There are different birth control options available, and choosing one should include a health diagnosis and a healthcare professional’s recommendation. Major birth control options include:
- Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives)
- Birth Control Implant (Contraceptive Implants)
- Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills or oral contraceptives are medications that you take (usually daily) by mouth to prevent pregnancy.
Different types of birth control pills are monophasic pills, multiphasic pills, and extended-cycle pills. A healthcare professional will advise their recommendation to a patient based on the following criteria:
- Health history
- Current health status
- Whether you are breastfeeding
- Menstrual status
- Other medication that you are taking
Birth Control Implants
Birth control implants or contraceptive implant is a matchstick-sized plastic rod inserted into the human body. The implant releases pregnancy blocking progestin hormones into the body.
The rod is usually inserted inside the arm just under the skin by a trained healthcare professional. The hormone “etonogestrel” released by the contraceptive implant thwarts chances of pregnancy in two ways:
- Prevents the ovaries from producing eggs
- Thickens the mucus around the cervix, making it hard for the sperm to reach the uterus
Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
An IUD is a minute contraceptive device placed in the uterus. Also known as IUC (intrauterine contraception), IUDs are small T-shaped plastic devices that regulate the direction of sperm flow and make it difficult for the sperm to find the egg.
The two types of IUDs are:
- The copper IUD and
- The progestogen IUD
IUDs are even ideal as emergency contraception as they can be effective when used within the first five days after having unprotected sex.
These birth control options are also cheap. However, it is recommended to consult with a trained healthcare professional before choosing a suitable birth control option.
Frequently asked questions about Birth control pills and implants.
Is it safe to skip my period, or can I use the pill to skip my period for a vacation?
It may be safe to skip your period. However, skipping your period continuously can trigger adverse effects, such as breakthrough bleeding. It is ideal to consult a primary care professional before making such a decision.
Do you still ovulate with Hormonal IUD?
The hormonal dosage in the IUD can influence whether you would still ovulate with an IUD. If you choose an IUD with a higher hormonal dosage, you are less likely to ovulate.
Do IUDs make you gain weight?
Hormonal IUDs may cause bloating. Bloating is not the same as actual weight gain, but a bloating feeling due to progestin causing the body to retain more water.
How painful is getting an IUD?
IUD insertion pain varies from mild to moderate in up to two-thirds of the individuals. The resultant sensation or discomfort is often short-lived.
Do birth control pills work immediately?
If taken within the first 5 days of the cycle (first day of the period being day 1) then no back-up method is needed. If using a quick start method, (starting the pill any day after cycle day 5) a backup method is needed for pregnancy prevention for 7 days.
What age can a girl go on the pill?
Most women have an established cycle around the age of 16 and can be physically ready for birth control. However, it is ideal to discuss with a primary care professional before making such a decision.