Who Needs Birth Control?
The short answer: everyone. Whether you're single or married, straight or gay, young or old, birth control and family planning are important for anyone who doesn't want to have children right now.
So what happens when you want to start a family? What if you're not ready yet? Birth control can help you avoid pregnancy until you're ready to start a family. It also helps prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) by reducing the number of sexual partners and limiting exposure to infected people.
Okay, so you know that you that you need birth control – but which kind is the best for you and your needs? Let’s look at the different options available at most healthcare providers offices:
Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs)
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants such as Nexplanon and Implanon are examples of long-acting reversible contraceptives.
This kind of birth control is inserted by your healthcare provider either into the opening of the uterus (cervix) or in the arm. Depending on the method and brand, long lasting reversible contraceptives can last anywhere from 3-10 years. This method of birth control could be beneficial if you do not want to worry about having to remember your birth control every day or every month.
Short Acting Hormonal Methods
The pill, mini pills, patch, shot, and vaginal ring are all examples of short acting hormonal methods.
This kind of birth control is prescribed by your provider and is taken every day or month, with the exception of the shot, which is administered by your provider every three months. This method of birth control could be beneficial if you are good with routines and feel that you will remember your birth control every day or every month.
Condoms, diaphragms, sponges and cervical caps are examples of barrier birth control.
This kind of birth control is used every time you have sex.
This method is the only one to prevent STIs, including HIV.
Female and Male Sterilization
This method of birth control will prevent pregnancy for the rest of your life through surgery or medical procedure.
Before choosing a birth control method, talk to your provider about:
Whether you want to get pregnant soon, in a few years, or never
How well each method works to prevent pregnancy
Possible side effects
The number of sexual partners you have
Your overall health
How comfortable you are with using the method (ex. Do you feel like you can remember to take a pill every day?)
If you are concerned with costs associated with birth control, there are options for free/low-cost birth control available. Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans cover FDA approved prescription birth control methods such as the pill, IUDs and sterilization at no additional cost to you. If you have insurance, check with your insurance provider to find out what is included in your plan. If you receive state aid (Medicaid), your birth control is covered. If you do not have insurance, some healthcare centers can help with the cost or help you apply for state aid/insurance.