Family Planning

Waiting awhile to have another child gives you the best chance to reach some of your goals, and concentrate your time and attention on your son or daughter.  It also gives you the chance to get the hang of parenting and gain more skills. Choosing a type of birth control is an important part of planning for your family’s future.

You can talk to your doctor about birth control before your baby is born. The doctor will be able to give you some information to help you decide when to start using birth control after your baby’s birth and what type is best for you.

Types of Birth Control

There are many different ways to prevent pregnancy.

Abstinence

Abstinence is not having any sex. You can’t get pregnant if you don’t have sex. Abstinence is the only fail-proof way to prevent pregnancy and STI’s every time.

Implantable Birth Control (put inside of your body)

Implantable birth control works really well and may be covered by your insurance. A very small birth control device is inserted by a doctor into your body, and prevents pregnancy for years at a time, without you having to worry about doing anything else. You don’t need to remember to take it, change it, or get your prescription refilled. It is important to remember that implantable birth control does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will still want to use a condom when having vaginal sex.

Two types of implantable birth control:

  • An implantable rod. A little tube, about the size of a matchstick, is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It’s good for up to three years and then it needs to be replaced. 
  • An intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a device that is implanted in your uterus. There are two kinds-copper, and hormonal. The copper IUD does not have hormones, and is good for 5-10 years.  The hormonal IUD is good for up to five years.

Hormonal Birth Control

If implantable birth control is not for you, the next most effective method of birth control is hormonal birth control. There are many different types of hormonal birth control and you must be very responsible to use your hormonal birth control correctly and consistently. If you’re the kind of person who has a hard time remembering to do things, hormonal birth control may not be best for you. Ask your doctor before taking hormonal birth control after giving birth. With some hormonal birth controls you will need to wait until three weeks after you deliver your baby to start using them.

Types of hormonal birth control:

  • “The Pill” (oral contraceptives). These are small pills that come in a pack that are taken very day. You start a new pack each month.
  • “The Patch.” This is a sticky patch, kind of like a band-aid. You change the patch every week for three weeks in a row, then you have one week without it to have your period.
  • “The Shot.” An injection you get every three months at your doctor’s office. You can only use this method of birth control for two years straight, then you would have to change to another type.
  • “The Ring.” This is a small flexible ring that you insert into your vagina. Leave it in for three weeks, and then take it out for the fourth week. Each month you insert a new ring.

Barrier Birth Control

Barrier methods of birth control prevent pregnancy by putting something in the way of the sperm so that it can’t enter your body. Barrier methods work well to prevent pregnancy when they are used correctly, but since they can slip, tear, or break, they don’t work as well as hormonal or implantable methods to prevent pregnancy. The best way to prevent STIs and pregnancy is to use a hormonal contraceptive, like the pill, together with a barrier method, like a condom.

Barrier methods of birth control include:

  • Male condoms. This is a thin latex or plastic sheath that fits over the penis and prevents sperm from entering your body. It has two jobs—to protect you from STIs and to prevent pregnancy. In order to work the best, you need to use condoms made of latex or plastic (polyurethane) to protect against STI’s—lambskin condoms do not work.
  • Female condoms. This is a thin pouch that is inserted into the vagina, and held in place with rings on each end. It catches the sperm, and prevents it from entering your body through your vagina.
  • Diaphragm. This is a shield (it looks like a small, short cup) that is inserted before sex that covers the cervix. It is used with spermicide—a gel or foam that kills sperm. It must stay inside you for several hours after you have sex, and it must be fitted by your doctor. It does not protect you from STI’s.

Correct and Consistent Contraceptive Use

Whichever method of birth control you and your doctor decide on, it’s important for you to use it:

  • Correctly—follow your doctor’s instructions, and the instructions on the package.
  • Consistently—use the method the same way every time you have sex, and make sure to refill or renew your method.

Using birth control consistently and correctly will help you plan your family, and have any future children when you’re ready.