We might be in the business of catching babies, but here at SVC we understand the importance of planning when those babies arrive. Though you might not be able to nail down the exact day you’ll become pregnant, understanding your birth control options is still a crucial factor in shaping your family. Likewise, if you know you’re done having children, or don’t plan on having any at all, you’ll need an option that fits into your busy life. But your birth control shouldn’t be something that makes you work for it- it should work for you. And choosing a birth control that suits your needs is as personal as your body is unique.
Here’s are some of the birth control choices we recommend to women and how they work:
The Mini Pill- As far as taking an oral daily pill goes, we partial to the mini pill. Unlike other birth control pills, the mini pill isn’t a combination pill, meaning it doesn’t contain estrogen. The mini pill is progestin only and the dose in a mini pill is lower than other oral contraceptives. It works to thicken the cervical mucus and thins the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. The downside of the mini pill is, you have to be very disciplined, taking it at the same time each day. If you don’t, it’s effectiveness at preventing pregnancy decreases.
IUDS- An intrauterine device, or an IUD, is a T-shaped device that’s inserted into your uterus and prevents pregnancy. It’s tried and true- this method of birth control has been around for decades and it’s still one of the most effective birth control methods. Many women like the IUD because it’s long-term and can be taken out when a woman decides she wants to try getting pregnant. There are two main types of IUDS: non-hormonal and hormonal.
Copper IUDS- The copper IUD contains no hormones, making it a great option for women who may have negative responses to hormonal birth controls, like pills, patches or injections. It is covered by most insurance plans and is very long lasting (7-10 years, sometimes longer). Some women who receive an copper IUD experience heavy bleeding at first but usually find their cycle regulates quickly.
Hormonal IUDS- Hormonal IUDS, such as the brand Mirena, contain a low dose of the hormone progesterone. Many women who use this kind of IUD have very minimal bleeding during their cycle, or don’t bleed at all. This option is also safe for breastfeeding, so postpartum women are safe to use it once they hit the 6 week mark. These IUDS last up to 5 years but can be removed at anytime if a woman decides she wants to become pregnant.
Natural family planning- This method of birth control sometimes gets a bad rep. But natural family planning isn’t just “winging it.” Women who utilize this method get in touch with their bodies and their cycles in order to prevent pregnancy. Things like taking your temperature and checking your cervical fluid, to know which point in your cycle you are in, become commonplace so that a woman knows when she is fertile and when she is not and can plan intercourse around those times.
Likewise, when a woman decides she wants to become pregnant, being familiar with her body and her cycle can be extremely helpful. This method of birth control would be a great option for women who might not be crazy about the idea of putting a foreign device, like an IUD into their bodies or taking a hormonal birth control pill. For postpartum women, whose cycles are irregular, it’s a good idea to use another method of birth control in addition to natural family planning. The reason is that about 80% of women don’t ovulate until six months postpartum, so you might not be 100% sure when your ovulation has returned. And contrary to our grandmothers generation, breastfeeding does not prevent pregnancy (hello, Irish Twins!).
Condoms- If you’re going to choose a barrier method of birth control, condoms are easily most the effective at about 98%. They are also a budget-friendly and easy to use method of birth control. For women who may be planning pregnancy in the near future, or who don’t like the idea of a daily pill or an IUD, and want to be able to have intercourse anytime (rather than when their cycle dictates) this is a great option. Cervical caps are another barrier method, but they are not so widely used anymore, mainly because the effectiveness can vary. For every 100 women who use the cervical cap, 14 will become pregnant. The diaphragm is a bit more effective, but about 6 out of every 100 women will still become pregnant, even with correct usage.
Here are SCV Birth Center, we provide non-hormonal birth control options to meet your needs. While we don’t put in IUDS here, we’re happy to remove them when your baby-making time arrives. No matter what option you decide to use, we’re always here to support your choices and make recommendations based on your lifestyle, comfort level and plans for your future.