What's new in birth control and family planning

What’s New in Birth Control and Family Planning

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There are many methods to prevent pregnancy that work well and are easy to use. Significant advances in birth control options make it easier than ever for women to take control of their reproductive health.

Women can now choose many non-surgical options such as birth control implants, patches, pills, shots, vaginal rings and cervical caps, among other options. Permanent surgical options include Essure and tubal ligation.

What is the Birth Control Implant?

The birth control implant is called Nexplanon. It is implanted in the upper arm. This birth control works by delivering the hormone progestin. It works continuously for up to 3 years with more than 99% effectiveness. With the implant in place, the woman does not need to do anything else, unless she decides that she wants to get pregnant. The implant can be removed. Once the implant is placed, it doesn’t need to be changed or maintained until the 3 year period is up or the patient decides that she wants to get pregnant. The implant can be removed and the woman can become pregnant quickly after removal. Nexplanon does not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the implant for STD prevention.

What is the IUD?

The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a birth control method that is implanted in the uterus. The IUD is as effective as the implant and can also be removed. There are two distinct kinds of IUDs. ParaGard works through the use of the metal copper while a progestin containing IUD works through a small dose of hormone delivered into the uterus. Progestin containing IUDs can stay in place for up to 3-5 years while ParaGard lasts up to 10 years. IUDs do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the IUD.

What’s New with Oral Contraceptives?

Oral contraceptives are commonly called “the pill.” Dosages and side effects of the pill have been minimized with new advances. Though today’s pills contain much less hormones than in years past, they are still up to 99% effective. The most common complaint about the pills is that you must remember to take it every day. Missed pills reduce the effectiveness considerably. This option requires a person make a commitment to take it and have a regular schedule. The pills do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the pills.

What Is the Birth Control Patch?

Women wear the birth control patch on bare skin on a part of the body such as the belly, upper arm, or back. While it is applied it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy the patch is worn 3 weeks on and then removed for 1 week. Patches do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the patches.

What Is the Birth Control Shot?

Depo-Provera is the birth control shot. It is given every three months. The shot delivers the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. The shot must be given on the correct schedule in order to prevent pregnancy. Depending on where you are in your cycle when you first get the shot, you may need to use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy for the first week until it begins to work. Shots do not prevent STDs, so use condoms along with the shots.
Less effective methods are the condoms and spermicides. These methods deliver between 71% and 86% effectiveness. Using condoms with these methods greatly increases their effectiveness. The benefit of these methods is that they do not deliver any hormones.

There are many options for safe, effective birth control today. Talk to your doctor about what method would work best for you!