Women today have more birth control options than ever before. To help you learn about options available to you, we’ve assembled the following information.
Oral Contraception ("the pill" and "the mini pill")
Emergency Contraception ("the morning after pill")
Oral Contraception (“the pill” and “the mini pill”)
Birth control pills (including Ortho Tri-Cyclen LO and Yasmin) are a combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which prevent pregnancy by interfering with ovulation. They are considered to be 99% effective when taken as directed.
If you want to be extra careful, some providers feel that back up birth control (such as latex condoms with spermicide) should be used for the first month you take the pill. Back up birth control should also be used if you are placed on antibiotics (such as Ampicillin or Tetracycline) as these is some evidence that suggests that these medications may weaken the effect of the birth control pill.
Birth control pills do not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases, therefore latex condoms with spermicide should be used until you are in a committed, long-term relationship.
For the first one to three months that you take the pill, you may notice some spotting between periods, which may be as heavy as your normal period. This is known as breakthrough bleeding and is common. Breakthrough bleeding is a sign that your body is adjusting to the levels of hormones in the pill. By taking your pills regularly, the occasional spotting should stop within two or three months. If you continue to experience spotting after three months, call the office to arrange a follow up appointment with your provider.
If you are starting the pill for the first time, it is important to return to the office in two to three months to have your blood pressure checked and to evaluate any side effects you may be experiencing.
While not all women experience side effects, some do. Symptoms typically disappear after the first three months of taking the pill. Common side effects include:
- Breast Tenderness
- Breakthrough Bleeding
- Emotional Changes
- Lack of a Period
- Weight Gain
- Weight Loss
If you experience any of the following side effects, you should call your health care provider:
- A-Abdominal Pain
- C-Chest Pain
- H-Severe Headache (not relieved by Advil or Tylenol)
- E-Extremity Pain (leg or calf pain)
- S-Shortness of Breath
The condom (sometimes called a “rubber”) protects against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV/AIDS, herpes, and gonorrhea.
By protecting herself against STDs, a woman can preserve her health, safeguard her ability to have children in the future, and protect her baby if she’s pregnant. Although condoms can be used alone for pregnancy prevention, it is recommended that women who are not in a committed, long-term relationship use condoms even if they use other methods of birth control (such as the pill or a diaphragm) since these other methods do not protect her from STDs.
There are two types of condoms: those made from latex (rubber) and those made from processed animal tissue (skin). Because they’re made from latex, rubber condoms offer much better protection from many STDs (including HIV/AIDS). Animal skin condoms, on the other hand, are more porous and may allow the organisms responsible for STDs to pass through, infecting either partner. Condoms with spermicide are believed to provide extra protection because they work to kill the germs that may transmit STDs.
The female condom prevents pregnancy and protects from STDs in much the same way as the male condom. The real difference between the two types of condoms is in how they are applied. While the male condom fits tightly over the man’s penis, the female condom is a thin, soft, loose-fitting pouch with a flexible ring at each end. One ring helps hold the device in place inside the women’s vagina while the other ring rests outside the vagina. The female condom can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
This family of contraceptives works much like oral contraceptives, without the bother of having to remember to take a pill every day.
Contraceptive implants (including NuvaRing, which lasts one month, and Mirena, which lasts up to five years) are one of the most effective methods for preventing pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women may be reluctant to use implants because they may have heard or read that implants are hard to put in and take out, that they can break, or that they can move to different places in your body.
The truth is that implants are a highly safe and effective method of birth control. While implants are not for everyone, millions of women have used them and have been very satisfied. In fact, studies show that the majority of the women that use implants would recommend them to a friend.
Why? Implants have several advantages. They are highly effective, but reversible. This means that when a woman stops using them, her ability to become pregnant returns quickly. In addition, women do not have to remember to use implants. And implants have no serious or life-threatening side effects.
The contraceptive patch (such as Ortho Evra) is also a highly effective method of birth control. When used correctly, this once-a-week birth control option is as effective as oral contraceptives. It's non-invasive, reversible, and 99% effective.
Injectable birth control (such as Depo-Provera) is typically administered four times a year. You can get the injection in the upper arm or buttock, whichever you and your doctor decide. Birth control injections are as effective as oral contraceptives and begin working as soon as the shot is given.
With all of these options, it’s important to remember that you are not protected against sexually transmitted diseases, therefore latex condoms with spermicide should be used until you are in a committed, long-term relationship.
The diaphragm is a dome-shaped soft rubber cup with a flexible rim. When fitted and inserted correctly, it covers the cervix (the opening to the womb) and is held securely in place behind the pubic bone and the rear wall of the vagina.
The diaphragm prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from entering the cervical canal. It also holds a spermicidal jelly or cream to kill any sperm that may manage to swim around the rim of the diaphragm. Although the diaphragm protects against some STDs, it is not known whether it prevents the transmission of the HIV/AIDS. If you are not in a committed, long-term relationship, insist that your partner use a latex condom to help protect yourself against infection.
The diaphragm must be prescribed by a health care provider.
Emergency Contraception (the "morning after" pill)
The “morning after” pill, which consists of several tablets of birth control pills, works by giving the body a short, high, burst of synthetic hormones which act to disrupt the hormone patterns needed for pregnancy. However, the name “morning after” pill is somewhat misleading, since it can be used up to 72 hours (3 days) after sex, not just the next morning.
If you are a current patient of our practice, and suspect that you may need emergency contraception, please contact our office on the first available business day. We’ll schedule an appointment to conduct a brief evaluation, which is required for us to give you a prescription. Emergency contraception doesn’t not constitute an emergency visit; therefore, an appointment slot must be available in order for you to get in to see a physician.
If you’re not a current patient of our practice or if 72 hours will pass between suspected impregnation and when you can visit our office (such as over a holiday weekend), we suggest obtaining a prescription from an urgent care center.
If it has been more than 72 hours since suspected impregnation, schedule an appointment to speak with one of our physicians about further options and possible pregnancy evaluation.
Home | Sitemap | Disclaimer | Hispanic | Contact