Birth Control

It’s All About You

If you’re not ready to have a baby, you should be using some method of birth control. It’s as simple as that. Take a look at the chart below to see which products and methods are available, and be honest with yourself about what best fits you and your lifestyle.

Type of Birth Control How They Work Product Do I Need a Health Care Provider? Effectiveness
Hormonal The Implant, the Depo-Provera shot, birth control pills, the patch, and vaginal rings all work in much the same way. They contain hormones that prevent ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovaries. They also thicken the cervical mucus, which blocks sperm from entering the uterus.
  • Implant
  • Depo-Provera
  • Birth control pills
  • Vaginal ring
  • Patch
  • Implant and Depo-Provera are extremely effective.
  • Pills, ring, and patch are very effective if used consistently and correctly.
Barrier Barrier contraception keeps the sperm from reaching the egg, immobilizes the sperm, or both.
  • IUD (intrauterine device)
  • Diaphragm
  • Spermicide
  • Condoms
  • Contraceptive sponges
  • Cervical cap
Only for IUDs, diaphragms, and cervical caps. All other barrier methods are readily available over the counter at pharmacies.
  • IUD is extremely effective.
  • Other barrier methods are effective if used correctly.
  • Condoms are the only form of birth control also effective in preventing STDs.
  • The sponge and cervical cap may be somewhat less effective if not used correctly.
Natural If you have had a baby in the last six months, are breastfeeding around the clock, and have not started having periods again, chances are you are not ovulating.
Fertility awareness requires a calendar and thermometer to track ovulation.
  • Lactational amenorrhea method (LAM)
  • Fertility awareness method
  • Abstinence
  • Coitus interruptus (withdrawal method)
  • Abstinence and LAM (if not supplementing with food or formula) are very effective.
  • Fertility awareness is effective if calculated correctly.
  • The withdrawal method is not effective.