Learning About Contraceptives - What Birth Control is Right for You?

First, let’s start with saying that the right contraceptive for someone else may not be the right one for you and vice versa. Finding the right birth control may take some trial and error and simply because it worked for your best friend, does not necessarily mean that your body will respond the same way; this is perfectly okay! Some birth controls are more convenient than others and as a user, your contraceptive method is dependent on your lifestyle. 

Nowadays, the discussion on birth control and sex is more fluid than before but still is seen as a taboo subject. This article will explore the different types of birth control there are, the maintenance of them, how effective they are and how much they cost, along with other variables dependent on the contraceptive. 

Birth Control Implant & Intrauterine Device (IUD) 

Effectiveness: 99%  Convenience: Low Maintenence Cost: up to $1,300

These two are different contraceptive methods but provide similar results. The birth control implant is a small rod that releases hormones that aid in the prevention of pregnancy. The rod is typically placed in your upper arm and has to be placed by a doctor. The great thing about these implants is that they can stay in your arm for up to five years with practically no maintenance! Similarly, the IUD is an elastic plastic device that is placed in a woman’s uterus. There are two types of IUDs: copper and hormonal. The difference between them is that the copper one does not have any hormones and the hormonal IUD has no estrogen. If for any reason, birth control failed or you had unprotected sex, a copper IUD can be used as an emergency contraceptive after 120 hours of unsafe sex. For both of these, It is completely normal to have periods and cramps to become less intense and even go away. Additionally, if later in life you decide to have children or for any other reason, you can have the rod and (only) hormonal IUD removed at any point. 

Birth Control Patch

Effectiveness: 91% Convenience: Weekly Replacement Cost: Up to $150

The birth control patch is one of the simplest contraceptives out there that can fit your busy college lifestyle. This patch can be applied on the stomach, upper arm, back or butt, and releases two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, which are produced in a woman’s body. The way it works is that you place a new patch once a week and you do this for three weeks. On the fourth week, you do not need to place a patch as presumably, you would get your period. This is great for ladies who have trouble remembering to take their pill or simply want a hassle-free way to prevent pregnancy.   

Birth Control Pills

Effectiveness: 91%  Convenience: Daily Intake Cost: Up to $50

As can be seen in comparison to the rest of the contraceptive methods, birth control pills have the lowest cost, but more maintenance is required with it. Unlike the patch where you change it weekly and the IUD/implant which requires no maintenance, the pill has to be taken every day at the same time. The upside is that on top of pregnancy prevention, the pill also has health benefits, such as regulating your periods, maintaining a light flow, reducing cramps, and can even help with weight loss and acne. However, due to the large responsibility that comes with taking the pill – refilling a prescription, failing to remember to take the pill on time – many women can become pregnant or it can mess with your health. 

It should be noted that these four birth control methods are not the only ones out there, and do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs/STIs).  

Condoms

Effectiveness: 85% Convenience: Every time Cost: Up to $2

If you want protection against STIs, please use a condom and stay safe! Condoms limit contact between two individuals that can spread these diseases. Additionally, only latex and plastic condoms can aid in the prevention of pregnancy and STIs. Condoms couple well with other birth control so if you are on the pill, you can still use a condom to protect yourself and your partner. 

These are a few of birth control options - there are many out there that may be better suited for you than the ones listed here. If you still have questions feel free to reach out to a Planned Parenthood or your doctor for more information. Remember, safe sex can still be just as enjoyable as unsafe sex. 

 

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