Which Birth Control Is Right For You?

Over the past several decades, birth control has advanced dramatically. There are now more options than ever for women to choose from when deciding which birth control option is best for their specific needs.

With so many options, choosing the right birth control can be challenging. Each birth control presents different benefits and side effects, making the choice seem overwhelming. Depending on your short-term and long-term fertility goals, you may want to choose one birth control method over another. 

            For example, some birth control methods (such as the shot) may stay in the system and affect fertility for up to a year after use. Those that want to get pregnant soon after going off birth control may opt for the birth control pill or Nuvaring instead.

            Luckily, there is no evidence that stopping and starting birth control has long-term effects on fertility. In fact, some birth control methods may have a rebound effect on fertility for a short time after discontinuing use.

            We’ve compiled a list of some of the most common contraception options to help you streamline your decision making process.

 

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Depo-Provera Shot

 

The birth control shot is a progestin shot administered every three months by your general physician or gynecologist to prevent ovulation. This safe and convenient birth control option works great for people who can’t remember to take their pill everyday.

 

Price

 The birth control shot can cost anywhere from $0 to $150 every three months depending on your healthcare plan.

 

Effectiveness

Administered once every three months, the Depo shot has a 94-99% success rate in preventing pregnancy.

 

Pros/Cons

Patients often report the shot resulting in minimized menstrual flow and menstrual pain, which is a pleasant side effect for those with painful periods. Though adverse side effects are rare, some patients report the Depo shot causing recurring headaches, weight gain, and depression. One major downside to the Depo-Provera shot is that it may take up to twelve months for fertility to rebound after your last shot.

 

Nuvaring 

The Nuvaring is a small ring that you insert into the vaginal canal that releases estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation. It remains inserted for three weeks, and it’s removed for one, during which a menstrual cycle occurs. A new ring is inserted following the monthly cycle.

 

Price

The Nuvaring can cost up to $200 for one ring.

 

Effectiveness

The Nuvaring is 91-99% effective, depending on proper usage.

 

Pros/Cons

Nuvaring reviews are relatively positive. Many users report having less painful periods while using it, and it’s preferred due to its low-maintenance requirements. As long as you remember to replace it once a month, you’ll continue to be protected against pregnancy. Voila! It’s that easy.

Thankfully, negative side effects of Nuvaring are scarce. Some patients report having breast tenderness and some headaches.

 

Transdermal Contraceptive Patch

The patch is a sticker that you place on your upper arm, buttocks, or back, releasing estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation. You change your patch once every week, and you can choose whether or not you want to get a period after the third week.

 

Price

You can expect to pay upwards of $150 for the birth control patch. This makes the birth control patch cost quite expensive.

 

Effectiveness

The birth control patch is 91% effective when replaced weekly.

 

Pros/Cons

Not only does the birth control patch prevent pregnancy, but it has several other benefits. For example, the patch can minimize acne, improve iron deficiency, and prevent ectopic pregnancy. The patch is a pretty excellent contraception method despite its hefty price tag.

 The patch’s major downside is it may cause skin irritation for some users, but if you can avoid that, then it’s a wonderful contraception option.

 

Combination Pill

The combination pill has been around for ages now. In order to reap the full pregnancy-protection benefits of the pill, you have to take it at the exact same time every day. The combination pill releases estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation and protect against pregnancy.

 

Price

Depending on the brand and type of birth control pill your doctor prescribes, the birth control pill can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 per month.

 

Effectiveness

Known for being 91-99% effective, some people feel that the pill is a little outdated due to its high-maintenance nature.

 

Pros/Cons

There are several different brands and variations on the market to try, with many helping with severe periods, acne, and other side effects that women face. Some patients report weight gain with some birth control pills, however side effects are rare.

 

Mini Pill

Like the combination pill, the mini pill has to be taken at the same time every day, or else you’ll lose effectiveness.

 

Price

The mini pill can cost anywhere from $0 to $50 for a month.

 

Effectiveness

The mini pill is ~91% effective, just like the combination pill.

 

Pros/Cons

Unlike the combination pill, the mini pill only releases progestin, so it’s an excellent option for women who are postpartum, breastfeeding, and those who have a negative response to estrogen.

 Side effects of the mini pill include acne, breast tenderness, depression, headaches, and nausea.

 

Nexplanon

Nexplanon is a relatively new birth control option, and it’s relatively low maintenance for the patient. It’s a contraceptive implant that’s placed into the upper arm by a general practitioner or gynecologist. This flexible, tiny, plastic rod releases progestin that thickens your cervical mucus and limits ovulation.

 

Price

Nexplanon costs up to $1300, so it can be a pricey birth control method. However, because it can last up to 5 years, it pays off over time.

 

Effectiveness

With Nexplanon effectiveness being more than 99%, it’s no wonder that it has made a splash in the birth control market.

 

Pros/Cons

One of the most beneficial factors of Nexplanon is it lasts up to five years. For those that need a long-term birth control option, Nexplanon is an excellent method to choose. Fertility rebounds quickly upon removal.

Side effects of Nexplanon include nausea, bloating, headache, acne, hair loss, and weight gain.

 

IUD

Are you wondering how an IUD works? There are two main subcategories: copper IUDs and hormonal IUDS.

Copper IUDs last up to twelve months and work by rerouting sperm away from the eggs. Hormonal IUDs last anywhere from 3 to 7 years. Hormonal IUDs release progestin to inhibit ovulation. All IUDs have a quick return to fertility after removal.

 

Price

Depending on the type of IUD your doctor prescribes, it can cost up to $1300.

 

Effectiveness

The IUD is a 99% effective, tiny device implanted into the uterus used to prevent pregnancy.

 

Pros/Cons

IUDs are long-term contraception options that the user doesn’t have to think about often. Hormonal IUDs minimize cramps and PMS, which is a favored side effect among users. However, they can also cause irregular periods.

Side effects often go away within 3-6 months after insertion. Copper IUDs may cause more spotting and period irregularity than hormonal IUDs. Though these side effects are uncomfortable, not having to worry about birth control for a long period of time is preferred for many patients.

 

Conclusion

To conclude, choosing the best birth control is a personal decision. Talk to your general practitioner or gynecologist to determine the best option for you. Take fertility into consideration when stopping birth control before trying to get pregnant, as methods such as the Depo shot may not rebound as quickly.

It’s important to note that no prescribed birth control will protect against STDs and STIs, so take extra precautions to protect yourself against infection.