One of the most personal health care decisions a woman makes is choosing when and how to prevent pregnancy. Unfortunately, many women are not adequately protected from an unwanted pregnancy. About half of all pregnancies are unplanned and half of the unplanned pregnancies involve a failed method of birth control (contraceptive.)

There are two main reasons for contraceptive failure. One is inconsistency, for example, forgetting to take your birth control pills or not using a condom every time you have sex. The other is incorrect use, not inserting a diaphragm the right way or not using enough spermicide. Rarely, the method fails despite consistently correct use.

Myths or personal concerns about the risks and safety of certain birth control options may contribute to incorrect use of birth control. Women may use a particular method only occasionally, for example, thinking that less frequent use is safer than continuous use. Women also sometimes stop using a particular method because of bothersome side effects. Age-related changes can lead women to believe they no longer need to use contraception. For example, women nearing menopause may mistakenly think they are no longer fertile.

Today, women have more contraceptive options to choose from than ever before. Every woman should be able to find one that works well for her and fits her lifestyle. If the first one doesn’t work out try something else!

Contraceptive Options

  1. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). These have the lowest failure rates and highest satisfaction rates. They include intrauterine devices, (Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, ParaGard) and contraceptive implants (Nexplanon)
  2. Birth control pills (BCPs), also called oral contraceptives (OCs)
  3. Hormonal contraceptive patches (OrthoEvra)
  4. Hormonal contraceptive vaginal rings (NuvaRing)
  5. Hormonal injections (Depoprovera)
  6. Barrier methods (condoms, diaphragms, contraceptive sponge, cervical caps)
  7. Spermicides
  8. Natural family planning
  9. Sterilization
  10. Emergency contraception (EC) also know as the morning after pill can help you choose the right contraceptive method for you.