• Grace Health

Which Contraceptive Method Is Best For You?

Updated: Sep 12

Every day we are faced with different decisions to make. This could be with the small things like what time to wake up, what to eat for breakfast or what route to take in your morning commute, to more serious ones like which birth control should you use. With so much information out there, some of which may not always be true, we understand how difficult it could be to make up your mind on something like this especially with no reliable source to get this information from.


Lucky for you, Grace is here to help break down the various contraceptive options and help you pick the right one for you. However, before we begin to unpack everything, please read The Graceful Guide To Contraceptives to learn about all the different types in detail.


Next, lets' get right into it.





How does birth control work?

There are quite a number of contraceptive methods to choose from. In fact, the more you read and research the more you discover other different methods and they all work differently.


But they can all be classified into these types:

  1. Long-acting contraceptives - For women who might want to get pregnant in the future but also want long-term protection. These methods are reversible, meaning: the moment you wish to conceive, a doctor or nurse can remove them, and your body should return to its usual “fertile state”. Our bodies are all unique, and ovulation may return quicker for one woman than another.

  2. Short-acting contraceptives - They are effective in preventing unplanned pregnancies if taken correctly, as the method requires you to be regular. For example, taking daily pills every day at the same time.

  3. Barrier methods - These are hormone-free and one of the most effective, cheapest and safest options available. They not only prevent pregnancy, but they also protect partners from contracting STDs/STIs (sexually transmitted diseases/infections).

  4. Emergency type - These are hormone-heavy pills that work by temporarily stopping or delaying ovulation - being most effective when taken within 12-24 hours after unprotected sex.


Where should you start?

The key to making the right decision always starts by asking yourself “What is the most important thing to me?” For some, it could be little to no side effects others might prioritize how fast it takes to work or how quickly it can be reversed.

Other questions you should ask yourself include:

  • Do you want children in the future? How soon?

  • How reliable do you need your birth control to be?

  • What are the potential side effects of the methods you’re considering?

  • Do you want your birth control to reduce sexually transmitted infection (STI) transmission risk, too?

  • Do you have any health conditions that would impact the safety of certain forms of birth control?


What are the pros and cons?

After asking yourself these questions, you’ll need to compare and contrast the different birth control methods based on your personal preferences. Remember it is possible to use some of them together for additional protection.

Let us look at the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular ones'


Injection

It’s a shot of hormones either in the muscle or under the skin provided by your healthcare provider after every 3 months.


Pros

  • It can reduce heavy and painful periods for some women.

  • It has a 91% success rate

  • Effects disappear naturally after you stop taking the shot

Cons

  • Requires a doctor’s visit for the injection four times a year.

  • Getting pregnant immediately may be challenging as ovulation may take some time to return

  • Not recommended for those under 18 years

  • No STI protection


IUD (intrauterine device)

It’s a hormone-free small copper device that is placed inside your womb. A good birth control option for women who want to take action and not think about it again for a while. IUDs work by making it nearly impossible for the sperm to reach the egg


Pros

  • It has a 99% success rate

  • Lasts for 5 -10 yrs without needing to be replaced

  • Can be used while breastfeeding

  • Hormonal IUDs may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer and make periods lighter or even nonexistent (copper IUDs do not have that benefit).

Cons

  • Must be inserted and removed by a healthcare provider.

  • Requires a pelvic exam before insertion.

  • Insertion may be uncomfortable or even painful.

  • Risk of perforating your uterus during insertion (though, that occurs in 1 of 1,000 women).

  • Unpredictable spotting for several months after insertion.

  • No STI protection


Hormonal Implant

It’s placed under the skin of your upper arm to deliver a constant supply of pregnancy-preventing hormones into your bloodstream.


Pros

  • 99% success rate

  • Lasts for 3-5 years without removal

  • It can reduce heavy and painful periods for some women

  • Inserted during a quick in-office procedure

  • No pelvic exam required

Cons

  • If you wish to get pregnant immediately after it may take some time for ovulation to return

  • Like the IUDs, it may cause unpredictable spotting

  • No STI protection


Daily pill

If taken every day, it temporarily stops ovulation from taking place.


Pros

  • 92% success rate

  • It can reduce heavy and painful periods for some women

  • It doesn’t have to be inserted or implanted

Cons

  • It must be taken every single day at the same time whether or not you had sex or the effectiveness goes down

  • Not recommended for smokers, or if you have diabetes or high blood pressure.

  • Not recommended for women over 35 years of age

  • Not recommended for those with breast cancer, stroke, thrombosis, or liver disease in the family.

  • No STI protection


Condoms

It serves as a barrier that prevents sperm from entering your uterus after ejaculation.


Pros

  • 99% success rate

  • The only contraceptive method with STI protection

  • It has no impact on your menstrual cycle

  • Can be used with other birth control methods for STD protection and improved prevention of pregnancy

Cons

  • Condoms can sometimes break during sex

  • Some people are allergic to latex and should instead opt for polyurethane types

  • Can’t mix latex condoms with oil-based lube


Day-after pill

Only suitable for emergencies and carries a large dose of hormones. They help prevent pregnancy if you've had unprotected sex — either because you didn't use birth control, you missed a birth control pill, you were sexually assaulted or your method of birth control failed.


Pros

  • It can be bought in advance so that you always have it on hand if you need it.

  • Only requires one single dose

Cons

  • 85% success rate

  • No STI protection

  • If taken regularly it can affect your period and fertility

  • Not recommended if you’ve had sex longer than 24hrs before

  • If you vomit within 3 hrs of taking the pill, you will need to take another dose.

  • It may delay your period by up to one week. If you don't get your period within three to four weeks of taking the morning-after pill, take a pregnancy test.


What do you need to do next?

Talk to your doctor. Know that you are informed about the options that exist, book an appointment with your doctor and discuss your preferences. Your doctor should be able to advise you further based on your age, medical history, lifestyle and so on.


In conclusion

Ain’t it great to have options? The best part is you now know how they work and what to look for. There are no bad options, it just depends on your priorities, preferences, lifestyle and concerns. If you still have questions just Ask Grace in the app.

Stay informed, stay in control

Do you have an idea of what contraceptive method to choose? Click here to download the Grace Health app

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