More than half of all pregnancies in America are unplanned, meaning women may get pregnant without being prepared. If you are sexually active and not ready to get pregnant, you may discuss with Ms. Valerie Calzada San Antonio the following hormonal birth control methods.
Birth control pills
The combined pill is an oral contraceptive that contains a combination of estrogen and progestin. These two hormones reduce the risk of pregnancy by preventing ovulation and keeping the uterus thin. They also thicken cervical mucus, hindering sperm penetration. Besides reducing the risk of pregnancy, the pill is associated with various benefits, including making menstrual bleeding more regular, with a lighter and shorter flow.
When taken properly, the pill is a highly effective birth control method, but skipping or forgetting to take the pill increases the risk of pregnancy; this is one major downside. Like most hormonal contraceptives, the pill may cause side effects like mood changes, breast tenderness, bloating, and irregular bleeding. All these typically improve within two to three months of taking the pill.
If you can’t take estrogen due to health problems, your doctor may recommend progestin-only pills. Mini pills or progestin-only pills are an option for breastfeeding mothers and women with worsened high blood pressure or migraines with the combined contraceptive pill. These pills appear to be as effective as the combined pill but have a slightly higher failure rate when you take them three hours later than the scheduled time. Common side effects of progestin-only pills include spotting or breakthrough bleeding.
Vaginal rings are made of flexible plastic, and as the name suggests, the ring is inserted into the vagina. The ring contains estrogen and progestin hormones that are gradually absorbed into the body. It works like the combined pill by preventing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus, and keeping the uterine walls thin. It is safe to use a vaginal ring anytime during your menstrual cycle. But if you start using it more than seven days after your periods, you should use a backup contraception method. The ring stays in your vagina for three weeks, then you leave it out for one week, during which you’ll experience bleeding. You can insert a new ring or reuse the previous one depending on the ring you are using.
The implant is a small rod containing the hormone progestin; healthcare providers insert it beneath the skin in your upper arm. It can prevent pregnancy for up to three years, but your doctor can remove it earlier if you want to get pregnant or prefer to discontinue its use. Fertility returns rapidly once your provider removes the rod. The insertion is a minimally invasive process that can be done in a clinic or your doctor’s office. You may or may not need to use a backup birth control depending on when during the menstrual cycle you got the implant. The implants are among the most effective and convenient contraceptives. Common side effects of the implant include unpredictable or irregular bleeding.
Book an appointment with your provider at LUNA MED SPA & WASHINGTON OB-GYN, P.A., to establish the right birth control method.