Reproductive life planning is an important step for every couple to take, hence more and more seek not just the right birth control method for them, but the best birth control methods as well. One important reason for that is to ensure that every pregnancy is intended. Of course, it follows that if the pregnancy is planned, the couple will be much more enthusiastic and willing to seek the best outcome of care possible for both the mother and the baby.
Ideally, we want something that’s foolproof, right? Why settle for something that has a percentage of 99.9% when we can go for 100? What’s the 0.1% about? Can we just round it off? I mean, it’s just simple math. In fact, no. That kind of thinking is how a birth control method fails.
If you’re looking for the ultimate protection against conception (we’re talking about effectiveness percentage of 100% here, folks), it is none other than total abstinence. No sexual intercourse forever, at all, in a lifetime. That’s complete abstinence. “I practice that! I only do it once every two years.” Sorry, that doesn’t count.
The effectiveness of birth control methods depends on several factors such as safety, side effects, affordability, convenience, and compliance. We’ll list down the best ones in terms of TUFR or typical use failure rate (in percentage). Here they are:
Implanted Progesterone (Norplant)
Norplant are six non-biodegradable implants filled with synthetic progesterone and implanted under the skin of the upper arm. The implant stops the woman from ovulating for 5 years.
Advantages: It has a long-term effect. Compliance issues are eliminated as well. Norplant is a reversible birth control method. The return to fertility after the implant has been removed is 3 months.
Disadvantages: The implant site is visible and scarring is very possible.
IUD or Intrauterine Device
IUD is a small object inserted into the uterus via the vagina. IUD variations include Copper T, Levonorgestrel 20 Mirena, and Progesterone T. An IUD must first be fitted by a doctor after a Pap test and pelvic exam.
Advantages: IUD does not require daily attention, only a single insertion is required.
Disadvantages: Women with IUD are at high risk for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Toxic Shock Syndrome. Other side effects include bleeding and cramping.
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure involving a small incision on each side of the scrotum to cut and tie the vas deferens (a tube where sperm travels).
Advantages: Vasectomy is highly reliable and complications are very few.
Disadvantages: It is irreversible, and there is an initial cost. Some men do seek to have reanastomosis (reversed vasectomy); however, the success rate is 70% – 80% only.
Like vasectomy, tubal ligation is a surgical procedure whereby the fallopian tubes are occluded to prevent the passage of both the sperm and the egg.
Advantages: Very reliable.
Disadvantages: It is costly and there are various risks involved. The risk depends on how the tubal ligation is performed. For tubal ligation via colpotomy (incision is through the vagina), the risk for pelvic infection is higher. Complete reversal of the procedure is very unlikely.
Depo-Provera is an injection given every 12 weeks. Another one is an injection of synthetic estrogen and progesterone called Lunelle; this has an interval of 30 days.
Advantages: Longer-term reliability and has fewer side effects than oral contraceptives.
Disadvantages: Continuous cost and injection for the method to remain effective. The return of fertility after complete termination of injections is longer, usually 6-12 months.
Oral contraceptives are composed of synthetic amounts of estrogen and progesterone that suppresses ovulation. In the US, monophasic pills (fixed doses of estrogen and progestin in a 21-day cycle) are commonly prescribed.
Advantages: Easy to use, regulates menstrual cycle, reduces risk for endometriosis and ovarian cysts, reduces menstrual cramps, decreases incidence of colon cancer, and improves acne.
Disadvantages: Nausea, weight gain, headache, breast tenderness, and bleeding.
This type of birth control slowly releases a combo of estrogen and progesterone. The patch is applied once a week for 3 consecutive weeks.
Advantages: Easy to apply and more convenient than the pill.
Disadvantages: Irritation at the site can occur. Mild breast discomfort can also be experienced.
The best birth control method is the one that is tailored to your body and your needs. There are existing conditions that need to be assessed, contraindications that should be considered. In other words, you have to see your doctor first.
I’ve never taken birth control before, but now that we have a baby we want to be a little more cautious. I am breastfeeding and I’ve heard the best options to not affect your milk supply are the IUD or mini pill. If you have used either of these bc methods I want your opinion! Do you like it? Do/did you breastfeed and if so did you see a change in supply?
I was scheduled to get a IUD today but cancelled my appointment I herd a lot of stories and it scared me. But now I don’t know what type of Birth control method to take? Suggestions and what’s worked for you ladies? I would really appreciate the advice!
What is everyone’s opinion on the type of birth control to use after baby. We will want to have another baby 3-4 years down the road but for now I need a good birth control. Before baby I was using the Nuvaring and I liked it but then developed a large cyst and had to have surgery for removal of it…
Hi ladies!What birth control method do you recommend? After my first pregnancy, I was on the pill, but I’m bad at remembering to take it everyday! Also, what are the side effects/risks of your recommended method?
What are my options for birth control? What’s most effective – temporary and permanent methods? Also please mention any side effects you know of. I will discuss this with my OBGYN as well but wanted to ask y’all.