THE HORMONAL IUD

 
The hormonal IUD is a little, t-shaped piece of plastic that is placed in your uterus. It releases a small amount of hormone, called progestin, which keeps sperm from getting through the cervix into the uterus and meeting up with an egg. It's effective up to 5 years and may give you lighter periods.

Advantages

Good for 5 yrs
>99% effective
Quick return to fertility
May have lighter periods
Forgettable

Disadvantages

Possible irregular periods which may be greatest at the beginning
Must be inserted by a clinician
More info at bedsider.org

THE COPPER IUD

The copper IUD is a little, t-shaped piece of plastic that is placed in your uterus and alters the way sperm move. This prevents them from fertilizing an egg. This type of IUD is made of plastic and a small amount of natural, safe copper. It’s 100% hormone-free and doesn’t alter your periods. It can last up to 10 years.

Advantages

Good for 10 yrs
>99% effective
No hormones
Forgettable
Continued regular periods

Disadvantages

Possible heavier, crampier periods
May have usual side effects that come with your periods
Must be inserted by clinician
More info at bedsider.org

IMPLANT

The implant is a teeny-tiny rod that’s inserted under the skin of your upper arm. The implant releases a hormone called progestin that keep your ovaries from releasing eggs and thickens your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place. Plus, it prevents pregnancy for up to 3 years. Not too shabby.

Advantages

Good for 3 yrs
>99% effective
Quick return to fertility
May have lighter periods
Forgettable

Disadvantages

Possible irregular periods (or no periods)
More info at bedsider.org

THE SHOT

The shot is just what it sounds like, a shot that keeps you from getting pregnant. The shot contains progestin, a hormone that prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens your cervical mucus, which helps block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

Advantages

Good for 3 months
94% effective
May have lighter periods

Disadvantages

May have irregular bleeding. May improve over time.
Possible weight gain
Must see your doctor or healthcare provider every 3 months.
More info at bedsider.org

THE PILL

Birth control pills contain 2 hormones, estrogen and progestin, that keep your ovaries from releasing an egg. You must take the pill at the same time every day. There are lots of different kinds of pills on the market. Most pills have 21 days of active pills and 7 days of inactive or "placebo" pills; however, there are extended pills available. You will need a prescription from your healthcare provider.

Advantages

91% effective
Shorter, lighter and less painful periods
Reversible after stopping
May help with acne

Disadvantages

May have irregular bleeding, usually improves over time
Must remember to take daily
Must have an appointment with healthcare provider
More info at bedsider.org

THE PATCH

The patch is a thin, beige piece of plastic that looks like a square Band-Aid. You stick it on your skin and it releases 2 hormones, estrogen and progestin, that keep your ovaries from releasing an egg. You put the patch on for a week and then change it weekly for 3 weeks. On the 4th week you go patch-free. You will need a prescription from your healthcare provider.

Advantages

91% effective
Shorter, lighter and less painful periods
Reversible after stopping
May help with acne

Disadvantages

Slightly noticeable
May have break-through spotting in the beginning
Must remember to change every week
Cannot use if you weigh >198 lbs
Need an appointment with a healthcare provider
More info at bedsider.org

THE RING

The ring is a small, bendy plastic ring that you insert into your vagina. It contains 2 hormones, estrogen and progestin, which prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs. You place the ring into the vagina and it stays in place for 3 weeks. You take it out on the 4th week to have your period.

Advantages

Good for 1 month
91% effective
Shorter, lighter and less painful periods
Reversible after stopping
May help with acne

Disadvantages

May have break-through spotting in the beginning but usually improves over time
Remember to change every month
Need an appointment with a healthcare provider
More info at bedsider.org

CONDOMS

Condoms are one of the most popular forms of birth control out there. They're usually made out of latex and slip over a guy's penis to prevent sperm from getting into the vagina. There are also female condoms, which are inserted into the vagina. Condoms prevent pregnancy and lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections, but they have to be used every time you have sex, from start to finish.

Advantages

82% effective
Helps protect against most STIs
Easy to acquire
Do not need a prescription or doctor's appointment
Inexpensive
Only need to use when sexually active

Disadvantages

Must use from start to finish every time you have sex
Must be put on correctly
Possible irritation or allergy
More info at bedsider.org

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