How do I choose the right birth control?

Samantha Medina, DO is an OB/GYN at Banner Health Center in Surprise. To make an appointment with Dr. Medina, call 623-478-3100.

Question: The number of choices when it comes to birth control is a bit overwhelming. How do I know what type is right for me?

Answer: Selecting the birth control that best fits your life can be a challenging decision because of the number of options. However, medical advancements have provided us with so many choices, women are typically able to find something that aligns with their needs and are not limited to a “one size fits all” option.

First, it is important to understand which options are available. The major categories of available birth control are abstinence, sterilization, intrauterine device (IUD), subdermal implant (nexplanon), pills, vaginal ring or injections, and over-the-counter options like condoms or diaphragms. The choice you make depends largely on your willingness to consistently adhere to a given method and whether you are done having children.

Birth control pills are the most widely used method to prevent pregnancy and are 99 percent effective when used correctly. However, missing a pill or not taking it at the same time every day can reduce its effectiveness, so other types of contraception may be preferable to you. Other options include a vaginal ring that remains in place for three weeks, a contraceptive injection every three months, an implant placed under your skin, or an IUD implanted in your uterus that can be removed later if you want to conceive. All these methods are very effective but don’t require a daily commitment.

If your family is complete, sterilization is a permanent approach to birth control. Sterilization involves a surgical procedure that renders you unable to become pregnant. For women, it’s a tubal ligation or tubal occlusion and for men, a vasectomy.

Talk with your gynecologist about your lifestyle and your preferences, and together you can determine the best contraceptive choice for you, based on your health history and future plans.