A Mom’s Guide to Birth Control

If you’re sure that you don’t want to be pregnant — or father a child — at any point in the future, you may consider sterilization.

For men, vasectomy is the only option for sterilization. During this straightforward surgery, the tubes that carry sperm into the semen are cut and sealed. After a successful vasectomy, a man isn’t able to father a child.

Women may be able to choose from several sterilization options, including tubal ligation — a surgical procedure — and the Essure and Adiana systems, both of which permanently block the fallopian tubes.

Sterilization is an effective method of birth control. The decision to pursue sterilization must be taken seriously, however. Although reversal is sometimes possible after vasectomy or tubal ligation, sterilization of any type is considered permanent.

Vaginal Contraceptive Ring

What is it?
• It is a flexible ring that is about 2 inches around.
• You put it into the vagina and it releases hormones
  (progestin and estrogen) to stop the ovaries from
  releasing eggs in most women.
• It also thickens the cervical mucus, which keeps the sperm
  from joining with the egg.

How do I use it?
• You put the ring into the vagina yourself.
• You need to keep the ring in your vagina for 3 weeks, then
  take it out for 1 week.
• If the ring falls out and stays out for more than 3 hours,
  you need to use another kind of birth control method until
  the ring has been used for 7 days in a row.

How do I get it?
• You need a prescription.

Possibility of getting pregnant
(Number of pregnancies expected per 100 women who use this method for one year)
• Out of 100 women who use this method, about 5 may get pregnant.

Some Risks
• Vaginal discharge, swelling of the vagina, and irritation.
• Other risks are similar to oral contraceptives (combined pill).

Does it protect me from sexually transmitted infections (STIs)? No.

Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception helps prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Emergency contraception isn’t meant to be used in place of routine birth control — but it’s an option if you’ve had unprotected sex, your method of birth control failed or you missed a birth control pill.

To be effective, emergency contraception must be used as soon as possible after unprotected sex. You may be able to choose from several types of emergency contraception. Many women opt for Next Choice, Plan B One-Step or Ella, also known as the morning-after pill. It’s also possible to use combination birth control pills or ParaGard — an intrauterine device — for emergency contraception. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, emergency contraception can prevent or delay ovulation, block fertilization or keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.


FDA Office of Women’s Healt

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