Exploring Birth Control Options
Birth control is an important aspect of family planning and one that deserves an in-depth conversation with your gynecologist. Times have changed quite a bit since our mothers were having babies. In the early 70s, the average age of a first-time mom was 21 years old. Today, the average age is about 26; later for women with college degrees, according to some statistics. The fact that women are waiting longer to have children means that more of them are in need of reliable birth control.
Contraception goes way, way beyond purchasing condoms (or relying on a partner to do so). It extends beyond obtaining a prescription for birth control pills. Today, there are several methods of birth control available and women need to know what they are.
Oral Contraception: The Time-Tested Method
Birth control pills have been around for decades. Early doses were somewhat cookie-cutter, leading to unwanted side effects such as nausea and breast tenderness. Today, birth control pills contain lower doses of estrogen and are combined with progestin to decrease side effects without minimizing efficacy. Still, the one potential downside to oral contraceptives is that the pill must be taken daily in order to prevent pregnancy.
Set-It and Forget-It?
Over the past several years, a number of additional contraception options have become available. Many of them do not require prescription hormones, which means few, if any, side effects. Other newer forms of birth control do still rely on hormone disruption but not on a daily pill. Options to consider include:
- Depo-Provera. An injectable form of birth control, this quarterly treatment stops the release of an egg via the hormone progestin.
- IUD, an intrauterine device, can be implanted to prevent the fertilization of the egg. There are hormonal and nonhormonal devices available for longer-term pregnancy prevention. We offer a number of IUD options, including Mirena, Paraguard, Skyla, and more.
- Implanted hormonal birth control, Nexplanon, time-releases hormones to prevent pregnancy for 4 years.
A woman’s wellbeing is tied to her power over her reproductive timing. We are here to provide the birth control information you need to make the most informed decisions about your health care. To schedule a visit to our Houston office, call 713.955.6560.