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Your Birth Control Options

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This article discusses the many forms of birth control including the pill, patch, ring, shot, condoms, NFP, and sterilization.
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There are many forms of birth control available on the market today. Each type of birth control works differently, and they all have different pros and cons. It can be difficult to know which type is best for you. Read on to learn about your options and how to decide which type is best for you.

The Pill

The pill is a widely used form of birth control. The most common type of pill is the combination pill which contains both estrogen and progestin. This pill works by suppressing ovulation and thickening cervical mucous, making it more difficult for sperm to pass through. The pill also thins the lining of the uterus, which would make it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.

The pill typically comes in a 28-day pack, with 21 hormone pills and 7 placebo pills. You will have your period while taking the 7-day placebo pills.

Another type of pill, the mini-pill, contains only progestin and is typically used by nursing women or women with certain health conditions that do not allow them to take a pill containing estrogen. These pills must be taken at the same time each day, typically within a 3-hour window, to be effective and have a higher risk of accidental pregnancy than the combination pill.

The Patch

The patch works in essentially the same way as the pill. It is a patch that is typically placed on the arm or upper body and replaced every 7 days. The patch released hormones through the skin, which work to prevent ovulation.

The Ring

A vaginal ring is simply placed into the vagina, and similar to the pill and patch, it releases the hormones progestin and estrogen to prevent ovulation.

The Shot

The shot, also commonly referred to as the Depo shot, is a shot of progestin that works to prevent pregnancy. The shot needs to be given every 3 months and must be given on time to prevent pregnancy.


Condoms are a common source of birth control, especially those in younger populations. Both male and female condoms are available and, when used correctly, are highly effective. However, there is always a risk of tearing or incorrect usage, which may result in pregnancy.

Natural Family Planning (NFP)

Natural Family Planning is a much different method of preventing pregnancy. With NFP, a woman will use calendars, basal thermometers, and ovulation tests to keep track of her cycle and predict when she will be fertile.

With this method, a couple will minimize the risk of pregnancy by simply avoiding intercourse during the woman’s fertile period.


Sterilization is a permanent form of birth control. Both men and women can be sterilized. When a man undergoes sterilization, it is called a vasectomy. During a vasectomy, minor surgery is done to block sperm from being ejected during intercourse. When a woman undergoes sterilization, her tubes are either cut, burned, clamped, or tied. Recently, it has also become common to have the tubes removed completely, as studies are showing this may help to reduce ovarian cancer.

As you can see, there are many options to choose from when it comes to birth control. What is right for one person may not be right for another. The pros and cons of each form of birth control must be considered. It may take some trial and error, but by researching each type and speaking with your doctor, you will be able to decide which is right for you.