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Available Birth Control Methods

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Updated April 16, 2014

Available Birth Control Methods

Some Hormonal Birth Control Methods

Photo © 2008 Dawn Stacey

Birth Control Methods For You To Choose:

Are you aware of your birth control options? With so many types of birth control methods available, you may be wondering where to start. Here is a brief overview that can help you begin to understand the various birth control methods and contraceptive options open to you.

Natural Family Planning Birth Control Methods:

Behavioral methods (also known as natural family planning) include specific actions that individuals can take naturally to help prevent an unintended pregnancy. These are some of the oldest forms of contraception available. Many are these birth control methods are based on a thorough understanding of the menstrual cycle. Natural methods often do not cost anything and usually have no side effects.

Over-the-Counter Birth Control Methods:

Over-the-counter contraceptives are barrier methods that obstruct sperm from fertilizing an egg. These birth control methods can be obtained without a doctor’s prescription. Most of the available OTC methods are reliable, effective, and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Prescription Birth Control Methods:

Prescription birth control is for women who wish to avoid a pregnancy by using certain hormones, barriers, or devices that are prescribed by a doctor (as they require some degree of medical supervision). In addition to oral contraceptives like the pill, there are also other hormonal contraceptives which offer alternative delivery systems. Also included in this category are devices (like a diaphragm) that must be fitted by a doctor. Many women prefer prescription birth control methods because they are effective and reversible, so a woman can become pregnant after she stops using them.

Sterilization - Permanent Birth Control Methods:

Individuals who know for sure that they do not want to have any more (or any) children can opt for a permanent birth control methods by undergoing specific surgical procedures. These sterilization methods are also referred to as "permanent infertility"; according to Planned Parenthood, permanent sterilization is typically the most popular birth control method in the United States.

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