Birth Control in Many Different Forms
According to HHS.gov, every year out of 100 women using birth control, only about 5 to 9 may become pregnant due to not using birth control correctly. Around 1960, the first oral contraceptive known as Enovid, was approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a use of contraception. (Thompson). In 1968, the FDA approved intrauterine devices (IUDs). (Thompson). In 1972, the Supreme Court legalized birth control for all citizens of the U.S. (Thompson). In the 1980s, pills with low doses of hormones were introduced and a new copper IUD (ParaGard) was also introduced in 1998. (Thompson). In 2000, a new levonorgestrel-releasing (IUD) known as Mirena was introduced. (Thompson). In 2001, a hormonal patch known as Ortho Evra was introduced. (Thompson). In 2001 the first vaginal ring Essure was out in markets. (Thompson). In the 2010s, Ella a new emergency contraceptive pill (2010) and Skyla, a new levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (2013) are introduced. The use of the copper IUD for emergency contraception grew a lot this year. (Thompson). In 2013, after protracted and regulatory battles the Plan B One-Step becomes available without prescription at drug stores. (Thompson).
As stated by HHS.gov, birth control comes in many different forms, the most common used is known as oral contraceptive or “the pill.” The pill is a medication taken daily to prevent pregnancy, however some women take the pill for different reasons other than to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of pills, combined pills and Progestin-only pills. Combined pills contain two hormones: estrogen and progestin. The pills are taken daily to prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs, and also cause cervical mucus to thicken and the lining of the uterus to thin; keeping sperm from meeting with a fertilized egg. They are typically packaged as 21 “active” pills that contain hormones; you take a pill every day for three weeks followed by one week of not taking pills at all. Other combined pills are packaged as 28 pills including 21 “active” pills that you take every day, followed by one week of “inactive” reminder pills not containing any hormones. Progestin-only pills also known as “mini pills” contain just one hormone, progestin and it causes cervical mucus to thicken and lining of the uterus to thin. This will keep the sperm from reaching any egg. Mini-pills only come in packaged of 28-day “active” pills. It is important to take a pill every day at the same time to prevent pregnancy.
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How it works
In total, there are 18 different types of birth control. (Planned Parenthood). The implant (Nexplanon) is a thin rod that releases hormones into your body, preventing pregnancy. It is 99% effective and it can cost up to $1,300. A doctor or nurse inserts this implant in your arm and you are protected from pregnancy for up to 5 years. This type of birth control prevents pregnancy by progestin thickening the mucus on your cervix, stopping sperm from meeting with an egg. It also stops ovulation so there are no eggs to be fertilized. If you decide to get pregnant, you can get the implant removed and are able to get pregnant quickly after it has been removed. Nexplanon does not protect against STDs. (Planned Parenthood). An Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a t-shaped plastic device that is inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is one of the most effective birth control methods and there are copped IUDs and hormonal IUDs. ParaGuard IUD uses copper and since sperm do not like copper, it makes it almost impossible for sperm to reach an egg. Hormonal IUDs thicken the mucus in the cervix, blocking and trapping sperm; and it also stops ovulation, therefore if there is no egg there is no pregnancy. If you get an IUD put in within 5 days after unprotected sex it is more than 99.9% effective. IUDs last up to 12 years. (Planned Parenthood).
The birth control shot, or Depo-Provera is a shot you get once every three months as your birth control. (Planned Parenthood). This shot contains the hormone progestin, which stops ovulation therefore meaning you cannot get pregnant; it also makes the cervical mucus thicker, so sperm cannot get through. This shot will not protect you from STDs. In order for Depo-Provera to work its best, you should get it every 3-4 months and if you get your first shot 7 days after getting your period, you are protected from pregnancy right away; however, if you get it any other time during your cycle you should use another type of protection. (Planned Parenthood). There are many types of birth controls you can use, in fact there are 18 like mentioned earlier. However, just like anything else they have their advantages and disadvantages. According to HHS.gov, some advantages are that some are easy to use, they are safe and prevent pregnancy, some combination pills have benefits: fewer period cramps, less period blood loss, and sometimes even less acne. Pills sometimes also decrease the risk of some cancers that can affect reproductive organs and fertility will return normal when you stop taking the pill. Also, according to HHS.gov, some disadvantages are the pill will not protect from STDs, you must take the pills at the same time every day, certain medications can make the pill less effective, some combined pills can cause nausea and other changes in your menstrual cycle; some women may experience high blood pressure while taking the pill.
According to Health.com there are more permanent options besides birth control in order to prevent pregnancy. You could get a Tubal Ligation, where your fallopian tubes are sealed with electric current by tying and cutting. It can cost up to $6,000. Pros: it is effective immediately. Cons: complication rate up to 4% according to Planned Parenthood and you may have you wait around 2 weeks to resume your normal activity. (Levine). Another procedure according to Health.com is a vasectomy where it blocks the tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm. Cost is up to $1,000. Pros: cheaper than tubal ligation and has few complications. Most men can resume their daily lives within two days. Cons: you will need backup birth control for about three months. (Levine). Lastly, another procedure you can go under is Essure. An OB-GYN will place “microinserts” in fallopian tubes, causing tissue to grow and seal them off. Cost up to $6,000. Pros: can be done under local anesthesia. Cons: a study in BMJ in 2015 found that women with Essure were 10 times as likely to have an additional surgery within a year compared with women that got their tubes tied. (Levine).
If you want to take birth control after giving birth, there are a few options to consider. You can take the pill, which can be used usually at your six-week postpartum checkup. It is 99% effective when used correctly and if you are breast-feeding your OB-GYN will typically prescribe progestin-only pills (minipill) and it will not affect milk production. (Ramnarace). Many women think they cannot get pregnant while breastfeeding because they haven’t started their period again; however, that is not the case since ovulation can begin before that first period without you even noticing it. (Ramnarace). You can also get an IUD and a synthetic progesterone known by the brand Mirena, will pass a hormone up to 5 years that will freeze sperm, blocking it to meet with an egg. (Ramnarace). “Instead of hormones, the copper IUD (known by brand name ParaGard) releases a safe, small amount of the metal to similarly disable sperm for up to 12 years.” (Ramnarace). However, it is said that the ParaGard makes periods heavier and you will get more cramps. IUD’s are a great method of birth control, because once you get it inserted you do not have to worry about anything, and if you want to get pregnant again your doctor can just take it out. “It works by preventing implantation of the embryo. Birth control pills and an IUD do not protect a woman against sexually transmitted infections such as that caused by HIV.” (Chabner 265).
All these types of birth control can prevent pregnancy if used correctly. You can go to your doctor and talk to them about wanting to get any of these mentioned. A lot of health departments will sometimes offer these for free, or they are very affordable. Another type of birth control not mentioned is condoms. Condoms have been around for a long time and prevent pregnancy and STDs. If you are wanting to get condoms, they range anywhere from $2 to $6 and in packages of 12 or more, each condom typically costs less than $1 each. Drugstores have condoms, community health centers, doctor’s offices, supermarkets, convenience stores and in some places even from vending machines. You do not need prescription and no age restrictions to obtain condoms. (Planned Parenthood). There are different textures and sizes available for people to use and figure out which ones work best for them and their partner. They last a long time, however with time and when not stored properly they can break down. You should always check a condom before you use it, make sure there are no holes and the expiration date hasn’t passed. (Planned Parenthood). Most condoms are made of latex which is a type of rubber and there are condoms made out of different plastics for people allergic to latex. (Planned Parenthood). “Lambskin and other animal membrane condoms only prevent pregnancy they don’t protect you from HIV or other STDs.” (Planned Parenthood).
According to webmd.com, if you forget to take one of your birth control pills, take it as soon as you remember and if you remember until the next day just take two. If you forget to take them for 2 days, take the 2 pills the day you remember and 2 pills the next day. If you happen to miss more than 2 pills, you should call your doctor since you may need to take a pill daily until Sunday and start a new back or you might just throw the pack away and start a new pack that same day. “Any time you forget to take a pill, you must use another form of birth control until you finish the pill pack. When you forget to take a birth control pill, you increase the chance of releasing an egg from your ovary.” (Webmd). If you forget to take any of the last 7 out of 28 pills your chances of getting pregnant will not increase, since those pills do not contain hormones.
All these types of birth control work great if you are trying to prevent pregnancy, however as mentioned you must take them as directed, or go with your doctor to get any follow up treatments. Your chances of not becoming pregnant are very low if you take your pills correctly or get any of the other birth controls mentioned.