Family planning – decisions about when to have children – is a personal choice that’s often left to chance. With so many available birth control options, few women need to be surprised by pregnancy. Dr. Susanne Ramos and her team in Santa Barbara, California, can help you make informed decisions about the contraceptive methods that best fit your life. If you’d like to discuss birth control, contact the office to make an appointment.
Perhaps the most important factor when choosing birth control is the effectiveness of the method. Sterilization is the most effective way to avoid pregnancy, but usually it’s irreversible and best-suited only when you’re certain you’re finished having children.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and other types of implants provide over 99% effectiveness while remaining reversible. Pills, condoms, and patches can be very effective, but depend on consistent and correct use, while methods that require self-control and timing of the fertility cycle remain the least effective methods.
Other factors you may wish to discuss with Dr. Ramos include potential side effects, personality and lifestyle considerations, other health conditions, and your current relationship status.
Of the reversible contraceptive methods, over 25% of women who use birth control choose the pill. The types of pills provide several choices, so there’s a good chance to find a solution that’s right for you.
No matter which type of birth control pill you select, each works by adding hormones into your body to selectively alter the way your reproductive system works. Primarily, these hormones prevent ovulation. If no egg is released, there’s no chance it can be fertilized. Secondly, hormones cause the mucus on the cervix to thicken, impeding the progress of sperm in the unlikely event an egg is released.
Birth control pill failure almost always comes down to human error -- forgetting to take the pills or using them in an irregular manner. Using pills along with condoms provides an extra layer of security while also protecting against sexually transmitted diseases.
After the pill -- the most popular method -- and female sterilization, the male condom places third, with just over 15% of contraceptive users selecting this method. In order of popularity, other birth control methods include: