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    What's the Best Birth Control?

    What's "best" among birth control methods differs from person to person. What's right for you may not be right for everyone. And your needs may change over time, too.

    You should think about:

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    No-Period Birth Control

    Q: I’m a little wary of the new no-period birth control pills on the market. Are they safe? A: The FDA approved the first no-period pill (brand name Lybrel) in 2007. And, yes, this new pill is safe. It isn’t that different from other low-dose birth control pills that use estrogen and progestin to stop ovulation. Instead of taking four to seven days of placebo pills, however, women take Lybrel continuously, with no breaks and no period. Seasonale, another extended-use oral contraceptive,...

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    • How fail-proof do you need your protection plan to be?
    • How much does the cost matter?
    • How important is your privacy?
    • Do you have a regular partner whose needs you care about?
    • Do you need to protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
    • How much effort do you want to make to prevent a pregnancy?
    • If you're a woman, does it matter if your period is affected?
    • Will you some day want to have a child?

    You can compare facts about birth control methods in the sections below, including the basic ways they work.

    • Behavior: Something you or your partner has to do
    • Barrier: Goes on or in your body before you have sex to block the sperm from getting to the egg
    • Hormonal: Changes a woman's body chemistry. (Depending on the specific hormones, it stops ovaries from releasing eggs, thickens the mucus around your cervix to keep sperm from reaching the egg, or thins the lining of the uterus.)
    • Medical: A procedure that changes your body

    When doctors talk about how effective a birth control method is, sometimes there are different rates when it's used "ideally" -- meaning exactly the way it was designed -- versus how the average person uses it in real life. "Typical" use takes into account that people can't or don't always use birth control correctly or consistently.

    Keep in mind, out of every 100 women who don't use any form of birth control, you can expect about 85 to get pregnant within a year.

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