Birth Control

Women today have many birth control options. We can provide information on the different methods allowing you to decide which works best for you at this time of your life. 

What type of birth control pills are there?

Oral contraceptives taken daily usually contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. In addition to prevention of pregnancy, oral contraceptives have several health benefits including regulating menstrual cycles and decreasing the amount and length of menstrual periods.

Unlike the traditional birth control pill, the mini-pill has only the hormone, progestin. Taken daily, the mini-pill thickens cervical mucus and prevents the sperm from reaching the egg. The mini-pill also can decrease the flow of your period and protect against pelvic inflammatory disease and ovarian and endometrial cancer.

What are options if I don’t want to take a pill every day?

Implant. A capsule containing the synthetic hormone etonogestrel is implanted under the skin your upper arm. This continuously prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg for up to 3 years. A local anesthetic in our office is needed for insertion and removal of this type of birth control.

Injection. A progesterone-like drug such as Depo-Provera is given by injection to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. The effects last for about 3 months and another injection must be given to continue birth control effectiveness.

Patch. This is a skin patch worn on the body that releases the hormones estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream. It is most effective in women who weigh less than 198 pounds.

Diaphragm or cervical cap.  The diaphragm and cervical cap are silicone cups used with a special gel or cream called spermicide (a substance that kills sperm). Before sex you insert the diaphragm or cervical cap into your vagina and over the cervix to keep sperm from entering the uterus and fertilizing an egg. We fit you with the correct size and make sure you know how to correctly insert it.

Hormonal vaginal contraceptive ring. The vaginal ring is a small, flexible, plastic ring that you insert in your vagina containing progestin and estrogen found in most birth control pills. The hormones are absorbed into the bloodstream from the walls of the vagina and prevent pregnancy by keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also cause cervical mucus to thicken, which keeps sperm from meeting and fertilizing an egg. The vaginal ring must be replaced every month.

Intrauterine device (IUD).  The IUD works by thickening cervical mucus to make it hard for sperm to enter the cervix or by preventing the fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.  The IUD is inserted in our office and must be removed by a healthcare provider. IUDs containing hormones are also called intrauterine systems and must be replaced every 5 years, while copper IUDs can last up to 10 years.

How does natural family planning work?

Natural Family Planning, or Fertility Awareness, is a method of birth control that does not use medications or devices.  It relies on observations about the woman’s body and menstrual cycle.

If I don’t want any more children what are my options?

Permanent sterilization in women involves an outpatient procedure where your fallopian tubes are closed to prevent eggs from entering the uterus so sperm cannot reach the egg. For men a vasectomy provides permanent sterilization.