Any procedure, drug, or device used to prevent pregnancy is referred to as birth control (contraception). Women can pick from a variety of birth control options. Some methods are more effective than others in preventing pregnancy. Your choice of birth control is determined by your health, desire to have children now or in the future, and want to avoid sexually transmitted infections. Your doctor can assist you in determining which type is appropriate for you at a particular time.
Depending on the form of birth control you choose, birth control works in a variety of ways to prevent pregnancy:
By cutting or injuring the tubes that transmit sperm (in males) or eggs (in women), sterilization surgery stops sperm from reaching the egg (in women).
Long-acting reversible contraceptives, often known as "LARC" methods (intrauterine devices, hormonal implants), prevent your ovaries from producing eggs, sperm from reaching the egg, or make implantation of the egg in the uterus (womb) impossible.
Short-acting hormonal techniques like the pill, mini-pill, patch, injection, and vaginal ring stop your ovaries from producing eggs or sperm from reaching the egg.
Condoms, diaphragms, sponges, and cervical caps are examples of barrier mechanisms that keep sperm from reaching the egg.
On days when you are most fertile, natural rhythm approaches include avoiding sex or using other forms of birth control (most likely to get pregnant).
Learn about the different methods of birth control that you or your partner can use to avoid getting pregnant.
It's important to remember that even the most effective birth control can fail. However, if you utilize a more effective method, your chances of becoming pregnant are lowered.
Unintended pregnancy prevention helps to reduce maternal illness and the number of pregnancy-related fatalities. Family planning has substantial health benefits, including as delaying pregnancies in young girls who are at higher risk of health problems from early childbearing, and preventing pregnancies in older women who are also at higher risk.
Contraception decreases the need for unsafe abortions and HIV transmission from mothers to neonates by lowering the rate of unplanned pregnancies. This can also help girls' education and give women more options in society, including paid work.
The pill and the mini-pill are two types of oral contraceptives (in some states, birth control pills are now available without a prescription, through the pharmacy)
A vaginal ring is a ring that is worn on the vaginal canal.
Diaphragms are a type of diaphragm (your doctor or nurse needs to fit one to the shape of your vagina)
Shot or injection (given at a doctor's office or a family planning facility)
Implantable rod (inserted by a doctor in the office or clinic)
IUD intrauterine device (inserted by a doctor in the office or clinic)
Female sterilization is a term used to describe the process of sterilizing a woman (tubal ligation)
Sterilization of males (vasectomy)
These methods of birth control are available over-the-counter at a drugstore or supermarket:
Condoms for men
Condoms for women
Pills for emergency contraception (EC) are accessible without a prescription in drugstores and some supermarkets. However, you should not use EC as your primary method of birth control because it does not work as well. EC should only be used if your regular birth control fails due to unforeseen circumstances.
Male and female condoms are the only types that can protect you from STIs, including HIV.
Condoms are the most efficient way to prevent STIs if you have sex, but they are not the most effective form of birth control. If you have sex, using "dual protection" to prevent both STIs and pregnancy is the best way to go. When you use a condom to prevent STIs every time you have sex, you are also using a more effective type of birth control, such as an IUD, implant, or shot.
Most insurance plans cover FDA-approved prescription birth control for women, such as the pill, IUDs, and female sterilization, at no additional cost under the Affordable Care Act (the health-care law). Counseling on birth control is also included.
If you have insurance, check with your provider to see what is covered under your policy.
If you have Medicaid, your birth control is covered. This includes birth control prescriptions as well as visits to your doctor for birth control-related issues. Because Medicaid programs differ by state, check with your state's Medicaid program to find out what your benefits are.
Don't be alarmed if you don't have insurance. Some birth control methods may be provided for free or at a reduced cost by family planning (reproductive health) clinics.