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Birth Control - Choosing a Birth Control Method

With so many methods available and so many factors to consider, choosing birth control can be difficult. You may be able to decide on a method by asking yourself the following questions:

Might I want to have a biological child in the future?

One of your first considerations might be to determine whether you want permanent or temporary birth control. In other words, you should consider whether you want to conceive any (or more) children. This is a decision that will affect the rest of your life and can be made only after thinking it through carefully.

If you know that you will not ever want to conceive a pregnancy, tubal ligation or tubal implants for you or a vasectomy for your partner is a reasonable option to consider.

If you are not sure about the future even though you know how you feel now, a temporary method is a better choice. If you are young, have few or no children, are choosing sterilization because your partner wants it, or think it will solve money or relationship problems, you may regret your decision later.

How would an unplanned pregnancy affect my life?

If an unplanned pregnancy would seriously impact your plans for the future, choose a birth control method that is highly effective. Or if you have a stable relationship and income and plan to have children in the future anyway, you may feel comfortable using a less reliable method.

How effective are different types of birth control?

Consider how important it is to you to avoid pregnancy, and then look at how well each birth control method works. Hormonal methods and IUDs work very well. Barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms, and spermicides are only moderately effective. Fertility awareness is even less effective.

Be honest about how much effort you are willing to put into birth control. To be effective, birth control pills require you to take a pill every day. Barrier methods have to be used before sex. Fertility awareness requires that you watch your temperature and other signs closely. You must also avoid sex on days when you could get pregnant. If you are not willing to put in the effort, choose another method of birth control.

Consider how comfortable you feel about using a particular method of birth control. If you are not comfortable with or might not consistently use a birth control method for any reason, that method is not likely to be reliable for you in the long run.

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