With so many different methods of birth control available, it can be difficult choosing a birth control method that's right for you. To decide on the best method of birth control, you should thoroughly assess your needs and circumstances.
What birth control methods have you used in the past?
Think about the kind of birth control you've used in the past. What did you like and dislike about each method? If you're interested in prescription birth control, did one method make you feel nauseous or depressed? Did you experience spotting? This will help your doctor and you figure out which method is best for you.
What kind of birth control would fit into your life?
Maybe you travel a lot for work, or your daily schedule is always changing. If this is the case, then certain birth control methods, like the pill, might not be right for you. Instead, the IUD, implant, shot or condoms might better suit your needs.
What are your medical conditions and lifestyle factors?
You shouldn't use certain methods of birth control, such as the pill, if you have certain medical conditions, like uncontrolled high blood pressure, advanced diabetes, and lupus. If you have abnormalities in your uterus, then IUDs are off limits.
Similarly, if you're over 35 years old and are a smoker, you shouldn't take combined hormonal contraceptives like the pill, the ring, or the patch. This is because they can increase your risk of stroke. The same holds if you experience migraines with auras.
How are your periods?
Are your periods light or are they heavy? Hormonal birth control can help regulate your cycle, leading to lighter periods. If you're hoping to skip your periods altogether, the hormonal IUD can stop your period altogether after a while. And with extended-cycle birth control pills, you can skip your period.
Do you suffer from PMS?
If your PMS is debilitating, and you experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, hormonal birth control can help to regulate your mood.
Would you prefer to use a non-hormonal method?
If you'd prefer to use a non-hormonal method of birth control, your options are the copper IUD, condoms, and fertility awareness methods.
How are you protecting yourself against STDs?
Finding a reliable birth control method is great, but it's also important to use it in conjunction with condoms or dental dams to lower your risk of contracting STDs. Unless you and your partner have been recently tested, you should always use condoms and get tested regularly.
Consult with your doctor first
Remember to consult with your doctor before choosing the right birth control method for you. Review options with your doctor and disclose all medical history before deciding on a birth control method.