The Different Methods of Family Planning

There are many different methods of family planning that you may want to consider when discussing birth control options with your partner. If you're unsure which option will be best for you, consider making an appointment with your local family planning services. If finances are a concern, look for an organization that charges on a sliding scale, taking into account your income.

Oral Contraceptives
Also known as the "pill" or the "mini pill," oral contraceptives prevent pregnancy through hormonal supplements. There are several different kinds of oral contraceptives: progesterone-only pills, combined hormone pills and the morning after pill.

Contraceptive Implants
Contraceptive implants release hormones continuously, preventing you from conceiving. They are convenient because they work for up to five years. Once they are in, you don't have to see the doctor or do anything until they expire, but you can have them removed at any time if you so desire.

IUDs
IUDs are copper or plastic birth control mechanisms that are inserted inside the uterus. IUDs can last between 5 and 10 years, depending on what kind you use. Once again, once the IUD is inserted, you will not have to think about birth control again until the IUD is removed or expires.

Female Sterilization
Also called a tubal ligation, this surgical procedure is a permanent sterilization option for women. It should be considered permanent and should only be undertaken if a woman is certain she is through with childbearing.

Male Sterilization
Also called a vasectomy, this procedure provides permanent sterilization by cutting and cauterizing or tying the vas deferens. In some cases this procedure can be surgically reversed, but this is definitely not guaranteed.

Barrier Methods of Contraception
Traditional condoms, diaphragms and female condoms all fall into this category of contraceptive. These methods of family planning can be quite effective in preventing both pregnancy and the spread of STDs, making this method popular amongst people who have more than one sexual partner. Barrier methods of contraception must be used carefully and every time you have intercourse in order for them to be effective.

Natural Family Planning
This is probably the most risky form of birth control. Using your menstrual cycle and a basal thermometer, you will anticipate when you should be ovulating and avoid intercourse when you suspect you can get pregnant.

The above-listed family planning information is intended to give you foundational information. To determine which form of birth control is best for you, you may need to see a physician.

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