While some people want to have a baby yesterday, you may be thinking… not just yet. Whether you choose to delay having your first or feel you need a little more time in between pregnancies, there are measures you can take. These methods may greatly reduce your chance of becoming pregnant. However, it’s important to note that no method of birth control is 100% effective except for abstinence from sex.
Some people wish to rely on Mother Nature to help time their pregnancies. The Rhythm Method (counting days between the onset of your period to calculate when you’re ovulating, i.e. when you can become pregnant) is unreliable. As almost every woman knows, it’s not a perfect system. How many times have you had an early surprise visit from your monthly friend? Ovulation is sensitive to many factors. Women who are in the early or late years of menstruation are more at risk for instability of the cycle. Relying on the Rhythm Method can lead to unexpected pregnancy.
Condoms are a quick choice to help prevent pregnancy. When used properly, they are an estimated 98% effective. Condoms are relatively inexpensive and many medical clinics give them out for free.
Be aware, however, of the type you purchase. If you are certain your partner is free from any STDs, you may enjoy lambskin condoms. These are effective against pregnancy but do not block STDs. Latex or polyurethane condoms are the more secure choice for disease prevention.
Spermicides are soap-like chemicals that help to kill sperm. Products include a variety of foams, dissolving strips, and gels that you insert into the vagina before intercourse. They require advanced planning because they are most effective if inserted about 10-15 minutes before sex. Pairing a spermicide with a condom offers added security.
Some women prefer to use a device that blocks the cervix to prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg, such as the diaphragm or cervical cap. These devices are available by prescription from your doctor because they are designed to fit you. Acting as a wall around your cervix, they are inserted before sex and are most effective with the use of a spermicide. These must be properly inserted before sex begins and are left inside for a number of hours after sex concludes.
Some women prefer to control their ovulation and menstrual cycle with hormone intervention. Most common and longstanding is the birth control pill, which works with your monthly cycle. However, newer pills and shots have come to the market which work on a three-month or six-month cycle. However, hormone interference can have risks, particularly cardio-vascular, that you should discuss with your doctor before using any of these methods.
(Hormonal birth control methods as described above and long term solutions listed below do not prevent the spread of STIs.)
An IUD (intrauterine device) is a device that is inserted into the uterus and helps block pregnancy from taking place. They are available in different sizes and materials, and you can elect hormonal or non-hormonal. IUDs are known to be rather effective, and they can provide protection for up to ten years with little to no maintenance. When you decide to become pregnant, your doctor can simply remove the device.
Transdermal implants are small, matchstick sized devices that release progesterone (similar to hormonal birth control pills and IUDs) over several years. The implant is inserted into your arm where it stays for approximately five years or until you decide to become pregnant. Once the implant is removed, you can become pregnant relatively quickly.
Tying Your Tubes
Some women may seek a more permanent solution. Perhaps you are certain you do not want any pregnancy to occur for the rest of your life. To accomplish this, a surgery known as a tubal ligation may be chosen. Known commonly as “tying your tubes,” tubal ligation is a surgery which cuts, ties, or blocks the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from traveling to the uterus and sperm from reaching the ovaries. However, if you have one of these procedures done and change your mind down the road, reversal surgery is usually possible with varied results. It is important to know all possible risks and impacts associated with tubal ligation.
We can help you discuss your birth control goals and help you find the best option for you. Please be in touch to book an appointment with our office.