Starting a family might be something you’re interested in doing, just not right now. Thankfully, there are many forms of birth control to lower your risk of an unexpected pregnancy. Knowing you want to be on birth control is an essential first step. But you still have to determine the best type for you. In this article, we’ll share the methods currently available and provide a few tips to help you choose.
1. Know Your Options
First do your research on what’s currently available. These days, it seems like a new type of birth control is popping up every day. It’s important you know all of your options before making a decision.
Birth control pills are probably the most commonly known birth control method. While it takes a few weeks to go into effect, once active, these pills regulate your hormones and stop or prevent ovulation altogether.
An intrauterine device, or IUD, is another well-known birth control method. Shaped like a T, this device is inserted into the uterus. There are two forms of IUDs available: hormonal and copper. Both forms make it difficult for sperm cells to get an egg. But hormonal IUDs release progestin, which thickens the mucus in the cervix.
You can also get a hormonal implant, birth control shot, patch, or ring. Contraceptive gel is even a possibility. It inserts into your vagina and stops sperm from reaching your eggs.
As you can see, there are many birth control choices available. It’s about finding the one that works best for your specific needs.
2. Figure Out Your Goal
As mentioned above, birth control options aren’t scarce. That’s why it’s important to check in with yourself and identify your goals before deciding. Of course, you want to prevent pregnancy, but there are other things to consider. For example, maybe you suffer from heavy periods and want something to help. Or maybe you’re forgetful and don’t feel comfortable taking a pill every single day.
You should also consider your long-term goals. Sure, you’re not ready for children right now. But what if you met the right person next month? Would you feel the urge to start a family? If so, you want to choose a birth control method that can be easily removed or stopped without side effects.
Consider your allergies and health conditions as well. Some birth control pills can wreak havoc on your system if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome. On the flip side, some options are better suited for certain conditions. For instance, if you have endometriosis, an estrogen-progesterone birth control pill is ideal for treating symptoms. Knowing these things about yourself will help you narrow down your choices.
3. Know the Side Effects
It’s important to remember that not all women are the same. Your body will respond differently to birth control than someone else’s. That’s completely normal. But that’s why you shouldn’t take someone’s experience as fact.
Sure, your friend might have experienced zero side effects with birth control pills. That doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience. Some women experience weight gain, mood changes, and a delayed or non-existent menstruated cycle. Many symptoms have to do with the type of birth control bill you’re using (aka the hormones that are being released).
This information isn’t meant to scare you, only to show you why it’s important to do your own research. If you have questions, speak with your physician about how various forms of birth control may affect you.
There can be positive side effects to birth control. For example, some methods help control acne and reduce any pain or discomfort you might’ve experienced during your period. As mentioned above, if you have endometriosis, birth control pills can even keep your symptoms at bay.
Even if you end up choosing an option that causes problems, you can simply stop using it and try something else.
4. Consider Cost and Insurance
If you have insurance, there’s a good chance your birth control is covered and won’t cost you anything. And even if it’s not free, the cost will most likely be low. This is great news if you have insurance. But if you don’t, cost is probably an important factor when deciding on birth control.
With that in mind, make sure you ask a pharmacist what the cost of birth control might be. According to research, the annual cost can vary from $0 to potentially over $1,000, depending on the birth control and your insurance. That’s a pretty penny, especially if it’s coming out of pocket.
Depending on your income, you might be able to qualify for Medicaid. There are also other types of government assistance programs that could help you afford birth control. You can also consult online birth control providers, some of whom offer the pill to uninsured patients for as little as $15 a month.
5. Consult With Your Doctor
Your doctor has to either prescribe birth control (for pills or a ring) or insert it if you’re going the IUD route. But no matter what you choose, you’ll have to visit a doctor or OB/GYN. And while you might not be looking forward to a doctor’s visit, it can be incredibly helpful.
It’s important to remember that your doctor is an expert and someone you should use as a resource. They are there to answer your questions and help you make the right choice for your health. If you need guidance, schedule an appointment. If you don’t already have a doctor, ask a friend or family member to recommend someone.
As mentioned above, you can also visit an online healthcare company. They can connect you to a doctor virtually, or in-person, to help you. Whomever you choose to see, make sure you’re honest and upfront during the visit. Your doctor needs to be aware of your health needs, concerns, and preferences to recommend the right birth control for you.
With so much information and so many forms to choose from, you might be nervous about making the right decision. Luckily, the tips above can help. From consulting with a doctor to doing your own research, you have the tools needed to find what works. And remember, regardless of what birth control you choose, you always have the option of changing.