There are many options available for hormonal birth control methods which are more effective in preventing pregnancy than natural family planning and barrier methods. All hormonal methods of birth control require a doctor’s visit and prescription. These methods are not safe for everyone, which is why it is important to visit with your doctor before trying these methods. Hormonal birth control can be more costly than barrier or natural family planning, but most health insurances will greatly reduce or eliminate the costs of them. Check with your insurance provider to see what they methods may cost you.
Oral Contraceptive Pill (“The Pill”): This is a medication that has hormones that are naturally found in your body. The pill can contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone, or just progesterone. With the combination pills, you will have a monthly cycle. With progesterone-only pills, you may not have a monthly cycle at all. Whichever kind of pill you choose, it must be taken at the same time every day. If you miss a pill, you can take it as soon as you remember the next day. If you miss more than two days in a row, throw the missed pills away, resume taking the rest of the pills on schedule, and use a back-up contraception method for 7 days. Typically, about 9 in 100 women will become pregnant during the first year they use the pill.
The Patch: The patch is like a square band aid that releases hormones (estrogen and progesterone) through the skin. You wear the patch for 7 days and replace the patch with a new one. You do this for three weeks and then go “patch-free” for a week. The “patch-free” week is when you will have your period. If the patch comes off for longer than 24 hours, you must start a new patch and use backup contraception for 7 days. During the first year of use, about 9 in 100 women will become pregnant.
Vaginal Ring: The vaginal ring is a small ring that sits inside the vagina and close to the cervix. If it is inserted correctly, you do not feel it and your partner should not feel it during intercourse. The ring contains estrogen and progesterone and prevents ovulation (releasing of an egg). During the first year of use, about 9 in 100 women will become pregnant.
The Shot: Birth control also comes in the form of a shot that can be given in the arm or buttocks every 12 weeks. The birth control shot contains only the hormone progesterone. It requires you to visit your doctor’s office every 12 weeks to get the shot. During the first year of use, about 6 in 100 women will become pregnant.
Implanted Rods: The implanted rod, also called Implanon, is rod about the size of a matchstick placed under the skin and slowly releases the hormone progesterone. This form of birth control lasts three years until it has to be replaced. The implanted rod can easily be done in the doctor’s office. This method of birth control is very effective, fewer than 1 in 100 women will become pregnant in the first year of using the implant.