Choosing A Method That Works For Me

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Choosing a birth control method is an important decision. Some of the things you might want to consider when choosing a method are:

Personal considerations
Effectiveness
Safety
Cost
Benefits
Personal Considerations
The best birth control method is the one that fits with your goals, values, preferences, and lifestyle. What matters most to a person when considering a birth control method will naturally change over time.

If you are considering using a birth control method, take a minute and ask yourself the following questions:

Have I had problems or become pregnant using this method before?
Will I have trouble remembering to use this method?
Am I opposed to using this method because of any religious or moral beliefs?
Is my partner opposed to this method?
If I use this method, am I at risk of being exposed to HIV (the AIDS virus) or other sexually transmitted diseases?
Will using this method embarrass me?
Will this method embarrass my partner?
Will I have trouble using this method correctly?
If this method interrupts love making, will I avoid using it?
Am I taking this method without my partner's knowledge?
Am I afraid of using this method?
Do I still have unanswered questions about this method?
Most people will answer "yes" to a few of these questions but in general, if you had a lot of "yes" answers you may be less likely to use this method correctly every time you have sex. Talk to a health care provider to help you decide whether to use this method or how to use it so that it will be effective for you.

Because no birth control method (except abstinence) is 100% effective, there are other questions you might want to explore:

How would I cope with an unwanted pregnancy?
What are my feelings and beliefs about being a parent? Does my partner agree?
What are my feelings and beliefs about abortion? Does my partner agree?
What are my feelings and beliefs about adoption? Does my partner agree?
How would my partner cope with an unwanted pregnancy?
Effectiveness: "Will It Work?"
In considering a method of birth control, most people want to know how well the method works to prevent pregnancy. It's important to know that ALL of the methods available to you at a family planning clinic, when used correctly every time you have sex, are very effective in preventing pregnancy.

When you're looking at information about a method, you may notice that effectiveness is sometimes listed two different ways: "perfect use" and "typical use."

The effectiveness rates you see after the words "perfect use" are for a couple which uses the method correctly every time the couple has sexual intercourse.

The effectiveness rates you see after the words "typical use" are for the average couple which does not use the method every time or uses it incorrectly.

Safety: Will it Hurt Me?"
In general, all birth control methods are very safe. When choosing a method, a man or woman might be concerned about major health risks, protecting their ability to have children in the future, and side effects. To protect your health:

Read all of the patient information provided with the method you're interested in
Talk to your health care provider to get the most current information about the risks and benefits of the method. Make sure to tell your provider about any information you've heard or read that worries you.
Cost: "How much will I have to pay?"
The cost of a birth control method is an important consideration for many people. Private insurance companies vary a great deal in their coverage of birth control methods although almost all will pay for surgical sterilization (vasectomy or tubal ligation). Public Health Family Planning Clinics offer low or no-cost services. Call the clinic nearest you if you have a question about cost.

Benefits: "What's good about the method?"
Preventing pregnancy is an obvious benefit of using birth control but many methods have other benefits you might not know about. These benefits might not be the main reason you decide on a method, but they might help you decide between two or more suitable methods.

Benefit
Method(s)
Decreased menstrual pain and bleeding

birth control pills, Depo Provera, Norplant
Reduced risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
birth control pills, Depo Provera, Norplant
Reduces acne
birth control pills
Delays premature
ejaculation
male condoms

Prevention of ovarian cysts
birth control pills
Increased milk supply for breast feeding women
Depo Provera

Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV
Male and female condoms, abstinence

 
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