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The 6 Most Common Types of Birth Control

The 6 Most Common Types of Birth Control

Are you thinking about trying a new type of birth control? From hormonal contraceptives to condoms, most women use birth control at some point in their lives — and it’s normal for your contraceptive needs to change over time.

Each type of birth control has its own benefits and drawbacks, and trying to decide what’s best isn’t always easy. At Katie Ostrom MD, we’re here to help you find answers.

Our gynecology team has experience with a variety of birth control methods, and we work with you to find the best contraceptive for your body and family planning goals.

Read on to learn more about the most popular types of birth control in the United States.

A closer look at the most common birth control methods in the U.S.

From 2017-2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected data for the National Survey of Family Growth. The study examined millions of American women between the ages of 15-49 who were currently using contraception and tabulated the most common contraceptives.

1. Birth control pills

The pill is the most widely recognized type of birth control, and about 14% of women take birth control pills to avoid pregnancy. Oral contraceptives contain hormones that prevent ovulation. You take one pill at the same time every day, and it’s about 91% effective for most women.

2. Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Just over 10% of women rely on long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) to prevent pregnancy. LARCs are growing in popularity, because they’re extremely effective and last for years. 

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are some of the most popular LARCs. An IUD is a small T-shaped device that sits in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. We offer hormonal and copper IUDs, and they are both about 99% effective.

3. Implants

Along with IUDs, birth control implants are LARCs. The implant is a small plastic rod that’s inserted into your arm. It releases hormones to stop ovulation and thicken your cervical mucus, and it’s around 99% effective for most women.

4. Male condoms

Male condoms are one of the most popular non-hormonal birth control methods in the country, and about 8% of couples use male condoms as their primary method of contraception. You need to use a new condom every time you have sex to lower your risk of pregnancy. When used correctly, condoms are about 98% effective.

5. Short-acting hormonal methods

Only about 5% of women use short-acting hormonal birth control. These methods release hormones to prevent pregnancy, but they require more frequent action than LARCs. A few of the most common short-acting birth controls we offer are diaphragms, injections, skin patches, and vaginal rings.

6. Sterilization

The most common contraceptive method among women in the US is sterilization. About 18% of women choose sterilization. It includes procedures like tubal ligation and hysterectomy, and it’s most common among women older than 40. This birth control method can’t be reversed, so it’s not a good option for women who want to get pregnant in the future.

When it comes to family planning, you have lots of options. The right birth control for you depends on your goals and your health, and we’re here to help you find the best method for your body.

Dr. Ostrom and our team offer birth control consultations so you can learn more about your options, and we provide comprehensive gynecologic care to help you achieve your best possible health. Contact us online or call our Homer, Alaska office at 907-435-0555 to schedule your first appointment.

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