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All your birth control options explained in 1 handy chart

From the fish bladder condoms of 3,000 B.C. to the tiny once-a-day pill that became popular in the ’60s, birth control methods have been multiplying like rabbits.

Now you can not only wear or swallow your birth control method, but you can also insert it, inject it, cap it or even stick it on. All these options, on top of all their pros and cons, can sure leave a girl feeling a bit overwhelmed.

Birth control methods
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

Thank goodness we don’t have to figure this out on our own. Your OB-GYN is your absolute best source in helping you decide which birth control method(s) is right for you and your body, as age, weight, medical history and lifestyle all play big roles in what type of pregnancy prevention will work best.

We spoke with Dr. Candice Daneshvar, M.D., a Beverly Hills OB-GYN, to help clear our heads about all the birth control options out there. “When choosing a birth control method,” Daneshvar begins, “I always recommend thinking about when the patient is interested in getting pregnant, how reliable/compliant they are in taking their meds, how much effort they want to put into their birth control method and whether or not they want to have control over stopping their birth control (implants, IUDs, injectables cannot be reversed by the patient).”

More: 7 Birth control mistakes almost every woman makes

Birth control pros and cons
Image: Karen Cox/SheKnows

In her office, Daneshvar mostly prescribes hormonal intrauterine devices (commonly called IUDs, but there are nonhormonal versions as well), pills and the ring. However, it’s important to remember that all birth control methods have pros and cons.

For example, Daneshvar explains that hormonal IUDs are a “most effective method” and are “inserted once and last for years, many women stop getting their periods.” Yet if the cost is not covered by insurance, IUDs can “cost an upward of $800,” she warns.

Similarly, pills have been around for over 50 years and can have positive side effects (goodbye, acne), but they’re “only as effective as the person who uses it,” Daneshvar continues. And most users have trouble taking it 100 percent perfectly. Additionally, the pill can cause side effects like weight gain, sore breasts, nausea, spotting or decreased sex drive, she says.

More: The birth control pill for men is almost a reality

A ring is similar to birth control pills in that they both work on a monthly cycle and have similar side effects, but the ring is inserted (like a tampon) only once each month and avoids the risk of forgetting to take the pill on a daily basis.

We worked with Daneshvar to compile information about all of your birth control options — and their pros and cons — in one easy-to-read guide. Use this information to help steer your decision in the right direction, but always talk with your OB-GYN before making any final decisions.

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