Birth control (contraception) is used to control the number of children people have by preventing or lessening the frequency of conception. There are numerous forms of birth control, and it's important to understand all your options—and their pluses and minuses—before you choose the right method for you.
Learning About Contraceptives
Learning about birth control pills
Although women are grateful for this relatively simple and reliable form of contraception, most of them readily admit that they don't know much about how oral contraceptives actually work.
Condoms come in many shapes, flavors, and sizes. Regardless of these differences, there are only three varieties of material used for condoms—latex rubber, lambskin, and polyurethane. Find out which kind is the best, and learn tips on using this contraceptive choice.
The vaginal ring: an alternative to birth control pills
Like birth control pills, the vaginal ring is 98% to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, though it’s effectiveness decreases if used improperly. Learn more about the ring's advantages, disadvantages, and precautions.
Expand your contraceptive options: consider the IUD
"The IUD (intrauterine device) has been around a long time," says Diana Cheng, MD, a gynecologist with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, "but it's a very underutilized method…It's effective for ten years [and it's] so simple." Learn more about this option.
A less invasive sterilization option for women
In November 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first method of permanent sterilization for women that does not involve invasive surgery—a device called Essure. Essure is a small metallic implant that is placed into a woman’s fallopian tubes. Unlike other sterilization procedures for women, no incision or general anesthesia is required.