Birth Control Methods

Which type is best for you? 

There are many types of birth control available today and they work in different ways. A birth control method can only work if it is used correctly. It is important that you learn some basic facts about each method so that you can make an informed decision as to which is best for you.

ABSTINENCE: Not having sex is the only 100% effective method of birth control. There are no health risks. There are moral benefits of abstaining from sex until marriage. (100% effective)

CONDOMS: A thin sheath of latex rubber that fits over the penis. It prevents a sperm from getting inside the woman's vagina. Helps protect both partners from sexually transmitted diseases. No health risks. Some people experience irritation from the latex. More effective if used with a spermicide. (90% effective)

CONTRACEPTIVE PATCH: A new form of contraception. An adhesive patch that contains the same hormones as some birth control pills. Is worn on the body for a week at a time. Three patches are used per month. Increased risk of blood clots. (99% effective)

DIAPHRAGM (with Spermicide): A small round rubber cup which is placed in the vagina over the cervix. Must be used with a spermicidal cream or jelly. Keeps sperm from entering the vagina. No health risks if used correctly. Some people experience irritation from the latex. (80%-85% effective)

INJECTABLES: A contraceptive shot call Depo-Provera is given once every three months. May cause changes in menstrual flow. (97%-99% effective)

IUD (Intrauterine Device): A small plastic device, covered with hormonal agent, which is inserted inside the uterus. Effective for 5 or 10 years, depending on the type. May increase risk of pelvic infections or tubal pregnancy. Not generally recommended for teens or women with more than one sexual partner. (99% effective)

ORAL CONTRACEPTIVES (Pills): Birth control pills contain hormones that work by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary each month. Must be taken daily around the same time. (97%-99% effective)

NATURAL FAMILY PLANNING: Avoiding sexual intercourse during the fertile days in a woman's cycle. Requires instruction from a health professional to determine the days of fertility. (Less than 80% effective)

SPERMICIDES (films, foams, creams, suppositories, jellies): Chemicals which kill sperm and come in different forms. Places in the vagina just before intercourse. No health risks. Some people may experience irritation from the spermicide. (79% effective)

STERILIZATION (Vasectomy, Tubal Ligation): Permanent method available to men and women who are absolutely sure they do not want children in the future. The male procedure is called a vasectomy and involves cutting and tying the tubes that carry sperm. The female procedure is called tubal ligation and involves cutting and tying the fallopian tubes. (Both procedures are nearly 100% effective)

VAGINAL CONTRACEPTIVE RING: A small ring that contains hormones. It is placed in the vagina to prevent the release of an egg from the ovary. A ring is worn for three weeks at a time. (99% effective)

Birth control methods, other than condoms, do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms should be used along with birth control methods to help protect you and your partner from the spread of these diseases!