So you are considering going on birth control. That’s great, but there are so many birth control options today that it could be overwhelming to find which one is the right one. Of course your health history should come into play when considering your options, but you should also consider your lifestyle.
Are you very athletic? Do you have many sex partners? Are you on a budget? How long exactly do you want to put off having a kid? Don’t stress out because we have broken down your options considering these very things.
The nonexclusive lady: take the pill and use condoms
Are you at a certain time in your life where you have more than one sex partner? No worries! Dr. Margarita Aponte MD, gynecology fellow at NYU, suggests condoms with a back up birth control like the pill. This way you are protecting yourself from STDs that your partners may have and pregnancy. Dr. Aponte also recommends that women who are not in a stable relationship shouldn’t use the IUD.
The IUD is a “T shaped” device that is inserted into the uterus. “IUD is very convenient (5 or 10 year one), although as any of them do, it has side effects but it is very effective and overall safe. Problem is if you get an STD you might have a higher risk of a significant infection like pelvic inflammatory disease so I would not recommend it,” said Dr. Aponte.
The too-young-for-motherhood lady: meet the implant or IUD
Do you have goals like school, traveling, or a career that just doesn’t match up with you being a mother anytime soon? Then you should look into the birth control implant. It costs between $400 – $800, but it lasts up to three years. According to Planned Parenthood the implant is one of the most effective birth control methods with less than 1 woman getting pregnant per 100 women every year.
Dr. Aponte also recommends other long lasting birth control like the Mirena (IUD) which lasts for 5 years, and the ParaGuard (IUD) that lasts for 10 years. Both can be inserted into the uterus and are considered as effective as the implant. An IUD may costs between $500 – $1,000. This method of contraception is recommended for women who have already had children.
Please note that the shot, implant, and IUD will not protect you from HIV or STDs so you should also use condoms.
The lady on a budget: pick generic birth control pills and condoms
Even if you have health insurance, birth control isn’t cheap. To bring down the price you should ask your doctor or pharmacist for a generic brand. Sometimes you will find that generic brands can be nearly 30 percent less and still have the same efficacy. Another affordable option is to pick up free condoms from your local Planned Parenthood.
“Planned Parenthood has many programs and payment options to give women access to other methods of birth control,” says Dr. Aponte. According to the organization’s website, some Planned Parenthood health centers charge according to income and accepts health insurance.
The athletic lady: choose the NuvaRing, pill, or IUD
Sometimes weight gain can be an issue when you go on birth control, but Dr. Aponte assures that there are still many options for women who are sporty. “Not sure I would recommend one over the other except maybe some concern with weight gain with Depo-Provera (the birth control shot), and I guess if they are overly athletic concern for bone loss as well with Depo. Otherwise they can use the pill, the NuvaRing, which you can change every month, or the IUD,” advises Dr. Aponte.
NuvaRing is as effective as the pill, shot, or patch. You place the ring in your vagina and it lasts up to three weeks and costs between $15 – $80 a month.
Please note that the NuvaRing or pill will not protect you from HIV or STDs so you should also use condoms.
It just goes to show that birth control isn’t just one size fits all. It’s great to look at your lifestyle when making the big decision, but remember to disclose your full health history to your physician when choosing your contraceptive method.