When it comes to birth control, there are a lot of choices out there.
The knowledgeable providers at Marina OB/GYN can help you choose the type of birth control to fit your needs. Our medical offices in Marina Del Rey and Hawthorne offer discreet, welcoming locations to discuss your birth control options with one of our qualified specialists.
Birth control empowers you to choose when and if you want to have a baby. Also called contraception, birth control refers to any device, medication, or method that prevents pregnancy. If you're sexually active and don't want to get pregnant, you need to use some type of birth control. With our individualized approach, our physicians and practitioners will guide you to the birth control that is right for you.
What Are Some Different Types of Birth Control?
There are many forms of birth control available. Some are easier to use and more effective than others. The team at Marina OB/GYN offers many methods of birth control, including:
These include hormonal medications or devices you use every day, such as the pill, or every month, such as the patch or vaginal ring. This also includes the birth control shot, which you need to get once every three months.
Sterilization provides permanent birth control through surgical or medical procedures, like tubal ligation for women and vasectomy for men. These procedures are very effective but can be difficult to reverse if you change your mind later. For patients that want the utmost assurance that they will not ever become pregnant, this can be an excellent option.
For women, female sterilization is sometimes colloquially known as a “female vasectomy”, however, the procedure is very different for men and women. Tubal ligation is also known as “having your tubes tied” or tubal sterilization.
Despite the name, at Marina OB/GYN, we don’t “tie” the tubes. We remove the tubes entirely to prevent pregnancy and also to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARC methods) include intrauterine devices (IUDs) and birth control implants. After you get an IUD or implant inserted, you don't have to worry about contraception for 3-10 years, depending on the type of implant you choose. IUDs and implants are excellent for patients that find it hard to remember taking the pill every day, as well as for those that do not like the sensation of barrier contraception such as condoms. One of the biggest benefits of LARC methods is that they require little to no maintenance.
At Marina OB/GYN, our medical providers can place the implant or IUD. This will prevent pregnancy for between 3 to 10 years (depending on the type of device that is inserted). We also offer implant and IUD removal for patients that no longer wish to use this form of contraception.
At Marina ObGyn, placement of IUDs and Nexplanons are nearly painless and are done in the office using local anesthetic. We place the devices under ultrasound guidance to avoid any and all complications that may be mentioned online in blogs and such. IUDs and implants are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Neither implants nor an IUD will prevent STDs, however.
How does tubal ligation work?
Tubal ligation works by preventing a female’s egg from going from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes by removing the tubes. It also blocks sperm from traveling up inside of the fallopian tubes in order to reach, and then fertilize, the egg.
Tubal ligation reversal is very difficult, requiring a major surgery that is not always successful. Therefore, this is considered a permanent birth control method reserved only for patients that feel 100% certain that they do not wish to have a baby now or in the future.
Barrier birth control methods physically block sperm from reaching and potentially fertilizing a female’s egg. Barrier methods are available over-the-counter and include condoms, sponges, and diaphragms.
Some of these methods, such as contraceptive sponges, are generally less effective than other types of birth control, but they are readily available online and in most drugstores.
The birth control sponge is made of a soft, cushioned material that blocks the entrance to a woman’s cervix during penetrative sex. In addition to blocking sperm from reaching the egg, most brands of barrier sponges also contain a chemical spermicide that kills sperm, thus helping prevent pregnancy. Some women find the chemical spermicide irritating. In some instances, spermicide can throw off vaginal pH and potentially lead to infection. However, some women that are averse to hormonal birth control prefer the convenience of the sponge, particularly because a prescription is not required. The sponge may be inserted up to 24 hours before sex and should be removed immediately afterward.
Condoms are a barrier method that is highly effective at preventing pregnancy when used properly. Latex condoms are the most common type, but there are also alternative materials such as sheepskin condoms that are suitable for patients with latex allergies. In addition to pregnancy prevention, condoms also effectively guard against most types of STDs. As a highly effective barrier method that also protects against STDs, condoms are also a popular choice because they can be purchased over-the-counter.
A female diaphragm is a barrier birth control method that uses a flexible silicone cap to cover the cervix so that sperm does not enter the womb during penetrative sex. A spermicide may be used in conjunction with a diaphragm to kill sperm before it can reach the egg. Diaphragms are less effective than condoms and prescription contraceptives, however, they significantly reduce the risk of pregnancy compared to using no birth control at all. While they can be difficult to find in stores these days, they can be purchased over-the-counter. Diaphragms also do not protect against STDs.
It's important to keep in mind that most birth control methods don't protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The best ways to prevent STDs are to use a latex condom every time you engage in a sexual act with a partner or to abstain from sexual activities (practicing abstinence).
There is no one best type of birth control. It depends on your body, habits, and personal preference. Your Marina OB/GYN provider is glad to discuss the various options with you based on a variety of factors, including your overall health and desire to have children in the future.
We will explain the risks and benefits of each birth control option so that you can make an informed decision. It is also possible to switch to a different type of birth control method in the future. For example, many patients come to us looking for alternative options after having been on the pill for some time. They say that they are tired of the daily maintenance of oral contraception and would like to explore other options.
At Marina OB/GYN, you have the power of choice when it comes to selecting the birth control method that meets your needs. Your needs may also change throughout the duration of your childbearing years. With a wide range of birth control options available, we help match you with the appropriate treatment for where you are in your life.
I haven't had any kids...can I still get an IUD?
There are a few IUDs that are designed for women who have not had children and or have never been pregnant. These devices are smaller and with minimal amounts of hormones to easily be inserted and placed in women who have not yet had children.
Some women choose these smaller IUDs simply because they are the form of birth control with the absolute lowest amount of hormones. Please visit our IUD page for more information about this method.
To learn more about your birth control options, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Jamie Lipeles at Marina OB/GYN. You may call the office or book an appointment with our easy online scheduling system.