Choosing Your Birth Control Method: Factors to Consider

Mar 02, 2023
Choosing Your Birth Control Method: Factors to Consider
Trying to choose the right birth control method? This can be a daunting task, with many factors to consider. The good news is that we’re here to help. Read on to learn the many factors that may influence your decision.

Choosing the right birth control method can help you avoid unplanned pregnancies and give you peace of mind each month.But which method is right for you? 

There are many factors to consider before you choose one type of birth control. Board-certified OB/GYN Karen Allsup, FACOG, MD, and our Aurora OB/GYN team review all of these factors with you when you arrive for your contraception consultation.

In the meantime, you can start reflecting on the many factors that help determine the right birth control method for you.

Do you want children (eventually)?

Birth control can be categorized into the following two categories: reversible or non-reversible. Reversible birth control methods won’t permanently affect your fertility. If you think you may want children in the future, you’ll focus on reversible birth control methods. 

Reversible birth control options include:

  • Birth control pills
  • Condoms
  • Patches
  • Rings
  • Implants 
  • Intrauterine devices (IUD)

Once you’ve determined that you may want children in the future, you’ll also need to consider how soon (or not) you want them. Not all reversible birth control options can be stopped immediately. Some, for example, may require planning, such as removing an IUD device or deciding to discontinue birth control implants. 

Short-acting, reversible options

If you think you may want children relatively soon, consider short-acting, reversible birth control options. These are taken or used daily or monthly and can be easily reversed. Examples of short-acting, reversible options include condoms, cervical caps, and birth control pills.

Tip: short-acting, reversible options require the most diligence. For instance, if you miss a pill or don’t take it on time, or if you use a condom incorrectly, its effectiveness may be compromised. 

Long-acting, reversible options

If you want to have children but know you won’t be ready for several months or even years, consider a long-acting, reversible birth control method. IUDs, implants, and shots are all long-acting reversible contraceptives, sometimes called LARCs.

You might also consider an IUD or implant if:

  • Your work schedule fluctuates, and it would be hard to take a pill at the same time every day
  • You know it’ll be a few years before you’re ready to start or grow your family
  • You want a “set it and forget it” option 

If you know that you don’t want children or that your family is complete, you might consider a permanent form of birth control, such as tubal ligation. These methods do permanently end your fertility and aren’t reversible. 

Consider the number of sexual partners you have

Whether you want children and when you might want them aren’t the only two factors to consider. You’ll also need to factor into your lifestyle and your number of partners. Not all types of birth control protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), so if you’re not in a monogamous relationship, you may consider using condoms to help protect yourself.

When used consistently and correctly, latex condoms reduce the risk of contracting STDs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis. To help prevent breakage, always use condom-safe lubricants and ensure the correct size condom is used. You can also use condoms in conjunction with other forms of birth control, such as pills or IUDs, giving you the added protection against STDs that pills and IUDs don’t offer.

Consider any underlying health issues you have

Certain hormonal birth control methods can help you control painful or heavy periods. These treatments can help reduce heavy bleeding and painful symptoms during your period. This is called contraceptive therapy, which we offer here in our San Antonio, Texas, office.

Which type of birth control is right for you?

Trying to decide what type of birth control you need can be overwhelming, but the good news is that you never have to sort through these options on your own. Dr. Allsup offers contraceptive consultations to help determine if contraceptives are right for you and, if so, which method. 

During your consultation, we may conduct a comprehensive exam, discuss your sexual health history, review your health history and any menstrual symptoms, and discuss family planning goals. 

Ready to explore your options? Reach out to us at 210-547-4700 or use our online form to book your next appointment.