Your Partners in Women's Healthcare

Family Planning

Choosing the method of contraception or permanent birth control that is best for you can be complicated. Your doctor will advise you in selecting a method appropriate for your situation, taking into account effectiveness, cost, potential risks, and your health status.

OB/GYN Health Associates provides a wide range of family planning services.

  • Nexplanon (Etonogestrel implant)
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Vaginal ring
  • Injection
  • Intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Diaphragm
  • Essure® non-incisional permanent birth control

Note: Most forms of contraception offer no protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Your doctor can provide information on precautions that can reduce your risk of acquiring and spreading these diseases.

Q&A

I’ve been on birth control pills for 15 years and do not want to have more children. What is the best method of contraception for me?

Oral contraceptives and vaginal rings are great options for women during their childbearing years. For women unsure if they want more children, we recommend use of an IUD or diaphragm. And, when women are through having children, we recommend Essure, the non-incisional approach to permanent birth control.

I am over 35 years old and a smoker. Should I continue to use birth control that contains hormones?

Smoking while on any birth control pill can increase your risk of serious side effects such as heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. Women who use birth control pills should not smoke. If you are over 35 and a heavy smoker, you should speak with your physician about a birth control method that is right for you.

I have heard of a new birth control pill that allows you to have a period four times a year. Is this safe?

Some women believe that having a monthly period is a cleansing process that is important for their health. That is not true. There is no medical need for a monthly pill period and clinical studies have shown no increased health risks.

I am through having children and my husband won’t have a vasectomy. Is there anything else available for me other than having my “tubes tied”?

Until now, women considering permanent birth control had limited options. Now there is a non-incisional alternative to tubal ligation called the Essure procedure. Essure does not require incisions, does not cut, crush or burn the fallopian tubes, and does not contain hormones. It is safe and effective with a rapid recovery rate allowing patients to return to normal activities within a day or two.

Birth Control Contraceptives

Oral Contraceptive

An oral contraceptive (“The Pill”), a generally safe and effective method of family planning, may offer some protection against the development of uterine and ovarian cancers and pelvic inflammatory disease. Many women also find that their periods are not as heavy and less painful while they are taking an oral contraceptive. When taken as directed, oral contraceptives are more than 97 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.

 

Vaginal ring

This device is inserted into the vagina, where for three weeks each month it provides a low, consistent level of hormones before being removed for menstruation. When used appropriately, the vaginal ring is more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy.

Hormone injection

Injections of the hormone progestin are considered very safe and effective (more than 99 percent) in preventing pregnancy by preventing ovulation over a three-month span.

Intrauterine device (IUD)

Positioned within the uterus, an IUD is 97 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. The procedure typically takes place in the doctor’s office, and an IUD can remain in place for up to 5-10 years, depending on the device.

Diaphragm

A diaphragm is considered a “barrier” method of contraception. Used with a spermicide, it fits over the cervix and has a somewhat higher failure rate (approximately 18 percent) than many other methods.

Essure® permanent birth control

More than 35,000 women worldwide have selected the revolutionary Essure permanent birth control procedure. Unlike other forms of permanent birth control (tubal ligation and vasectomy), the Essure procedure requires no incisions and is less invasive than a tubal ligation. Recovery time is short, typically only one to two days.

The Essure procedure is appropriate only if you are sure you do not want any more children, would like to have permanent birth control, and believe you will not change your mind. If there is any chance you may want to have children in the future, you should talk to your doctor about another form of birth control.

OB/GYN Health Associates is an Essure Accredited Facility (EAP) and has agreed to follow nationally-established standards for quality patient care and education. We are committed to providing excellence in patient care.

Recommended references:

The New Harvard Guide to Women’s Health, by Karen J. Carlson, M.D., Stephanie A. Eisenstat, M.D., and Terra Ziporyn, Ph.D. Harvard University Press (2004).