How do I Choose the Best Contraceptive Option? (with pictures)

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
A copper IUD.
A copper IUD.

Due to the high number of birth control choices available, many people have trouble choosing the right contraceptive option for them. There are three main types available, including the barrier method, pills that contain hormones, and devices that are either stuck onto or inserted into the woman's body. Before you choose the best contraceptive option for you, consider how comfortable you are with devices being placed into you or your partner's body in order to prevent pregnancy. You should also consider whether a contraceptive method that requires swallowing pills and relying on memory is best. Finally, consider whether your goal is solely to prevent pregnancy, or also to avoid contracting an STD.

Condoms create a barrier between the penis and a sexual partner's body, greatly preventing the risk of pregnancy.
Condoms create a barrier between the penis and a sexual partner's body, greatly preventing the risk of pregnancy.

One of the main options is an intrauterine device, which is typically placed inside the uterus by a doctor. The hormones that it releases make it difficult to get pregnant, though if you are uncomfortable with a device staying in the vaginal area long-term, you can use a patch that works similarly despite being placed on the skin instead of the uterus. On the other hand, if you are fine with birth control that is placed inside the vaginal area, you might be interested in the vaginal ring, which also releases hormones constantly. Another contraceptive option is an injection of progesterone administered by a doctor, though it is likely not the best choice if you are afraid of needles. Most of these methods need to be given by a doctor and replaced somewhat often, such as weekly or monthly, though they do not typically require a good memory in order to work.

The hormones in birth control pills need to be reintroduced into a woman's system everyday at about the same time to prevent ovulation.
The hormones in birth control pills need to be reintroduced into a woman's system everyday at about the same time to prevent ovulation.

If you think such methods sound rather invasive, and you have a good memory, hormonal pills might be better. Most birth control pills require that you take a tablet daily at about the same time. The more often you forget to take a pill, the less effective this contraceptive option becomes. This means that it is crucial that you either have a good memory or a reliable alarm clock before you decide on this method. Note that there are various types of pills available, including some that only allow you to get a menstrual period a few times per year, so ask your doctor about it if this interests you.

Using multiple forms of contraception can greatly decrease the chances of pregnancy.
Using multiple forms of contraception can greatly decrease the chances of pregnancy.

Some people do not like the idea of putting hormones in their body, in which case a barrier method might be best. The advantage of this contraceptive option is that it also protects against sexually transmitted diseases, unlike pills or hormonal devices placed inside or on the body. The most popular barrier contraceptive option is the male condom, though the female condom, diaphragm, and cervical cap all work similarly to block the sperm's pathway to the cervix. Spermicide not only helps to block the sperm, but also kills it or slows it down so that its chances of reaching the egg are low. While most hormonal pills and devices need to be replaced or purchased about every month, popular barrier methods like condoms can only be used once, so consider the cost before choosing this contraceptive option.

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    • A copper IUD.
      A copper IUD.
    • Condoms create a barrier between the penis and a sexual partner's body, greatly preventing the risk of pregnancy.
      Condoms create a barrier between the penis and a sexual partner's body, greatly preventing the risk of pregnancy.
    • The hormones in birth control pills need to be reintroduced into a woman's system everyday at about the same time to prevent ovulation.
      The hormones in birth control pills need to be reintroduced into a woman's system everyday at about the same time to prevent ovulation.
    • Using multiple forms of contraception can greatly decrease the chances of pregnancy.
      Using multiple forms of contraception can greatly decrease the chances of pregnancy.