Gynecologist located in Athens, GA
Birth control is a central component of family planning and a service that every woman may have need of. For those living in and around Athens, Georgia, Judson Shelnutt, MD, of Shelnutt Gynecology, offers comprehensive birth control counseling and can help you find the approach that’s right for you. When you’re ready to explore the possibilities, book an appointment online or over the phone.
Birth Control Q & A
What are my birth control options?
Never before have women had so many great choices when it comes to birth control. If you’ve been using the same method for years, you owe it to yourself to explore the full range of available options at Shelnutt Gynecology. There may be a method that provides an even better fit for your needs.
It's typical to divide birth control options according to how they go about preventing pregnancy.
Barrier methods of birth control work by physically impeding the ability of sperm to reach your egg. Some examples of barrier birth control options include:
- Male and female condoms
- Birth control sponge
- Cervical cap
Any of these methods can be made even more effective by incorporating spermicide, which kills sperm upon contact. It’s important to note that the only birth control options that also help prevent sexually transmitted disease are male and female condoms, and even those options don’t provide 100% protection.
Hormonal methods of birth control work by creating an environment that is inhospitable to pregnancy. Some slow or stop ovulation, others thicken your cervical mucus to make fertilization more difficult. Examples of hormonal birth control methods include:
- Birth control pills
- Birth control injections
- Birth control implant
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Birth control patch
There is also a type of IUD made of copper that alters your uterine environment to prevent pregnancy without the use of hormones. Your body may react differently to various forms of hormonal birth control. Finding the right match is worth the time and effort.
What is the worst form of birth control?
Some women find certain types of birth control problematic. For example, if you’re allergic to latex, many types of condoms could trigger a reaction. Your body may respond better to certain birth control pills than others. Dr. Shelnutt fully explains the pros and cons of each birth control method and what may work best for you based on your health during a consultation.
When it comes to determining the “worst” type of birth control, efficacy is an important factor. Fertility awareness, sometimes called the rhythm method, is the least effective birth control approach. This process involves tracking your menstrual cycle to predict the days you are most fertile, and avoiding sex on those days.
No woman should ever consider using fertility awareness unless both she and her partner are absolutely ready and willing to move forward with an unplanned pregnancy.
Which types of birth control require the least effort?
If you live a busy life or don’t want the hassle of thinking about birth control on a daily basis, there are several methods that require very little effort on your part. One option is a birth control implant, a device that’s inserted just beneath the skin on your upper arm. This option prevents pregnancy for 4-5 years, but you can restore fertility by having the device removed if you decide to try to get pregnant.
Other long-term birth control options include an IUD, which can prevent pregnancy for years, birth control shots, which provide around four months of protection, and birth control patches, which only need replacing once a week.
To explore these and other birth control options, schedule an appointment at Shelnutt Gynecology today, online or over the phone.