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Birth Control

There are many highly effective forms of birth control available:

  • Combined pill
  • Contraceptive Injection
  • Diaphragm with spermicide
  • Female sterilization
  • Intrauterine device
  • Intrauterine system
  • Male sterilization
  • Progestogen only pill
  • Transdermal Contraceptive System
  • Vaginal Ring

Other methods that are available:

  • Male condom
  • Female condom
  • Natural Family Planning

The choice of birth control method should be discussed with your gynecologist or other healthcare professional. Aside from abstinence, condom use is the only method listed above which will help to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Female sterilization

This is an operation to block or cut the fallopian tubes. It is considered a permanent method of birth control. Although this procedure is highly effective, there is a failure rate of approximately 1 in 100. In addition, there is a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus) in the event that pregnancy occurs after a sterilization procedure. Female sterilizations are usually performed at any time laparoscopically or may be performed postpartum (after delivery) through a small incision below the navel. If laparoscopy is performed, the procedure usually takes less than thirty minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis.

IUD, or intrauterine device

This is a reversible form of birth control. IUDs or intrauterine devices are progesterone or copper- releasing. Copper in the uterine cavity is detrimental to sperm mobility. The copper-releasing IUD is effective in the uterus for 10 years. Progesterone released in the uterine cavity creates changes in the lining of the uterus that impair fertilization and implantation. The progesterone releasing IUD is effective for 5 years. Twenty percent of women discontinue use of the IUD in the first year due to bleeding, cramping pain, or spontaneous loss of the IUD. Most progesterone-releasing IUDs will actually make periods lighter than usual by making the lining of the uterus extremely thin. Approximately 1% of women per year will get pregnant with the IUD in place. IUDs cannot be placed in the presence of a pelvic infection and therefore screening for sexually transmitted diseases is often performed prior to their placement.