Birth control is a personal choice, and the type you choose must meet your family goals, health concerns, and personal preferences. At South Plains Rural Health Services, Inc., we can help you by asking the right questions so you get a form that is comfortable, effective, and in line with your values.
Here are some important factors to consider when it comes to birth control and choosing a method.
What is my relationship status?
This isn’t about prying into your dating life; this is a real question that helps you narrow down your contraceptive choices. Your choice of birth control may change if you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship or if you’re dating and open to seeing multiple partners.
If you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship (including marriage), but a child right now is out of the question, you may be happiest with a form of birth control that protects you for the long-term, like the pill or an IUD (intrauterine device).
If, however, you have more than one partner or your partner does, it’s important you have a form of birth control that protects you against pregnancy and against sexually transmitted diseases.
In this case, a birth control method that reliably prevents pregnancy, like a hormonal implant, is good when used along with a condom (male or female). Condoms are the only form of birth control that help protect you from STDs, but they are less reliable in preventing pregnancy -- hence the dual method.
How important is convenience?
If you’re regularly having sex, you probably want a form of birth control that you don’t have to think about every time you’re in the mood. Inserting a diaphragm each time you’re feeling amorous or remembering to replace your ring every month can be bothersome to some women.
Even remembering to take a daily pill can be inconvenient. If you want a method of birth control that you really don’t have to think about, Nexplanon®, a hormonal insert placed under the skin of your upper arm, or an IUD placed in your uterus are great choices. These protect you from pregnancy for 3-10 years.
Monthly injections and the patch are other convenient and effective forms of birth control that are less invasive than an IUD or implant. They do require monthly replacement, however.
Do I want to have a child now, soon, or ever?
When considering your form of birth control, it’s important to think about your family plans. If you’re in a relationship in which getting pregnant right now is not your goal, but it would be welcome if it should happen, you might opt for birth control as simple as cycle and cervical mucus tracking. This method involves no pills, inserts, or devices, but requires you to pay attention to your menstrual cycle and signs that you may be ovulating. You avoid intercourse on your most fertile days.
If you know you don’t want to have a child now, but might in the future, an IUD or implant are good choices as they are incredibly effective in preventing pregnancy, but can be removed easily by our office to restore your fertility almost immediately.
If your family is complete, surgical sterilization — through a tubal ligation — might make sense. This form of birth control is irreversible, though, so you should be certain before you commit.
Do I have health concerns?
Some birth control methods, especially hormonal options, pose health risks. If you have a pre-existing health condition, you may need to take that into account when choosing a method.
For example, the birth control pill can pose a risk of blood clots, high blood pressure, and heart disease if you have a history of these conditions in your family or your personal life.
We here at South Plains Rural Health review your medical history to help you make a smart decision when it comes to protecting your health.
South Plains Rural Health is here for all your OB/GYN needs, including birth control. Call for an appointment, or use the online tool to book so we can help you best manage your reproductive health.