Birth Control: Some Pros and Cons of the Most Popular Contraception Plans

There are more options for contraception today than ever before, and the scope of contraceptives is constantly increasing. While this growth in options is great news for many people, it also makes it more difficult to navigate the options and find which plan is best for you. While you should always see your primary care provider and gynecologist for birth control, this article seeks to explore some of the pros and cons other people have experienced with different contraceptive plans. From condoms to pills to an intrauterine device (IUD), this article seeks to provide to you some insights into five of the most popular birth control plans to find which contraception is best for you and your needs!

 

Condoms (Female and Male)

Effectiveness: Approximately 98% effective for males and 95% effective for females at preventing pregnancy (as reported by WebMD).

Accessibility: Found at most convenience stores and name brand stores such as Walmart and Target.

Cost/Insurance Coverage: Cost is approximately $1 for male and $2 for female. Not covered by insurance, but can sometimes be found for free at certain clinics, health centers and schools.

Side Effects: Allergic reaction may occur if you are allergic to latex, contents of lube or spermicide.

Health Risks: Irritation to genitals can occur from spermicide.

male condom beside female condom Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition from Unsplash

Daily Oral Contraceptives (AKA “the pill”)

Effectiveness: Approximately 91% effective normally, but can be 99% effective if used perfectly.

Accessibility: Requires a prescription every one to three months.

Cost/Insurance Coverage: On average, they cost between $0 and $50 a month (as reported by KidsHealth). Almost always covered by insurance in some form.

Side Effects: Common side effects include headaches, nausea, sore breasts, irregularity in periods and spotting.

Health Risks: Can rarely result in heart attack, stroke, blood clots and liver tumors. For more information on contraceptive pills, check out this Planned Parenthood article!

 

Non-Routine Oral Contraceptives (e.g., “Morning After Pill,” Plan B)

Effectiveness: Can only be used up to five days after intercourse. On average, it is about 85% effective (as reported by Planned Parenthood).

Accessibility: Can be purchased at convenience stores, but requires a prescription to be covered by insurance.

Cost/Insurance Coverage: Usually covered in some capacity with insurance, but it costs anywhere between $11 and $45.

Side Effects: Common side effects include spotting, nausea, headache and malaise.

Health Risks: No major health risks are associated with non-routine oral contraceptives.

oral contraception Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition from Unsplash

Copper IUD

Effectiveness: Approximately 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy (as reported by Planned Parenthood).

Accessibility: Requires a procedure, lasts up to 12 years.

Cost/Insurance Coverage: Usually covered by insurance in some capacity, can cost anywhere between $0 and $1,300.

Side Effects: Common side effects include pain at insertion site, cramping, spotting and increased menstrual cycles for the first few months.

Health Risks: Movement of IUD, bacterial infection, potential push through uterine wall.

 

Progesterone IUD

Effectiveness: Approximately 99% effective at preventing pregnancy (as reported by Planned Parenthood).

Accessibility: Requires a procedure, can last anywhere between three and seven years

Cost/Insurance Coverage: Usually covered by insurance in some capacity, can cost anywhere between $0 and $1,300.

Side Effects: Common side effects include spotting, cramping and worsening menstruation for the first three to six months.

Health Risks: Movement of IUD, bacterial infection, potential push through uterine wall. For more information about IUD’s in general, check out this article!

copper intrauterine device Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition from Unsplash