Consider a Plethora of Options: Birth Control 101

December 5, 2018

Birth control options are plentiful in this day and age, making the question “which is right for me?” that much more difficult. Choosing the right birth control is really a team effort between you and your Monroe OB/GYN provider. Knowing how different birth controls work can make the decision process a little easier.

Getting down to birth control basics

There are really only three types of birth control available on the market today, the first being the natural methods of abstinence and early withdrawal.

Abstinence provides you with 100% protection from unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease (STD). Early withdrawal is much less efficient in protecting you from pregnancy and doesn’t protect you from STDs without additional protection.

If you’re interested in pursuing methods beyond the natural methods, you can choose from either barrier methods or hormonal options.

Covering your barrier options

Barrier methods of birth control can be effective in preventing conception but not all protect against disease. The most common type of barrier birth control is the condom, which is effective for protecting yourself from pregnancy and disease.

Other available methods of barrier birth control include:

  • Diaphragms
  • Sponges
  • Spermicide
  • Cervical caps

Before sexual intercourse, you need to insert sponges, caps, or diaphragms or put on the condom to prevent sperm from reaching your eggs.

For some, this interruption of activity isn’t preferred. If you’re interested in a birth control method that you don’t have to think about during intimacy, you may want to consider your options for hormonal birth control.

How hormonal birth control prevents pregnancy

Hormonal birth control regulates a woman’s ovulation cycle using synthetic hormones that are similar to the ones your body naturally produces. These hormones can prevent the egg from meeting with the sperm and stopping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.

Types of hormonal birth control include:

  • Pills
  • Implants
  • Patches
  • Injections
  • Vaginal rings

Each of these options can be effective in regulating ovulation to prevent pregnancy when used as directed. With implants, once the implant is in place, you don’t have to follow up with additional treatments for several years to be protected from pregnancy.

With injections, you only have to be concerned with keeping up with your doctor visits for monthly injections.

Birth control pills need to be taken daily to ensure pregnancy prevention. Patches typically need to be replaced weekly.


The intrauterine device (IUD) is a popular option that can fall under both the hormonal and the barrier category of birth control. The IUD is a small device your Monroe OB/GYN must place in your fallopian tubes. Once in place, the IUD can protect you from pregnancy for up to 10 years, depending on the type used.

The hormonal form of an IUD releases hormones to control your ovulations and prevent the release of an egg into the uterus.

The non-hormonal IUD contains copper that causes inflammation in your fallopian tubes. As a result, the tubes grow scar tissue, which ultimately prevents the egg from traveling into the uterus.

How to know what’s best for you

There are many factors involved in determining which birth control is right for you. For this reason, you work closely with your provider to find your best option.

In some women, hormonal birth control shouldn’t be used, either due to age, existing health concerns, or an intolerance to the hormones. If you are over the age of 35 and smoke, you should consider non-hormonal options for birth control to prevent additional medical complications, such as strokes or blood clots.

Other considerations may concern your family planning goals. If you wish to have children in the future or are sure your family is complete, your Monroe OB/GYN provider may recommend certain birth control methods to help you achieve those goals safely.

You may also need to change your method of birth control over time, to accommodate your current health and pregnancy prevention needs.


To learn more about your options for birth control, schedule a consultation online or by phone today.

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