Birth control is key for those looking to prevent or delay pregnancy, whether for personal reasons, health reasons, or not wanting to have children yet (or ever). It is important to look at science-based facts when choosing the most effective type.
1. Condoms: An oldie but a goldie, condoms are the only type of birth control that both protect against pregnancy and STDs. They are key to be used in sexual activity even if one uses another type of birth control, which is why this is at the top of the list despite being only 82% effective based on CDC data of typical use.
2. Implant: The implant is as high as 99.95% effective. It is placed by a medical professional and then can be used for up to 5 years. The implant is placed into the arm, underneath the skin.
3. Sterilization: Both male and female sterilization are possible, meaning that both genders can take their reproductive abilities in their hands. These are the most effective methods due in part to the fact that they require no continual follow up to prevent pregnancy. Male sterilization is 99.85% effective and female sterilization is 95.5% effective.
4. IUD: There are two main types of IUDs, or Intrauterine Devices, that are placed into the uterus. There are Copper (non-hormonal) IUDs and Hormonal IUDs. IUDs are effective because they only have to be replaced every 3-10 years, depending on the type. Hormonal types are as effective as 99.8% and Copper as much as 99.2%.
5. Shot: Also known as injectables, the shots are 94% effective but must be repeated regularly. The shot is usually given once every 3 months. The shot is generally given at a medical office, but can sometimes be taken home to allow one to inject one’s self.
6. Pill: The birth control pill is stable and 91% effective. The downside of these is that they must be administered at home and at the same time every day to be effective.
7. Patch: The patch must be kept in place and changed on time, but is 91% effective. The patch is placed on the body once a week before it is changed for another. It is stuck on a clean, dry place on one’s belly, buttocks, back, or upper outer arm, depending on personal preference.
Whichever birth control you chose, make sure it is right for you and highly effective!