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The 10 Most Effective Types of Contraception
1. Abstinence

Continuous abstinence, or abstaining from sexual intercourse, is the only form of contraception that is 100 percent effective. Condoms
Condoms are arguably the least expensive form of contraception and the easiest to obtain.
They also protect couples from sharing some sexually transmitted infections. Condoms
are sheaths of thin latex or plastic worn on the erect penis during intercourse. Of 100
women whose partners use condoms, about 15 will become pregnant with typical use
(use that is usually but not always correct). Only two will become pregnant with perfect
use. Condoms are widely available at drug and grocery stores, family planning clinics, as
well as bathroom vending machines. They are free at most campus health centers and
Planned Parenthood health centers.
Birth Control Combination Pill, Patch or Ring
These more effective reversible methods of birth control protect 92 of 100 women from
becoming pregnant with typical use (use that is usually, but not always correct) Only one
or two will become pregnant with perfect use. Pills must be taken every day at the same
time, patches are switched weekly and rings are changed monthly. The combination
products prevent a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation) and thicken the
cervical mucus to keep sperm from finding the egg. Commonly used pills include Ortho
Tri-Cyclen, Loestrin, Seasonale, Yasmin and Orth-Cept.
4. Progestin-Only
There are two basic types of pills; those that contain both estrogen and progestin, and progestin-only pills. The progestin-only pills usually work by thickening the cervical mucus and preventing some ovulation. Women who cannot take estrogen use these pills including those who breastfeed, who smoke and are over 35, who are at risk for cardiovascular disease or who have had blood clots. Depo Provera Shot
Depo Provera, also known as “the shot”, is an injectable progestin-only prescription birth
control. It contains no estrogen, and only requires an appointment every three months.
With the shot, there is no need to remember a daily pill. The shot is one of the most
effective types of reversible contraception, with only three out of every 1,000 women
getting pregnant with correct use. The protection is immediate if the shot is taken within
the first seven days of your period. The shot prevents ovulation and/or thickens cervical
mucus to prevent sperm from meeting the egg. Since it is estrogen-free, it can be used
while breastfeeding, by women over 35 who smoke and by women who have had blood
Implanon is a small, thin, progestin-only method that is effective for up to three years. A
capsule the size of a match is placed under the skin on the upper arm. Implanon prevents
ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus. When inserted correctly, Implanon is as
effective as sterilization with less than one woman becoming pregnant per 100.
Intrauterine Device (IUD).
An IUD, is a small, T-shaped contraceptive made of flexible plastic. It is inserted into the
uterus through the cervix. A string is attached that ends in the vagina allowing rapid
removal once the woman wishes to conceive. Two types are currently available in the
United States; the copper ParaGuard, which provides reversible sterilization for 12 years,
and Mirena, which releases a small amount of progestin for five years. They both work
by killing sperm in the uterus and prevent fertilization in the fallopian tube. Female
physicians in the U.S. and much of the world’s women choose to use the IUD. Less than
one in 100 women will become pregnant with an IUD. ParaGuard can also be used as
emergency contraception if inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex.
8. Diaphragm
The diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup with a flexible rim. It fits securely in the vagina to cover the cervix, blocking sperm from entering the uterus. For added protection, spermicide is put in the bowl of the diaphragm before insertion. 15 out of 100 women will become pregnant with typical use before starting their families and 25 of 100 will become pregnant who have already had at least one child through vaginal delivery. Emergency Contraception (EC)
Emergency contraception, or “the morning after pill” prevents pregnancy up to 120 hours
after unprotected sex. “Morning after” is actually a misnomer-- the pills can be taken
immediately after sex or up to five days later. The only packaged EC in the United States
is called “Plan B” and is available to women over 18 without a prescription. The pill
contains progestin that prevents ovulation and/or fertilization. The sooner the better, but
if taken within 72 hours, it reduces a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant by 85%.
EC will not cause an abortion or interrupt an existing pregnancy.
The Essure procedure is a new form of permanent birth control without an incision. It is
an excellent alternative to a tubal ligation. With Essure, a woman can avoid the hospital,
recover by the next day and still enjoy the benefit of permanent birth control that is over
99% effective. The doctor uses a miniature camera device to insert two spring-like coils
through the cervix into the fallopian tubes. Over the next three months, the body forms an
irreversible tissue barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg. A confirmation test
is then done to ensure that the tubes are completely blocked, and then all other forms of
contraception can be discontinued permanently.

For more information, contact Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia:
Virginia Beach--473-8116


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