Contraception & Birth Control
There are many methods of contraception available for women in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa area, including:
- Long-acting, reversible contraception – the implant or intrauterine device (IUD).
- Hormonal contraception – The pill or the Depo Provera injectable
- Condoms – Barrier methods
- Emergency contraception
- Fertility awareness
- Permanent contraception: vasectomy and tubal-ligation.
What is a Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive?
LARC (long-acting, reversible contraception) is long-lasting.
There are two types LARC.
- The intrauterine device lasts three, five, or ten years.
- The implant lasts 3 years.
You don’t have to remember to use contraception every day, or every month, once you have a LARC.
LARCs are the most effective form of contraception. They prevent pregnancy by more than 99%.
What are Hormonal Contraceptives?
These contraceptives are hormone-based and prevent pregnancy.
The Pill, Vaginal Ring, and Depo Provera injection are hormonal contraceptives.
There are two types of pills:
- Combination oral contraceptive pill
- Progestogen-only contraceptive pill
One pill is taken each day. It is more effective than 99 percent in preventing pregnancy if you take it correctly.
Depo Provera is an injection that you receive every three months. Depo Provera works better if you receive your injections in time.
What are Barrier Methods?
Sperm cannot enter the vagina through barrier methods. These are the two barriers:
- Condoms for internal use (Female Condoms)
Condoms are effective in protecting against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and unintended pregnancy.
What is an Emergency Contraception?
Two options exist for emergency contraception: the ECP (emergency contraceptive pill) and a copper IUD.
ECP can only be used up to three days after unprotected sexual activity. The ECP is 98% effective if you are a normal weight. The ECP is less effective if you are heavier than 70kg. A copper IUD is recommended. If you are over 70kg and decide to take ECP you should consider whether a double dose would be a good option.
Copper IUDs can be placed up to five days after unprotected sexual activity and are more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy If:
- You have not used protection
- your normal contraception fails e.g. Condom splitting
- You have probably missed more than one contraceptive tablet
- You have experienced diarrhoea or vomiting while taking the pill
- You have missed your injection
- You have been forced to have sex with someone without contraception.
ECP is not recommended as a regular contraceptive method. It’s less effective than using LARC or hormonal methods.
What is Fertility Awareness?
Fertility awareness refers to being aware of the signs and symptoms of fertility in your menstrual cycle. This will help you plan or obstruct a pregnancy.
What is Permanent Contraception?
Sterilization, also known as permanent contraception, is a method that prevents future pregnancies. It can be very difficult, or even impossible to reverse. A vasectomy, or tubal ligation, can be permanent options.