What birth control methods are available?
Different birth control methods work in different ways. Your doctor will help you decide which option best suits your needs.
Hormonal methods and intrauterine devices
- Hormone injections: Such as Depo-Provera.
- Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC): Examples include copper and progestin intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control implants such as Nexplanon. These are the most effective birth control options.
- Oral contraceptives: Such as birth control pills. Medications, including antibiotics and epilepsy drugs, can reduce the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Talk to your doctor when prescribed additional medications.
- Other hormone delivery methods: These include vaginal rings and skin patches.
These options are available if you have completed family planning or are certain you do not want a future pregnancy:
- Essure: For this method, a small, two flexible devices are inserted through the vagina into both fallopian tubes. The micro-inserts stimulate scar tissue to grow and block the tubes, preventing sperm from reaching the eggs. The procedure takes about 35 minutes and is done under general anesthetic in an ambulatory surgery center. It does not require incisions or punctures to the body, but it takes about three months for the scar tissue to completely block the tube.
- This incision-free hysteroscopy procedure prevents pregnancy by blocking the fallopian tubes, which keeps sperm from reaching the eggs.
- Minimally invasive surgical sterilization: This includes tubal ligation using clips, rings, cautery, or sutures.
- Vasectomy: Our urology team performs this male surgical sterilization as an outpatient procedure. We use local anesthetic and clip the tube that carries sperm from the testes.
What happens when I stop birth control?
Non-sterilization birth control methods do not harm fertility. Pregnancy rates are the same at 12 months and at 18 months after stopping use of Depo-Provera, oral contraceptives, IUDs, Nexplanon, and condoms.
- Oral contraceptives: When you stop taking birth control pills, it takes about four to 12 weeks from the last “pill-induced” bleeding until you will have your first “spontaneous” menstrual period. So it’s normal to be “late” in the first cycle off birth control pills.
- IUD and birth control implants: Similar to when you stop using oral contraception, it can take four to 12 weeks to have your first “spontaneous” menstrual period.
- Depo-Provera: This contraceptive shot is administered every 12 weeks. After 14 weeks, you will begin to have “escape” ovulations. Studies indicate you likely will resume ovulation and normal fertility five months after the last injection.
If you stop birth control to become pregnant:
- Begin taking a daily multivitamin with a minimum of 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of folic acid or a prenatal vitamin. We recommend this for all women who want to become pregnant, not just those who have been using birth control.
- Use barrier contraception (such as condoms) from the time oral contraceptives are stopped or the IUD is removed until your second spontaneous menstrual period.