There are many ways to prevent pregnancy (contraception) and on this page are the major types...
- Oral Contraceptives (Birth Control Pills)
- Injectable Contraceptives (Depo Provera Shot) – An intramuscular injection of progesterone given in the muscle of your arm within 5 days of your period. Many women do not get a period while receiving depo provera, but that is to be expected and is not dangerous. Women should take calcium and vitamin D supplements in order to keep your bones strong. You must receive the injection every 3 months or you could get irregular bleeding and could get pregnant.
- Nuva Ring – A small rubber ring that has systemic hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that is placed by you or your doctor inside your vagina. It stays for up to 21 days. it does not need to be removed for intercourse. When you take it out, you will experience a menstrual cycle and then you will replace with a new ring 7 days later. The Nuva Ring should be stored in a cool drawer or a refrigerator.
- Long Acting Reversible Contraception (Implantable Contraceptives: Nexplanon & IUDs: ParaGard, Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, Liletta) See also... Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) IUD and Implant
- Permanent Sterilization (Essure, Bilateral Tubal Ligation)
See also... Hysteroscopic Sterilization
See also... Sterilizatio by Laparoscopy
See also... Postpartum Sterilization
Birth Control Pills
Women take the pill by mouth to prevent pregnancy and, when taken correctly, is up to 99.9% effective. However, the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). Normally a woman becomes pregnant when an egg released from her ovary (the organ that holds her eggs) is fertilized by a man's sperm. The fertilized egg attaches to the inside of a woman's womb (uterus), where it receives nourishment and develops into a baby. Hormones in the woman's body control the release of the egg from the ovary—called ovulation—and prepare the body to accept the fertilized egg.
The pill, the patch, and the vaginal ring – all contain a small amount of man-made estrogen and progestin hormones. These hormones work to inhibit the body's natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy is prevented by a combination of factors. The hormonal contraceptive usually stops the body from ovulating. Hormonal contraceptives also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to find an egg. Hormonal contraceptives can also prevent pregnancy by making the lining of the womb inhospitable for implantation.
How Are Birth Control Pills Packaged?
You will receive a set of pills packaged in a thin case. Pill packs contain either 21 or 28 pills. Twenty-one-day pill packs contain 21 active pills. Twenty-eight day pill packs contain 21 active pills and seven inactive pills (placebo pills). The pill packs are marked with the days of the week to remind you to take a pill every day. The seven inactive pills in the 28-day pill pack are added so that you are reminded to start a new pill pack after 28 days. Some brands of birth control pills have 24 active pills and only 4 placebo pills.
How Do I Begin Birth Control Pills?
The best way to start taking birth control pills is on the day your period starts. If your period has started already, you can start the pills up to the seventh day. If seven days have passed since you started your period, it is too late to start the pills this month and you will have to wait for your next period. When you finish a pack of pills, you should start a new pack the next day. There should never be a day that you have not taken a pill. You will get your period at the end of the pack during the days you are taking the placebo pills.
It's best to take the pills at the same time every day. Take the pill each day either before breakfast or at bedtime. If you forget to take a birth control pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until the next day, go ahead and take two pills that day. If you forget to take your pills for two days, take two pills the day you remember and two pills the next day. You will then be back on schedule.
When you start taking your pills, you may experience some side effects such as nausea, bloating, breast tenderness, and spotting. Usually, by the time you get to the second pack your body has become used to the medicine and the side effects go away. If your side effects persist, or if you have more serious side effects, please call the office. There are rare situations when patients get serious side effects that can even be life threatening, such as strokes and bloods clots in the legs or lungs, and high blood pressure and gall bladder disease. Symptoms of these serious side effects include abdominal pain (stomach pain), chest pain, severe headaches, eye problems (blurred vision), and swelling and/or aching in the legs and thighs. Please call the office if you have any of these symptoms.
Birth control pills can be taken safely by most women, but is not recommended for women who are over the age of 35 and smoke. If you don't smoke, you can use hormonal contraceptives until menopause. In addition, you should not take hormonal contraceptives if you have had: Blood clots in the arms, legs, or lungs, serious heart or liver disease, or cancer of the breast or uterus. Some drugs, including antibiotics, can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Please inform us about all of the medications and over-the-counter agents (including herbs) that you are taking.