CONTRACEPTION AND FAMILY PLANNING
Although advances in modern medicine have given women a significant level of control over reproductive decisions, caring for your reproductive health can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, as you grapple with life-altering decisions about if and when you would like to start a family. This challenge is complicated by confusing medical jargon surrounding the topics of reproductive options and infertility. Birth control needs vary considerably from patient to patient, and methods that are appropriate in one woman’s life, may be unfeasible for another. There are a number of factors that must be taken into consideration when selecting your means of birth control, such as: desire to have children; general health; frequency of sexual intercourse; number of sex partners; side effects; and personal preferences.
While the abundance of available birth control choices allows women to be highly discriminating when making contraception choices, it can also make the selection process feel a bit daunting. It is helpful to have a knowledgeable treatment provider to guide you throughout this process, helping you to navigate complex medical terminology, and explaining the impact different chemicals and hormones may have on your health and lifestyle. The administration of high quality services in the field of reproductive health care requires compassion, discretion, and sensitivity.
At Women’s Medical Center, P.C., our primary concern is the health of our patients, and we respect the privacy and personal choices of our patients when dealing with delicate matters pertaining to family planning. We make it a priority to educate our patients about the full scope of their reproductive options, and to create a tranquil, soothing, and compassionate office environment to serve as the backdrop for any procedures our patients elect to undergo.
Our board certified OBGYN specialists keep abreast of the latest advances and developments in contraceptive care, in order to facilitate your selection of a method of birth control that meets your unique lifestyle and health-related needs. Some of the most common birth control methods are listed below:
- Natural Family Planning (Fertility Awareness Methods, Rhythm Method)
- Hormonally-based Approaches
- Vaginal ring
- Oral Contraceptive (pill)
- Injection/shot (Depo-Provera)
- Barrier Methods (male or female condom, diaphragm, sponge)
- Emergency Contraception (morning after pill, Plan-B)
- Implantable Rod (Nexplanon): this thin, flexible plastic implant is about the size of a cardboard matchstick and can be used to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The implant is inserted under the skin of the upper arm during a very quick, outpatient procedure and can be removed at any time. The implant releases the hormone progestin, which serves to keep the eggs from leaving the ovaries and thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the eggs.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD): this small, T-shaped device is implanted into the uterus to protect against pregnancy for 3-10 years (depending on the type of IUD selected). After assessing your health, medical sensitivities, and personal preferences, the physicians at Women’s Medical Center, PC will advise you as to whether a hormonal or copper IUD is better suited to fulfill your contraceptive needs, and will safely insert (and later remove) your IUD.
Hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by releasing a small amount of progestin, a female hormone, into the uterus, and thicken the cervical mucus so that the sperm cannot reach the egg. Manufactured by the same company, both Mirena and Skyla function similarly, and must be inserted and removed by a physician. The Skyla and Kyleena are slightly smaller than Mirena. They provide a slightly lower hormonal dose, and require a narrower placement tube. Skyla can stay in place for up to 3 years, whereas Kyleena and Mirena can stay in place up to five years.
With the ability to remain in the uterus for up to 10 years, the copper IUD is a non-hormonally-based device that must be inserted and removed by a doctor, and prevents contraception by releasing a small amount of copper into the uterus. This stops the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg and (if necessary) prevents implantation of the fertilized egg into the uterine lining.
- Permanent Birth Control/Sterilization: best suited for patients who have determined that their family is complete, sterilization options provide patients with a permanent form of birth control
- Laparoscopic Tubal Ligation: colloquially referred to as having one’s “tubes tied,” this minimally invasive procedure requires only small incisions in the abdomen and permanently prevents pregnancy by cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes. Tubal ligation does not impact a woman’s menstrual cycle or trigger the commencement of menopause.
If you would like additional information about the contraception and family planning options offered at the Women’s Medical Center, PC, please contact our office today. We look forward to speaking with you, and to scheduling your initial appointment with one of our board certified physicians.