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Birth Control Health Center

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What's the Best Birth Control?

(continued)

Abstinence

Type: Behavior

How it works: Some people consider abstinence to mean zero sexual contact (complete abstinence). Others say it's when the penis does not have contact with the vagina (contraceptive abstinence).

Number of pregnancies per 100 women:

  • Ideal use = 0
  • Typical use = unknown

How long it lasts: As long as you abstain

STD protection? Yes, when you practice complete abstinence; no, if you only practice contraceptive abstinence.

Need to see a doctor? No

Pros: Highly effective when used correctly. No side effects. No cost.

Cons: Giving up sex for a long time may be very hard. It may be hard to say "no" or "stop" while you're enjoying other sex play.

Sterilization Surgery for Women

Type: Medical

How it works: The two fallopian tubes that connect your ovaries and uterus are blocked, tied, or cut. It's commonly called "getting your tubes tied."

Pregnancies per 100 women:

  • Ideal use = less than 1
  • Typical use = less than 1

How long it lasts: Ongoing

STD protection? No

Need to see a doctor? Yes

Pros: Permanent, one-time procedure

Cons: You'll have to go to the hospital, and you'll need general anesthesia for the surgery. Risks of pain, bleeding, infection, and ectopic pregnancy afterward. Not meant to be reversed.

Sterilization Implant for Women

Type: Medical

How it works: Tissue grows around a small coil placed in each fallopian tube, blocking it.

Pregnancies per 100 women: 

  • Ideal use = less than 1
  • Typical use = less than 1

How long it lasts: Ongoing

STD protection? No

Need to see a doctor? Yes

Pros: One-time procedure. Can be done in your doctor's office without general anesthesia. It goes in through your vagina, so you won't need to be cut.

Cons: 3-month waiting period before it's effective. Maybe some pain after it's inserted. Risk of ectopic pregnancy. Not meant to be reversed.

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