There are a lot of birth control methods to choose from, which is good news if you’re looking to get on birth control for the first time or to switch to a new method. But where should you start?
(If you’re already taking the pill or have an IUD, add it to your Ovia profile!)
Start with your priorities
Everyone has different preferences – and what’s important to one person might be less important to another.
Some people gravitate toward options that they don’t have to think much about, or toward those that are easy to use. Some want help managing period symptoms. Some want a method that’s highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Some want a long-lasting option, while others are looking for shorter term use.
To work through all of these considerations, you might find that it’s helpful to narrow your focus by considering each question when thinking about the right birth control method for you.
Choosing a birth control method? Ask yourself these questions before making the decision
- How effective is it at preventing pregnancy?
- How convenient is it — do you have to take it every day or can you think about it less frequently?
- How easy is it to use the right way?
- How long-lasting is it?
- How affordable is it?
- How will it affect your period and cycle health?
- What kind of benefits or side effects might you expect — with your health history and other health concerns taken into account?
- Does it protect against STDs?
- Is it discrete?
- Will using it interrupt intercourse?
- How soon can you potentially get pregnant after you stop using it?
- Do you need a healthcare provider to get it?
Given the range of options available, even if you have a lot of specifics that are important to you, chances are you can still find a method that will meet all or most of your preferences.
Talk to your provider
Some birth control methods are available over the counter, but many need to be prescribed. To consider all of your options, have a medical professional walk you through which ones could be best for you. They’ll be able to consider your medical history, your general health, your period and cycle health, your past experience with birth control, your lifestyle, your plans to have children, and your preferences. It will also give you a chance to learn more about your options from a medical professional and ask questions.
Try, try again
Once you decide on a method of birth control, if it turns out that it’s not a good fit, you should reconsider your options. The same is true if you’ve tried birth control in the past that you didn’t like. And sometimes what works for you at one stage in your life just isn’t a good fit for you later on. If you’re frustrated with the method you’re using, or if you just want to try something new, there are an encouraging number of options. A healthcare provider can help you figure out what didn’t work out for you, reassess your wants and needs, and recommend what might be a better choice.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team
Read more about birth control methods
- “Birth control methods.” Office on Women’s Health.” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, April 24 2017. Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/birth-control-methods.
- “Choose the Right Birth Control.” MyHealthfinder. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, February 5 2020. Retrieved March 31 2020. https://health.gov/myhealthfinder/topics/everyday-healthy-living/sexual-health/choose-right-birth-control.
- “What do I need to know about birth control?” Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood. Retrieved March 31 2020. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/preventing-pregnancy-stds/what-do-i-need-know-about-birth-control.