Effective birth control allows you and your partner to take charge of your fertility and plan the family that you both desire. Although you can choose from many effective contraceptive methods, the fact that there are so many can sometimes be confusing.
Do you want something permanent, semi-permanent, or at-will? A consultation with one of our expert and caring OB/GYNs — Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD — helps you decide. The staff at our two Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville offices, in Jacksonville, Florida, have compiled the following guide to help you winnow down the many choices.
The most natural forms of birth control
The only way to prevent a pregnancy with 100% effectiveness is by not engaging in sexual intercourse or sexual play at all. Even if your partner doesn’t penetrate your vagina, or even if you keep your clothes on, some sperm might still find their way into your fallopian tubes, where they could fertilize an egg.
Barring complete abstinence, you might consider other, less reliable methods. The first is withdrawal, in which the man pulls out his penis before ejaculating. That’s only about 78% effective, assuming he withdraws before any sperm are released, every time.
You can also talk to our OB/GYNs about avoiding sex during your most fertile time, a method known as fertility awareness. As with withdrawal, you must be disciplined about following the rules. The success rate is about 76-88%. Breastfeeding a child every 4-5 hours can prevent a second pregnancy 98% of the time for about six months, too.
The easiest types of birth control
If you want reliable birth control that’s there when you need it, you may be interested in various types of hormonal birth control or an intrauterine device (IUD), which can also release hormones (or not). Choices and effectiveness rates are:
- IUD, 99%
- Birth control implant, 99% (change every 5 years)
- Birth control shot, 94% (get every 3 months)
- Birth control patch, 91% (change weekly)
- Birth control pill, 91% (take daily)
- Vaginal ring, 91% (change monthly)
You can leave IUDs in your uterus for several years. A copper IUD doesn’t release hormones, but is still 99% effective.
Noncontinuous, at-will birth control
If you don’t need regular birth control, you might choose options that you use only when you need them. Choose from:
- Diaphragm with spermicide, 88%
- Cervical cap with spermicide, 71-86%
- Birth control sponge, 76-88%
- Spermicide alone, 71%
Some women and men have sensitivities to spermicide and may develop a rash.
Disease-preventive birth control
Other than abstinence, the only way to cut down your risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is to use a condom, either alone or in tandem with other birth control methods. The male (external) condom is 85% against pregnancy. The female (internal) condom is 79% effective.
Permanent birth control
If you’re 100% sure you never want to have a child, the best choice is permanent birth control, otherwise known as sterilization. Your partner could have a vasectomy or you could opt for a tubal ligation. Our doctors are experts at performing tubal ligations at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville. Both forms of sterilization are 99% effective. You must continue to use another form of birth control for several months as a precaution.
To find out more about your birth control options so you can choose the type that meets your specific needs, contact the nearest Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville office today. Call or book an appointment online.