If you’re hoping to avoid pregnancy, you might feel overwhelmed by the many birth control choices available. From pills to patches to implants, selecting the right contraceptive isn’t always easy.
At his private practice in White Plains and Queens, New York, board-certified OB/GYN Daniel S. Kushner, MD, takes time to understand your concerns and needs to help you choose the best birth control method for you.
Take a moment to learn about four popular birth control methods, the types of contraception each provides, how effective they are, and how to determine which is right for you.
Method 1: Barrier method birth control
Barrier method forms of birth control work by preventing a sperm and egg from connecting. Some also offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Some barrier options and their effectiveness include:
- Male condoms: Up to 85% effective
- Female condoms: Up to 79% effective
- Diaphragm: Up to 88% effective
- Sponges: About 76%-88% effective
- Cervical cap: About 71%-86% effective
Remember that barrier method forms of birth control must be used every time you have sex to be effective.
Method 2: Hormonal method birth control
Hormonal birth control affects your natural hormones to stop ovulation. These types of contraception vary in the hormones they affect and how they’re administered. Some popular options include:
- Birth control implant: A long-term (up to 5 years) progestin-based device that’s up to 99% effective
- Intrauterine device (IUD): A long-term progestin-based device (up to 7 years) or non-hormone based device (up to 12 years) that’s up to 99% effective
- Birth control shot: A progestin-based injection you get every three months that’s up to 94% effective
- Vaginal ring: A monthly estrogen- and progestin-based ring that’s up to 91% effective
- Birth control patch: A patch with estrogen and progestin that you change each week and is up to 91% effective
- Birth control pills: Oral contraceptive with hormones you take every day that can be up to 91% effective
Keep in mind that hormonal birth control does not offer protection against STDs.
Method 3: Lifestyle method birth control
Lifestyle methods of birth control involve making conscious decisions to avoid getting pregnant. These methods vary in effectiveness and do not offer protection against STDs. The most common include:
- Fertility awareness: Also called the rhythm method or natural family planning, this method involves tracking ovulating to avoid pregnancy and is 76%-88% effective
- Breastfeeding: Nursing at least every 4 hours a day for the first six months of your baby’s life can prevent ovulation and is up to 98% effective
- Withdrawal: Also called the pull-out method, this method involves ejaculating away from the vagina and is up to 78% effective
Abstinence, or not having sexual intercourse, is also considered a lifestyle method and is the only way to get 100% protection from pregnancy.
Method 4: Permanent method birth control
Permanent methods of birth control are designed to prevent any possible future pregnancies. Also called sterilization, these methods are generally extremely effective (near 100%). Some options include tubal ligation and male vasectomy.
Which birth control is right for me?
Dr. Kushner is happy to give you personalized birth control recommendations based on your health and any concerns or factors you discuss. To help you make the decision, here are a few questions to consider:
1. Why do I need birth control?
While birth control helps prevent pregnancy, different contraceptives do more than stop you from conceiving, like helping to prevent STDs.
2. Will I use this birth control type?
Be honest with yourself about your willingness and ability to use different options correctly. For example, for birth control pills to be effective, you need to take them around the same time each day. And for condoms to work, you must use one every time you have sex.
If you know you might find these things challenging, an IUD or implant might be a better option as they require very little effort on your part. Just remember that the best birth control option is the one that works for you.
3. Is pregnancy in my future?
Even if you don’t want to have a baby today, that doesn’t mean you’ll feel that way forever. If you think you’ll have children soon, a birth control method that doesn’t interfere with your hormone levels might be the best choice.
Are you thinking about starting birth control or changing the method you use? Get personalized recommendations by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with Dr. Kushner at the New York office nearest you.