Family Planning And You

People have used birth control methods for thousands of years. Today, we have many safe and effective birth control methods available to us. All of us who need birth control want to find the method that is best for us. And each of us has different needs when choosing a method. If you are trying to choose, learning about each method may help you make your decision. Only you can decide what is best for you. And we are here to help. Here are a few of the most popular (and effective) forms of contraception:

Contraceptive sponge -This barrier method is a soft, disk-shaped device with a loop for taking it out. It is made out of polyurethane foam and contains the spermicide nonoxynol-9. Spermicide kills sperm. Before having sex, you wet the sponge and place it, loop side down, inside your vagina to cover the cervix. The sponge is effective for more than one act of intercourse for up to 24 hours. It needs to be left in for at least 6 hours after having sex to prevent pregnancy. It must then be taken out within 30 hours after it is inserted. Only one kind of contraceptive sponge is sold in the United States. It is called the Today Sponge. Women who are sensitive to the spermicide nonoxynol-9 should not use the sponge.

Oral contraceptives –Or, as more commonly referred to as “The pill”. The pill contains the hormones estrogen and progestin. It is taken daily to keep the ovaries from releasing an egg. The pill also causes changes in the lining of the uterus and the cervical mucus to keep the sperm from joining the egg. Some women prefer the “extended cycle” pills. These have 12 weeks of pills that contain hormones (active) and 1 week of pills that don’t contain hormones (inactive). While taking extended cycle pills, women only have their period three to four times a year. Many types of oral contraceptives are available. Talk with your doctor about which is best for you. Your doctor may advise you not to take the pill if you have the following risk factors: older than 35, smoker, history of blood clots, or history of breast, liver, or endometrial cancer.

Implantable rod – This is a matchstick-size, flexible rod that is put under the skin of the upper arm. It is often called by its brand name, Implanon. The rod releases a progestin, which causes changes in the lining of the uterus and the cervical mucus to keep the sperm from joining an egg. Less often, it stops the ovaries from releasing eggs. It is effective for up to 3 years. may reduce how well the pill works in some women. Talk to your doctor about a backup method of birth control if you need to take antibiotics. Women should wait three weeks after giving birth to begin using birth control that contains both estrogen and progestin. These methods increase the risk of dangerous blood clots that could form after giving birth. Women who delivered by cesarean section or have other risk factors for blood clots, such as obesity, history of blood clots, smoking, or preeclampsia, should wait six weeks. can discuss all of your birth control options with you and help you get the birth control you need.

No matter which form of birth control you choose, make sure you pick something that works for you and your lifestyle, until you are ready to have children.

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