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How to Choose the Right Contraceptive for You

How to Choose the Right Contraceptive for You

There are many types of birth control. If you're undecided about which to use to prevent pregnancy, seek the advice of a medical professional.

You may be surprised to learn that there is not one best kind of contraceptive. In fact, different kinds of birth control are right for different women. Which is the right contraceptive for you? We can help you make that choice. 

At Westover Hills Women’s Health, board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, and our team of caring providers work with you to select the birth control method that best fits your goals, health, and lifestyle.

Read on to learn some of the factors to take into account when considering your options.

When, if ever, do you want to get pregnant?

Some birth control methods, such as condoms, hormone-based pills, sponges, cervical caps, and diaphragms, offer short-term pregnancy protection. Others, including the intrauterine device (IUD) and the implantable rod, prevent pregnancy for several years.

If you're planning on having a baby in the not-too-distant future, a shorter-acting birth control method may make more sense than an implantable device. But if you’re postponing pregnancy for years, long-term protection may work best for you.

Couples who have completed their families may want to consider permanent birth control, such as a vasectomy for the man or tubal ligation for the woman.

What side effects can you tolerate?

Hormone-based birth control may cause headaches, weight gain, breast soreness, and other side effects. If any of these are a game-changer for you, alternate methods might be better.

Similarly, certain factors may make some types of birth control unsafe for you. For example, hormone-based birth control can raise the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attack, so it’s not recommended for smokers or people with some preexisting heart problems.

On the flip side, hormonal birth control might help make your periods easier to deal with if you have endometriosis, fibroids, or some other conditions that cause heavy bleeding or cramping.

Do you need protection for sexually transmitted infections?

Hormone-based contraceptives, IUDs, implantable rods, and birth control injections provide very good pregnancy prevention. But they don't protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as syphilis, hepatitis B, and HIV.

If you or your partner is at risk for STDs, you can protect yourself by using condoms alone or with other types of birth control.

How's your memory?

Birth control pills, condoms, diaphragms, and sponges only work if you use them. If you're not good at taking pills or remembering to use barrier methods, you might be better with an implant, injection, IUD, or other get-it-and-forget-it type of contraception.

Make the right choice

Let us help you with birth control and all of your family-planning needs. To schedule a visit at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool to book an appointment.

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