Are you thinking about changing method of birth control, or are you totally new to birth control? Either way, these are the types of questions that you should be asking your doctor.
- What is the effectiveness: The IUD and sterilization are the most effective with the least chance of failure. There are one year and five- year IUDs. The Pill is a close second—almost 99%, along with the implant and injectable medroxyprogesterone. Diaphragms, spermicides and condoms range from 60-90% effectiveness.
- How soon it takes effect? If the IUD is placed within five days of your period starting, then it will be effective immediately. For the implant and depo-provera (injectable medroxyprogesterone), it is the same if it is given during the same time frame. It’s always best to use condoms if you are not in a long-term committed relationship and this will pretty much guarantee your protection.
- Are there any side effects, risks, or long-term effects? Some forms of contraception do have side effects such as the pill, the implant, and medroxyprogesterone. Most side effects go away after a few months. Nausea, breast tenderness, spotting, and moodiness are a few common ones. If you are prone to depression, the implant and medroxyprogesterone could make the problem worse and can take some time to get out of your system. Periods usually stop all together with these forms, and that is completely normal, but if that will make you worry, consider other options.
- How does it work? Most options work by multiple mechanisms such as the Pill and the IUD whereas sterilization simply blocks the ability of the egg to meet the sperm. But, failures can occur. In the case of sterilization, any missed period is a cause for concern because if pregnant, you could have a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy and those are dangerous. Call your doctor immediately if that should occur.
- Are there risks? Risk of failure is the biggest risk because pregnancy itself is far more dangerous overall than any form of contraception. Even though millions of women do quite well during pregnancies, there are some who get serious complications during pregnancy.
- How soon will my fertility return? Technically, after stopping the pill, you could get pregnant in the next cycle. However, we encourage women to wait 3 months before conceiving to allow for the lining of the uterus to become more receptive for egg implantation. It takes longer for things to normalize after the implant and injectables, sometimes up to 6 months.
So, those are the important questions to ask your doctor. Regardless of your decision, your doctor will guide you through the learning process to make the best choice for you and your circumstances. You can start exploring your options right here with us.