Ask the Doc
Ask the Doc
Ask The Expert
August 03, 2011
No method of birth control is ideal for all women. Many options are safe and effective.
Some important factors to consider are:
All methods of contraception may fail to prevent pregnancy even when used correctly. The rate of pregnancy varies. It can be as low as about 1% for the intrauterine device to as high as over 25% for the withdrawal method.
Many factors determine safety. These include characteristics of the birth control method and your medical history.
Some women have uncomfortable side effects that limit which birth control method they would use. Birth control pills cause nausea in some women, for example.
Some methods of birth control, such as condoms, have to be used during sex. This may be a good choice for couples that only want to use a contraceptive when they need it. For couples that do not want to interrupt their sexual activity, the pill may be a better choice.
Couples that do not want children (or don't want any more children) may choose a contraception that is permanent. Tubal ligation, for example, is a form of birth control that is not reversible. Obviously, this is not a good choice for couples that only want to avoid pregnancy until they are ready to have children.
Different methods of birth control provide benefits other than just preventing pregnancy. For example, birth control pills can decrease menstrual bleeding and cramping. That's a great benefit for women who are bothered by these symptoms. And condoms are the only form of birth control that can help protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
The costs of different methods of birth control vary widely. The total cost must include all expenses, such as the cost of a doctor visit if a prescription is needed. The intrauterine device may have a higher initial cost, but because it is used over several years, the total cost may be less than other methods of birth control.
You and your doctor should look at the risks and benefits of each option to choose the contraceptive that is best for you.
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