Birth Control Options






Choosing a method that’s right for you.

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As no two people are the same, there are several methods of birth control available.  The information provided here is to help you, with the help of your health care provider, decide which method works best for your needs and lifestyle.  WHC staff are available by appointment to help you decide which method is right for you.

Combination Oral Contraceptives (Birth Control Pills)

How do combination oral contraceptive work?

The process of ovulation is directed by hormones, chemicals made by the body.  Some hormones signal for egg follicles to mature in the ovary; others trigger the thickening of the uterine wall.  Combination oral contraceptives consist of man-made versions of two of these hormones, estrogen and progestin; taken daily, they block the usual hormone messages that direct ovulation.  No eggs are produced, so conception is prevented.  Other effects of combination oral contraceptives help prevent sperm from reaching the egg and reduce the chance of the egg implanting in the uterus.

There are several kinds of combination oral contraceptives, with different levels and types of hormones.  Some pills contain a constant dose of both hormones (progestin and estrogen).  Others, called “phasic birth control pills”, deliver varying levels of hormones throughout your cycle.

Every woman’s cycle is different and so are her needs in an oral contraceptive.  Your doctor or health care provider can determine the type of oral contraceptive that is right for you.

What do I have to do?

Combination birth control pills are a very simple birth control method to use, as you only need to take them one time per day. Depending on which contraception has been ordered for you, you may take a break by either stopping for seven days or by taking an inactive placebo pill.  During this seven day period of time, you will usually experience bleeding similar to a normal menstrual period.  When taking the inactive pills, you must take one every day in order to be protected.  Some oral contraception brands have you take a pill every day throughout the packet and experience no period, or a very light period.

Are oral contraceptives right for me?

Oral contraceptives are one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control currently available.  Only your doctor or health care provider can determine if you are a good candidate for birth control pills.  When used correctly, they are more than 99% effective, making oral contraceptives the most popular method of contraception.  Oral contraceptives are considered safe for most women.  The pill does not offer protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).  Women who smoke and are 35 years of age or older, also have an increased risk for heart related diseases.  Serious as well as minor side effects have been reported in women using oral contraceptives.  You should discuss these risks with your doctor or health care provider.





Monthly Oral Contraceptives (the Pill)Take 1 pill every day as directed. A menstrual period occurs every 28 days.YesNo99% when used correctlyYes
Extended-Regimen Oral ContraceptiveTake 1 pill every day for 3 months as directed. A period occurs every 3 monthsYesNo99% when used correctlyNo
PatchApply to skin and change weekly. A period occurs every 28 daysYesNo99% when used correctlyYes
Vaginal Ring (hormonal -"Nuva Ring")Insert monthly and Leave in place for 21 days. A period occurs every 28 days.YesNo99% when used correctlyYes
Injection (Depo)Get injections every 3 months. A period occurs every 28 days.Injections given in healthcare professional's office or clinicNo99% when used correctlyYes
Hormonal Intrauterine Contraceptive (IUD - "Mirena")Inserted in the uterus and can remain for up to 5 years. A period occurs every 28 days.IUD inserted in a healthcare professional's office or clinicNo99% when used correctlyYes
NEXPLANONimplanted in the inner, upper arm lasts up to 3 yearsYes, Nexplanon is inserted in the inner, upper armNo99% effectiveYes




Birth Control MethodHow to UsePrescription NeededProtects Against STI'sEffectivenessAvailable @ WHC
SpermicideApply every time before sexNoNo94%No
Diaphragm & SpermicideInsert every time before sexYesNo94%No
Female CondomInsert every time before sexNoYes95%No
Male CondomPartner must wear every time during sexNoYes (latex only)97%Yes
Non-Hormonal Intrauterine Contraceptive (IUD - Paragard)Inserted in the uterus and can remain for up to 10 yearsIUD inserted in a healthcare professional's office or clinicNo99%Yes
Female Sterilization ("tubes tied") Male sterilization (vasectomy)No action required after surgeryNo. Performed surgicallyNo 99%No