertility Awareness Method), which is 76-78% effective.
After you have a baby, nursing it for six months minimizes your risk for a subsequent pregnancy. However, you must breastfeed every 4-5 hours to achieve a 98% effectiveness against conception. Abstinence, of course, is 100% natural and 100% effective against both pregnancy and STDs.
Do I want to end my fertility permanently?
When you’re sure that you’ve finished your family or never want to become pregnant, you can opt for permanent sterilization. Our OB/GYNs perform tubal ligation surgery on site. This permanent sterilization is not reversible.
Did I have sex without birth control?
If you forgot to use birth control or if the condom broke, you may need emergency contraception. At Women's Healthcare of Princeton, we can fit you with a copper IUD that prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in your uterine lining. The IUD can then be left in place for long-term protection.
We also offer oral medications for emergency contraceptive. Emergency methods can be used up to five days after you had unprotected sex.
When you’re ready for birth control, call our caring team or click the button here on the website to book an appointment online.