Common Methods

Family Planning: What works best for you?

More effective
Less than 1 pregnancy per 100 women each year

Vasectomy: Use another method for first 3 months.

Female sterilization, IUD, implant: Little or nothing to do.

These birth control methods have the advantage of being most effective and provide long term or permanent birth control.  For those who feel their families are complete, female sterilization or male vasectomy (which may be reversible), are good options.  For long term but reversible/removable birth control, IUD’s (hormonal and copper) and hormonal implant are good options.  These methods are physically invasive and require some level of surgery and do not protect from STI’s

Less than1 per 100 2-8 per 100

LAM (for 6 months): Breastfeed often, day and night.

Shot: Get repeat shots on time.

Pill: Take a pill each day.

Ring, Patch: Keep in place, change on time.

These options are effective for birth control but may be subject to user error.  Among these, LAM is the only method that does not require introduction of foreign hormones, which have been linked to health problems and require a prescription. ’The shot (Depo-Provera) has the advantage of lasting for three months.  These methods do not protect from STI’s


15-25 per 100

Condom, diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge: Use correctly every time you have sex. Cervical cap and sponge are less effective for women who have given birth.

Fertility-awareness based methods: Abstain or use condoms on fertile days. Standard Days Method and Two Day Method may be easiest to use.

These methods are less secure but ‘all natural’ in that they do no upset the bodies normal balance of hormones.  The user can increase their safety by using more than one method at once, for instance, combining fertility awareness with the use of a diaphragm or sponge.  These methods require little initial financial investment and are widely available (although the diaphragm must be fitted by a professional).  Disadvantages include user error, latex allergies and overestimation of their effectiveness.  Condoms have the additional overwhelming advantage of providing protection from some STIS.

 About 30 per 100

Withdrawal, spermicide: Use correctly every time you have sex.
Withdrawal is natural and, unlike spermicide, is costs nothing and is non-irritating to the skin.  It does, however rely on chance and the male’s self control and has a high rate of failure.  May be useful when combined with the rhythm method.  Spermicide is better than nothing and does alow skin on skin contact, but it also negatively effects the delicate skin of the vagina.  These methods do not provide protection from STI’s.


Vasectomy: $350-$1,000  Meant to be permanent

Female Sterilization: $1,500-$6,000  Meant to be permanent

IUD:  $175-650  sometimes free/reduced price at planned parenthood.  (lasts up to 12 years)

Implant: (Implanon) $400-$800 Lasts up to 3 years

LAM (Breastfeeding):  Free!  Up to 6 months after giving birth

Shot: (Depo-Provera)  $35-$75 per injection (every 3 months) plus any exam fees

Pill: $15-$50 a month

Ring: (Nuva Ring) $15-$50 a month

Patch: (Ortho Evra) $15-$50 a month

Male Condom:  $1 each or Free.  (1x use)

Diaphragm:  $15-$75 (lasts up to 2 years)

Female Condom:  $4 each (1x use)

Cervical Cap: (FemCap)  $60-$75 (use up to 2 years)

Sponge:  $9-$15 per package of 3 (1x use)

Fertility-Awareness Based Method: Free

Withdrawal:  Free

Spermicide:  $8 per package (various amounts).


Safety and Contraindications:


Hormonal Contraceptive (many different varieties): You should not hormonal contraceptive if you are pregnant, have breast cancer, or have a blood clot in a vein or artery that is not being treated with medicine. Some women may have undesirable side effects while using hormones.
Some of the most common side effects usually clear up after two or three months. They include bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, nausea and vomiting and headache, weight gain and mood swings.  The hormones in the pill and other hormonal contraceptives may change a woman’s sexual desire. The pill may have serious but rare side effects such as problems, that may be fatal in very rare cases, include heart attack, stroke, having a blood clot in the legs, lungs, heart, or brain, or developing high blood pressure, liver tumors, gallstones, or yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice).  The risk for these problems increases if you are age 35 or older, overweight, have certain inherited blood-clotting disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, prolonged bed rest, smoke.  There is some evidence of increased risk for breast cancer with birth control.


IUD’S: You may at first experience mild to moderate cramping and backache, spotting between periods, irregular periods (hormonal IUD), heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps (copper IUD).  Serious problems with the IUD are rare. The IUD can sometimes slip out of the uterus. Possibility of uterine infection after insertion and very rarely it may push through the wall of the uterus affecting nearby organs.


LAM: (Breastfeeding) Will only prevent fertility if feedings are frequent (every 2-3 hours) and continuous through day and night, and is your baby’s sole source of nutrients.


Spermicide: may irritate penis and vagina, destroys condoms and can increase susceptibility to aids.


Fertility-Awareness Based Method: different methods are highly demanding and exact.  Small disruptions in routine can cause inaccurate fertility predictions.  Not recommended for women with irregular periods, extreme stress or lack of time and interest. One must also be willing to abstain during the most fertile period of a woman’s cycle, when desire for intercourse may be greatest.


Male and Female Sterilization: usually impossible/difficult to reverse.  May rarely lead to dangerous ectopic pregnancy in woman and loss of sexual desire in men (although this is considered a psychological side effect rather than physical).  Female sterilization can include tying of the tubes, removal of the uterus and removal of the uterus and ovaries. It is advisable to allow at least one ovary to remain, otherwise the removing of the reproductive organs will initiate rapid menopause in a woman.


**Female and Male Condoms are the best known way of preventing the spread of STI’s in intercourse and oral sex.  Alternative methods of birth control are only recommended for long term, trusting relationships with low risk of STI exposure.**

Source:  Planned Parenthood  <;

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