Birth control refers to any procedure, medication, practice, substance, or implement designed to reduce the risk of pregnancy. Today, there are numerous birth control options available, including both temporary and permanent options.
The effectiveness of each option is an important consideration when deciding which form of birth control you should use.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, are the most common method of birth control for women. This method involves taking one pill each day to prevent pregnancy. It’s 99% effective, and has minimal health risks. There are two types of birth control pills: combination pills and “mini” pills. The latter are safer for smokers and anyone at risk for blood clots as it does not contain as many hormones. Getting a prescription for birth control involves visiting your local health center or clinic. Depending on where you live and whether or not you have health insurance, you may have to pay up to $50 per month for this medication.
The vaginal ring is a small, flexible plastic ring that a woman inserts in her vagina. For a period of three weeks, it releases estrogen and other hormones. After three weeks it is removed and the woman gets her period. Like the birth control pill, it’s 99% effective and has few side effects. However, women who have cancer, smoke, or are likely to develop blood clots should not use a vaginal ring Costs can run up to $80 per month.
Condoms are worn on the penis. They are made of latex or plastic and serve as a barrier that collects sperm after ejaculation. When used correctly, they are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. They can be used in combination with other methods, including birth control pills, to decrease the likelihood of pregnancy. Condoms are one of the only methods of birth control that also prevent sexually transmitted diseases. They cost approximately $1 each, though some health centres may give them out for free.
Sterilization is a surgery for women that prevents pregnancy. It involves blocking the fallopian tubes, which eggs must pass through in order to be fertilized and implanted in the uterus. It is extremely effective; however, it’s also meant to be permanent, which means it’s not a good option for anyone who may want to have children in the future. Though it can sometimes be reversed, in many cases it cannot. As a surgery, tubal sterilization comes with significant risks. Sterilization can cost up to $6,000.
Emergency Contraception (Morning-After Pill)
The morning after pill, also known as Plan B or Next Choice, is a type of backup birth control. It contains a high dose of estrogen and other hormones, the hormones found in the birth control pill and works best when taken within three days of unprotected sex, though it may be effective when taken later as well. It’s available over-the-counter to women over the age of 18, and minors can access it with a prescription. It’s safe and effective following unprotected sex. It can cost anywhere from $25 to $65.
Other Types of Birth Control
There are many types of birth control which can be used by both men and women. Some other common types include the female condom, the implant, intrauterine devices (IUDs), abstinence, the birth control patch, vasectomy, and the copper T ring.