Whether you’re not yet prepared to get pregnant, are finished having kids, or never wanted children in the first place, family planning services allow you to decide which birth control option is best for you.
Some forms of birth control physically block sperm from reaching your egg, while others adjust your hormones to impede the ovulation cycle. It’s up to you to decide which option suits you best based on its required maintenance, ease of use, and any side effects you may experience.
Westmed Family Healthcare can help you choose from a wide selection of reliable birth control methods. At our offices in Westminster, Colorado, board-certified physicians Clifton Etienne, MD, Michael Cavanagh, MD, and Flora Brewington, MD, offer family planning services that can help you prevent pregnancy when you’re not ready or not interested.
In this blog, we explain some of your best options for birth control and how they work:
Birth control pills are a widely used option for family planning that you take every day. These pills use estrogen and progestin hormones to stop ovulation, which is the point in your cycle when your ovaries release an egg.
The pill and other hormonal options for birth control don’t just have a success rate of over 90%, they can also regulate your hormones for other reasons. Your providers might recommend you take the pill to reduce menstrual symptoms like fatigue and cramps or to treat conditions associated with your hormones such as acne.
During a quick procedure, a physician places an intrauterine device (IUD) directly into your uterus. It stays there for 3-12 years, depending on the type, to prevent pregnancy. Some IUDs use hormones and therefore have similar effects as the birth control pill. Others are made of copper, which is a spermicidal metal.
Similar to intrauterine devices are insertable rings. These do not go all the way into the uterus, but rather stay in your vagina where they release hormones for three weeks. You also don’t need to undergo a procedure to place an insertable ring, as you can place and remove it yourself.
Intrauterine devices are a low-maintenance option and have a remarkably high rate of effectiveness at over 99%.
A transdermal patch is an option for birth control that’s easy to use. You might even forget it’s there. You wear the patch on your skin, usually on your abdomen or buttocks, and it releases estrogen and progestin hormones to prevent ovulation.
Patches are worn in three-week cycles. In the fourth week, you remove the patch and have a menstrual period. Like other hormonal birth control methods, the patch averages a 91% rate of effectiveness.
Nexplanon® is an implant that your physician inserts under the skin on your arm, where it releases hormones for up to three years. The implant is flexible and not rigid, so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable once in place.
You can schedule an appointment for your provider to remove your implant at any time if you decide you want to try for a pregnancy.
Barrier methods of birth control physically block the sperm from being able to reach your egg. The most well-known of these methods is the male condom, which uniquely also helps prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). They’re about 82% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Other barrier methods include the female condom, the sponge, the diaphragm, and the cervical cap. These methods are all roughly 80% effective or higher.
Whether you choose a barrier method, something hormonal, or a spermicidal approach, using birth control can ease your mind about the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. To discuss your family planning needs, schedule an appointment at Westmed Family Healthcare over the phone or online today.