Birth Control Methods: Which is right for you? – Kelby

Different option of birth control post Roe v. Wade
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birth control

By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kelby Hutchison

After the overturning of Roe v. Wade on June 24 abortion is no longer federally protected and now falls to the states to enact their own laws. 

Now, people are scrambling to ensure they don’t become pregnant in states that no longer offer abortion except for medical complications.

Here are some forms of birth control that are available either over the counter or by prescription that can lower the chance of pregnancy if taken correctly. 

Temporary options

Birth control pill

The birth control pill is the second most widely used form of birth control among women ages 15 to 49 within the United States, based on a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in December 2018. When taken correctly, birth control pills have a 99% effectiveness rate. The average failure rate is about 7%, according to the CDC.


The birth control implant is 99% effective and can last up to five years. The device is typically inserted inside the arm under the skin.

Condoms (Male/External)

Condoms are 98% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies. When stored properly, checked properly and worn correctly and throughout the entirety of vaginal intercourse, condoms are one of the more effective forms of birth control.

Condoms also help lower the possibility of STIs and STDs for all partners. 

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

IUDs are 99% effective in preventing pregnancies and come in medicated and non-medicated options.

The device must be implanted by a doctor and some, such as Paragard, can last up to 12 years in preventing pregnancy.

IUDs are not without risks, such as ectopic pregnancy or other potential issues.

Contraceptive Ring

The contraceptive ring is a form of birth control that releases hormones like estrogen and progestin to stop the joining of sperm and eggs.

The contraceptive ring is inserted into the vagina and typically lasts one year with cycles of inserting the ring for three weeks and then removing the ring for a week.

With perfect use the contraceptive ring is 99% effective. However, with some imperfect use the ring is approximately 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Diaphragm/Uterine cap

Diaphragms are an older form of birth control that lost popularity when birth control pills and other forms of birth control became widely available.

Diaphragms are available by prescription and must be fitted to each individual.

When fitted correctly and used in conjunction with spermicide, diaphragms can be 96% effective in preventing pregnancy. 


The patch is a form of birth control that is worn once a week for three weeks and then not worn during the fourth week to allow for regular periods.

It is worn for a total of 21 days a year. When used correctly, the patch is 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.


Spermicide is a gel-like substance that can be inserted into the vagina and helps lower pregnancy rates by damaging or killing sperm and not allowing them to reach and fertilize an egg.

When used by itself spermicide is 79% effective. However, when used in conjunction with condoms or diaphragms the chance of pregnancy decreases more.

Some condoms contain spermicidal lubricant which is typically marked on the box. 

Withdrawal Method (“Pull out” Method)

The Withdrawal method is an unreliable form of birth control and 1 in 5 couples who use this method for a year may become pregnant. This method cannot protect against the possibility of premature ejaculation nor does it protect against STDs. 

10.  Abstinence

Not having sex is 100% effective against pregnancy, but many people who are abstinent may still use some form of birth control to treat symptoms or issues.

Some of the most common are using birth control pills to help with symptoms of endometriosis or PCOS, reduce acne or help maintain a regular menstrual cycle.

Permanent Options:


Vasectomies are over 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and can possibly be reversible with a 60-75% success rate if done within the first 10 years of the initial procedure according to Dr. Puneet Masson at Penn Medicine.

Tubal Ligation

Tubal Ligation is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. In this process the Fallopian tubes that act as pathways for the sperm to the egg are cut and block this pathway. This can possibly be reversible in some instances with 50-80% of women being able to become pregnant after the reversal surgery.

Emergency Options:

Levonorgestrel Emergency Contraceptive pills (“Morning After” pills)

The Levonorgestrel morning after pills include Plan B One Step, My Choice, Preventeza, etc. These pills are 75-89% effective when taken when taken with 72 hours of unprotected sex. These pills are available over the counter and can be bought without a prescription.

Ella Morning After Pill 

The Ella morning after pill is 85% effective when taken within 5 days of unprotected sex. It is more effective than Plan B but requires a prescription in order to obtain. You can obtain Ella by making an appointment with a doctor.

Dr. Leah Torres MD, OB/GYN, and Director of Patient Care and Programs at the West Alabama Womens Center said the most effective form of birth control other than abstinence is sterilization, but it is a permanent option. The most effective form of reversible birth control is an IUDs or the implant, which are both over 99% effective, Torres said.

The West Alabama Women’s Center has the birth control pills Sprintec and Jasmiel, the birth control shot Depo-Provera, and the Liletta IUD, which can last for up to six years, Torres said.

Torres said there are other benefits that birth control methods offer other than preventing pregnancy. The birth control pill can help prevent migraines caused prior to the menstrual cycle. Methods such as the Depo shot and IUDs can help alleviate heavy menstrual cycle bleeding in some instances.

Torres said some of these birth control methods can be used in conjunction with other forms of birth control to help further decrease the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy.

“You can do the birth control pill and spermicide, you can do spermicide and a condom, you can do the Depo with fertility awareness or calendar method, ” said Torres.

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