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Which Form Of Birth Control Is For Me?

Birth Control Information

There are many different birth control methods to choose from. Depending on lifestyle, amount of sexual activity, etc. each person has to determine which form of birth control is right for them. There are several categories of Contraceptives; hormonal, barrier, spermicidal, and intrauterine. We have provided a chart that we think will be helpful to our visitors at this site;

 Method How it is used Ease of Availability/cost  Percentage Rate (1) Possible side effects
 Oral Contraceptives-Birth Control Pills* Taken orally once every 21 or 28 days Doctor prescribed, is covered by most medical plans 95-97% effective Not for women who smoke or have high blood pressure
 Depo-Provera* Injection Injected by a medical provider every 3 months; check with your insurance  99% May cause heavy spotting, weight gain, nervousness or acne
 Norplant* Six thin rods are inserted into the upper arm  Rods must be inserted by a doctor-however, effective for up to five years; may or not be covered by insurance  99% Irregular bleeding and spotting, difficulty of removal
 IUD (Intrauterine Device)*  Small copper t-shaped tube is inserted in the uterus  Must be inserted by a doctor, covered by most insurances- 2 types of IUD Paragard, which is replaced once every 10 years or Progestasert, replaced yearly 98% Heavier menstrual periods, cramping after insertion
 Diaphragm/Cervical Cap  Is filled with a spermicide and inserted in the vagina one hour prior to intercourse. The Cervical Cap is smaller, fits directly over the cervix  Must be initially fitted and measured by a doctor; spermicides to use with them are available over the counter. Examination and items covered by most insurances.  80-82%  Lack of spotenaity, possible irritation from the spermicide, must be refilled for each act of sexual intercourse
Vaginal Suppositories Inserted in the vagina 10-15 minutes prior to intercourse Available over the counter at most drugstores- and through  70-74%


Must used 10-15 minutes before intercourse to be most effective-may cause allergic reactions, can be messy

 Vaginal Contraceptive Film/Vaginal contraceptive gel Inserted into the vagina immediately prior to intercourse  Available over the counter at most drugstores- and through  up to 94% effective Possible irritation to either partner
 Female Condom Inserted vaginally prior to intercourse  Available over the counter at most drugstores- and through  Approximately 79% effective  Must be used each time, plastic rings can be uncomfortable.
 Male Condom Placed on the penis of the male partner  Available over the counter at most drugstores- and through Approximately 86% effective Must be reapplied each time, can possibly leak or break

*Does not provide protection from Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

(1) Effectivity is measured for a typical couple who use this method for a 12 months. (i.e. 21 out of 100 couples that use the Female condom for a year will end up pregnant).

Most Doctor-prescribed contraceptive products should be used by persons in a stable, monogamous relationship. Two forms of contraception not included in the chart are tubal ligation and vasectomy. Since those methods are very hard to reverse, they should only be considered by persons who have completed their families. Over the counter contraceptives all work as a barrier of some sort-to keep the sperm from fertilizing an egg. Spermicides work by killing the sperm before it fertilizes the egg. Male condoms keep the sperm from entering the vagina. Female condoms collect the sperm that has entered the vagina.

There are new products currently being tested that will prevent conception and help prevent STD's. Called microbicides, these act by killing not only the viruses that cause STD's, but also as a spermicide. These products are still being researched, but may be on the market by the year 2002.

One thing that is vital to remember-any method used after intercourse is too late. Also, the only 100% effective method of birth control is abstinence (sorry!).