Picking the right birth control option is a huge part of women’s health, but with dozens of options available, it can be a difficult choice to make. Decades of misinformation and rumors about the negative effects of birth control don’t make the decision any easier.
Before your next doctor’s appointment, follow these three steps to take your sexual health into your own hands.
Learn about your options
When we hear the words “birth control,” most of us think of the pill as our only option. However, young women today have a lot more (and a lot more reliable) options than our mothers and grandmothers had. Besides the pill, women today also have access to the birth control implant, the birth control patch, the Depo-Provera shot, NuvaRing, and intrauterine devices (IUDs).
While these options do not prevent STDs and should still be used with condoms, they are all upwards of 90% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Each option does come with its own list of risks and side effects, but taking the time to research and learn about each option can ensure that you are making the decision that you feel is safest and most effective.
Pick one that fits your lifestyle
For many women, the deciding factor in choosing their birth control comes down to one thing–convenience. The pill might seem like the easiest option, but taking a pill every night can be hard to remember, especially with irregular work shifts or a busy college life. Not only that, but it can be hard remembering to stop by the pharmacy once a month to pick up a new pack.
Options like an implantation or IUD can last anywhere from three to 12 years and the birth control shot only has to be injected once every three months. Picking one of these longer lasting options can help make your life a lot less hectic and reduce room for human error that could potentially lead to an unwanted pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor
One of the biggest mistakes women make when choosing their birth control is not having an open conversation with their doctor. While it might seem awkward or intimidating at first, talking to your doctor is the best way to have all of your concerns and questions answered in one shot. They will be able to tell you better than any Internet chatroom if there is a link between your birth control option and cancer or how often IUDs implant in the uterus.
Your doctor will also be able to help you determine the costs of each option and help you figure out which types of birth control fit into your budget.
Above all, it is important to remember that picking a birth control option is a decision that only you can make. Taking the time to learn about all of your options and figuring out which ones fit your lifestyle is the only way to ensure that you are making the best decision for you.