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Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Understanding Your Birth Control Options

About 65% of women between the ages of 15-49 use birth control, or contraception. Using contraception puts you in control of deciding when and if you get pregnant — and as a woman, it’s an important part of your health care plan.

You have lots of different birth control options. From daily oral pills to longer-acting implants, each method has its benefits. Finding the right birth control for you depends on your health, habits, and family planning goals, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start weighing your options.

Our team at Katie Ostrom MD is here to help. We offer a range of birth control options and our contraception consultations are designed to educate you and help you find the right method for your body.

Hormonal birth control options

Hormonal birth control is reliable and effective. It works by releasing estrogen, progestin, or a combination of both to make pregnancy unlikely. Depending on the hormonal birth control method you choose, it can prevent ovulation, thin your uterine lining, or thicken cervical mucus to reduce your chances of unintended pregnancy.

Oral pills

Oral contraceptives prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation. The pill is about 99% effective, as long as you take it every day around the same time, and never forget a dose.

Skin patches

Birth control patches stick to the surface of your skin and release hormones into your bloodstream. In general, you wear one patch for three weeks, remove it for one week, then get a new patch. When used correctly, this method of contraception is 99% effective.


A contraceptive implant is a small stick that’s placed below the surface of your skin. The device is about the size of a matchstick, and our team inserts it in a simple in-office procedure. Once in place, it releases hormones to reduce your chances of pregnancy. The implant lasts about three years and is over 99% effective.


Birth control injections are shots that contain hormones to prevent pregnancy. When injections are administered on schedule (about every 12 weeks), this method of contraception is about 99% effective.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs)

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped devices that your doctor inserts into your uterus. Hormonal IUDs release hormones to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are more than 99% effective. Depending on the type you get, an IUD can continuously protect against pregnancy for 3-7 years.

Vaginal rings

A contraceptive ring is a flexible device that you wear inside your vagina. It releases hormones to prevent pregnancy, and it’s between 96%-99% effective when used correctly.

Non-hormonal birth control options

Hormonal birth control is effective and easy to use, but it’s not a good option for every woman. If you don’t want hormonal birth control or you can’t use hormonal methods for some reason, non-hormonal contraception is also available.

Copper IUDs

Copper IUDs are very similar to hormonal IUDs, but they use copper to prevent pregnancy instead of hormones. Copper acts like a spermicide in your uterus to lower your chances of getting pregnant. It’s more than 99% effective and it can also be used as a form of emergency contraception.

Barrier methods

Barrier methods physically block sperm from reaching your fallopian tubes and fertilizing an egg. These methods include condoms and diaphragms, and they must be used correctly to prevent pregnancy.

Our team evaluates your health and your needs, then we review your birth control options with you. Many women choose to use a combination of hormonal and barrier methods. Be prepared for your contraception needs to change as you move through life.

Ready to find the best birth control methods for you? Schedule a consultation with our team online or call our Homer, Alaska, office at 907-435-0555 today.

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