Women choose to use birth control for a variety of reasons. With all the medical innovation out there today, there are more types of birth control to choose from than ever. With that in mind, it’s important that you make informed decisions about your health and understand all of your options. Here are the seven main types of female birth control to know about.  Keep in mind that these birth control methods do not protect against sexually transmitted infections and diseases. The only method that prevents pregnancy 100% of the time is abstinence. When in doubt, consult your physician about what forms of birth control are best for you.

The pill

The birth control pill, which comes under many different names, is one of the most widely used and easily accessible forms of birth control out there. It is available via prescription from most doctors. The pill releases hormones into your body via daily oral use. It must be taken every day at the same time. 

Contraceptive arm implant

A birth control method with rising interest is the contraceptive arm implant that works for up to three years. The implant releases progestin into the body regularly in the same way the contraceptive pill works but without regular intake. It is implanted in your non-dominant arm by a healthcare professional for three years at a time, but can be removed earlier to resume your regular cycle.  

Intrauterine devices

Intrauterine devices (IUDS) are hormonal of copper based devices, or plastic ones that are non-hormonal, that are inserted into the uterus for at least five years at a time. These require a prescription from a doctor and are inserted at your doctor’s office. IUDs are a long-term birth control solution that don’t require regular care. They can be removed earlier if necessary for either medical reasons or because you are trying to get pregnant.

Vaginal rings

Vaginal rings are small transparent rings that are prescribed by a doctor and inserted at home on a monthly basis. It goes in for three weeks at a time, comes out during your menstrual cycle, and then is replaced by a new ring.  Vaginal rings also release progesterone and estrogen into the body, the same as the pill.

The patch

Imagine all the benefits/side effects of the pill, but without a tiny piece of medicine passing through your lips every day. Instead, you’d wear a patch for three weeks, take it off for one week to have your period, and then put on a new patch. This is similar to the vaginal ring in timing. It is also good for people who have trouble remembering to take the pill or are a little nervous about the vaginal ring. Of course, there is always the risk that the patch can come off or become irritating to the skin, but your doctor can provide more information about how to avoid both potential problems.

Contraceptive injections

If you don’t mind shots, injectable contraceptives might be for you. They are usually given once every three months by a healthcare professional. It makes you infertile for twelve weeks at a time. Unlike many other methods, they are non-reversible so you cannot reverse the effects of the shot once it has been given. For example, even if you decide the day after your shot that you don’t want to do it anymore, it will still be effective for the entire three months.

Natural family planning

If hormonal birth control if not for you, for whatever reason, but you still want some control over your body in that vein, educate yourself on natural family planning. NFP as it is called relies on a woman’s knowledge of her own body and her menstrual cycle. This includes basal temperature among other things, to predict when a woman is fertile and avoid sexual activity during that time. As you can imagine, this is less effective than other birth control methods because of the irregularlity of menstrual cycles for many women.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member