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Choosing a Birth Control Method That's Right For You

The OB/GYN physicians at Northern Florida's All About Women overview birth control options available to women - and how to choose one

It's just part of life: if you're a sexually active woman, you have to figure out your approach to birth control. While condoms are the only form of birth control that also protects against STDs, many health care providers recommend, and many women choose, to use an additional more reliable form of birth control as well.

Here we'll overview some of the most effective forms of birth control for women, highlighting each one's particular benefits. We'll also explore three factors you should consider which can affect the form of birth control you choose.

Forms of Female Birth Control

There are many different forms of birth control, which include ones for men. We'll of course focus on options for women. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP) considers the following forms of birth control to be extremely effective:

The following two options (Implant, IUD) are known medically as Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARC).

  • Implant (Nexplanon): An implant is a tiny plastic rod that is inserted into your upper arm where it releases a hormone called etonogestrel. The implant prevents pregnancy for three years. They have the advantage of being a low-maintenance and fairly long term. Implants are considered safe for use when breastfeeding, or for use by women who cannot use estrogen.

  • IUD: IUDs are small, flexible devices inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs have the advantage of being long term, low-maintenance forms of birth control that are just as effective as sterilization with the benefit of reversibility. Fertility usually returns quickly after having an IUD removed.

Women who choose an IUD have the option between a hormonal or non-hormonal IUD. Hormonal IUDs (brand names Mirena and Skyla) emit small amounts of progesterone into the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

These hormones may also help relieve the symptoms of heavy periods. They are effective for three to five years, depending on the brand. Non-hormonal IUDs emit trace amounts of copper that prevent pregnancy. They are effective for up to 10 years.

  • Sterilization: For women who are sure they're done having children, sterilization is a permanent birth control option. Learn more about these options and procedures here.

These forms of birth control are considered very effective by the ARHP:

  • Depo-Provera Shot: Depo-Provera is a progestin shot you receive from your OB/GYN every 12 weeks. The low-maintenance shot can offer fewer cramps and lighter periods for women, but it can take up to a year to get pregnant after removal.

  • Oral Contraceptives: One of the most popular forms of birth control, oral contraceptives, commonly called "the pill", come in an estrogen/progestin combo pill or a progestin only form. While you have to take the pill at the same time every day for maximum effectiveness, it may reduce heavy periods and can offer some protection against some health conditions. Fertility returns quickly after you stop taking the pill.

  • Patch (Ortho Evra): The patch is an adhesive square worn on the body, which releases hormones similar to the pill that prevent pregnancy. The patch must be changed weekly, but offers many of the same benefits as the pill, including a quick return to fertility, without the daily upkeep.

  • Vaginal Ring (Nuva Ring): The vaginal ring is a flexible, small ring that you insert into the vagina every three weeks. The ring releases estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy, and offers many of the same benefits of the pill.

What's the Right Choice for You?

While all these types of female birth control will do the job, it's a big decision to figure out which will work best for you.

You should consider certain lifestyle factors that can affect your choice of birth control method. Here are three questions to ask yourself:

  • What's Your Pregnancy Outlook? If you want to get pregnant within the next couple of years, you may want to choose an easily reversible form of birth control. If you're done having children, you might want to consider sterilization.

  • What's Your Personality? Are you good about taking medication on a schedule or do you need something that you can forget about? The pill is an easy, accessible choice for women who can remember to take it, but options like the ring or implant may be better for women who want something they can forget about.

  • Are You Concerned About Hormones? Women who are nursing may want a birth control that doesn't contain estrogen since it can lower milk supply. Women who want to avoid hormones all together may consider a copper IUD or a barrier form of birth control.

The OB/GYN doctors and midwives at All About Women are always open to discussing the pros and cons of birth control methods, and helping you choose the right one.

Call our Gainesville or Lake City office today to schedule a well woman visit to begin a discussion about your birth control options, including permanent sterilization.

Continue browsing our blog and knowledge center to learn more. And if you're having difficulty getting pregnant, contact us as well to discuss your situation.

Contact us
‹ All About Women OB/GYN Knowledge Center
6440 W Newberry Road, Suite 111
Gainesville, FL 32605
(352) 331-3332
Lake City
4447 NW American Lane, Suite 102
Lake City, FL 32055
(386) 754-1744

Gainesville and Lake City OB/GYN Care

OB/GYN doctors at All About Women, Obstetrics & Gynecology offer personalized, technologically advanced obstetrics and gynecology services from Board Certified OB/GYB physicians. Besides expert women's healthcare, permanent birth control and prenatal care, OB/GYN doctors also offers advanced hysterectomy surgery in and around the Gainesville area.

Women's Health Care in Alachua & Columbia Counties

With offices in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida, All About Women, M.D. provides expert OB/GYN services covering the entire range of women's healthcare needs. Our OB/GYN physicians and nurse midwives provide expert care during pregnancy as well as state of the art in-office treatments for gynecologic disorders including Novasure endometrial ablation to treat/stop heavy menstrual bleeding.

Personalized & Expert Prenatal Care

Gainesville obstetricians at All About Women, M.D. help ensure pregnancy goes as smoothly as possible by offering the best prenatal care available. And for those having difficulty getting pregnant, AAW obstetricians and gynecologists offer couples the best infertility help and treatment available.

Advanced Minimally Invasive Surgery: daVinci Surgical System

Clinic founder Dr. Anthony Agrios, Board Certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist also specializes in the daVinci Robotic surgery system, a minimally invasive option commonly used for a hysterectomy and other procedures. Instead of creating several small incisions like traditional surgical methods, OB/GYN surgeons simply open one incision with the daVinci system to complete the procedure. Not only do patients experience less pain and blood loss, they recover and get back to normal much faster.

Pregnancy & Prenatal Care: Creative Pregnancy Announcement : Fruits for Pregnant Women

OB/GYN Tips: Choosing an OB/GYN : Robotic Hysterectomy

Infertility & Reproduction Health: Infertility Treatment : Permanent Birth Control

Women's Health: Preventive Care : Well Women Care : Mammogram Screenings : Abnormal Periods

Gainesville Maternity Care


FL OBGYN   Services
All About Women
Gainesville and Lake City, Florida Obstetrics & Gynecology

Offices conveniently located in the heart of North Florida (Alachua County & Columbia County). Serving women of all ages and backgrounds
in and around Ocala, Williston, Chiefland, Perry, Live Oak, Lake City, Starke, Palatka and Gainesville.