When discussing birth control, the options and methods can seem daunting and overwhelming. Birth control, family planning, and preventing unplanned pregnancies all fall into the same category of desires/needs a woman may have; however, there are many different methods to achieve this goal.
Manhattan Women’s Health & Wellness provides comprehensive Obstetrics & Gynecology care to women of all ages in New York City. Our ob-gyn clinic offers a full range of gynecology services, including annual check-ups and routine pap smears, as well as contraception counseling and GYN procedures, which can be performed in our office or in the hospital. Our cutting-edge NYC gynecology facility is outfitted with the most advanced ob-gyn equipment.
Types of Birth Control
Several different categories of birth control exist. However, we can split them up into two broad categories – Hormonal and non-hormonal. Depending on your specific needs and health history, your gynecologist, Dr. Mariz, will recommend an appropriate method for contraception.
Hormonal Contraception usually involves manipulating or adding estrogen or progesterone to the body to prevent pregnancy. The combination or even just one of the hormones alone generally always affects menstrual bleeding to some extent. With any hormonal contraception, you can expect changes in how you bleed, with the potential risk of spotting or bleeding while not on your period. Lesser experienced side effects can include headaches, nausea, weight gain/loss, acne, breast tenderness, and mood changes.
- Birth control pills are likely the most well-known of birth control methods. There are hundreds of birth control pills, but they generally include estrogen and progesterone or progesterone alone. These pills typically suppress the ovaries and cause you not to ovulate, thus prohibiting pregnancy. There are some critical contraindications you and your gynecologist should discuss before taking these, however. Things your gynecologist will consider may include but are not limited to a recent pregnancy, history of tobacco use, age, medications you are currently on, past medical history, history of blood clots in your lungs or legs, and even potentially migraines.
- Depo Provera, an injectable form of birth control containing one hormone called progesterone. This injection is performed once every three months and is highly productive in preventing unplanned pregnancies. This form does have some effects on bone health that can be reversible. However, it is not recommended you take depo injection for longer than several years at a time without a small break to let your bones recover, after which you can restart the treatment.
- An Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small plastic device placed in the office and goes inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. These devices, once set, can maintain their position for several years, requiring only annual monitoring such as yearly ultrasounds, as long as they are not causing any issues with pain or bleeding. There are hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs available.
- A contraceptive Implant, a small plastic device coated in the hormone progesterone, placed in the arm and lasts for several years before needing to be removed, is also available. In the US, the most common implant device is the Nexplanon.
- Vaginal ring, is a device that can be inserted into the vagina by the patient and removed at different intervals. These vaginal rings emit hormones that are systemically absorbed and prevent pregnancy.
- A hormone patch,is a small square impregnated with a hormone placed on the skin, usually a small patch of skin just below the hip or buttocks, arm, or a small one of the back. Basically, any piece of skin that doesn’t move much during everyday activities. The patch also emits hormone that is absorbed systemically to prevent pregnancy. Your doctor will replace the patch every few days, depending on its type.
Non-hormonal Birth Control
- IUD, there is a plastic and metal form of the intrauterine device that helps to create a sterile environment within the uterus to prevent pregnancy
- Tubal ligation, involves surgically crushing, burning, or removing fallopian tubes altogether, thus prohibiting eggs from exiting the ovaries and entering the uterus. Tube ligation is a permanent form of birth control and is not generally reversible.
- Barrier methods, include condoms for males, diaphragms, and contraceptive sponges for females. All can contain spermicide vs. no spermicide or a chemical that inhibits sperm.
- Vasectomy, involves cutting the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles in males. This procedure is very effective but requires follow-up several months after to ensure the male is no longer releasing sperm.
We generally consider IUDs to be a shallow risk during placement, maintenance, and removal. During placement, the risk of infection, perforation (poking a hole through the uterus and the IUD going inside the abdomen, which would require minor surgery to remove), or pain can all occur. Luckily, these are all very rare, and there are ways your gynecologist can mitigate these risks, such as using ultrasound during the IUD placement.
Within each category of birth control are several more forms and brands, each with its risks, benefits, and alternatives. With the increased number of options, it becomes essential to discuss your specific situation with your Midtown gynecologist, to choose an option that works specifically for you.
Important Reminder: The only intent of this information is to provide gynecology guidance, not definitive medical advice. Please consult your OBGYN doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced gynecologist or certified gynecology specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Have questions about Contraception? Please schedule an appointment with the best OB-GYN in Manhattan, Dr. Fernando Mariz, by calling our office today.
New York City Locations:
Manhattan Women's Health & Wellness (Upper East Side)
983 Park Ave, Ste 1D17
New York, NY 10028
Manhattan Women's Health & Wellness (Midtown)
51 East 25th St, Ste 451
New York, NY 10010
Manhattan Women's Health & Wellness (Union Square)
55 W 17th St, Ste 104
New York, NY 10011