Pills, Patches and Implants: Our Complete Guide to Birth Control

Everything you always wanted to know about preventing pregnancy.

Posted: 08/13/2013 03:18 PM EDT

The array of contraception options can be dizzying. When you’re deciding on a birth control method, Planned Parenthood suggests you keep these seven considerations in mind: lifestyle fit, convenience, effectiveness, safety, affordability, reversibility and protection against sexually transmitted infections. We’ll add an eighth: You may need to make this decision a few times throughout your childbearing years; no one method will suit you for your entire life.

So sit back and let us guide you through the choices.

Abstinence

The only form of birth control that is 100 percent effective: Abstinence (also known as not having sex). Pregnancies (per 100 women): 0.

Cervical Cap

Similar to a diaphragm, but smaller, a cervical cap slips into place over the cervix, blocking sperm’s entry into the uterus. It is used in conjunction with spermicide. Cervical caps can stay in place for 48 hours, giving them a thumb’s up on the spontaneity front. Cervical caps must be fitted by a physician, and they provide no STI protection. They also can’t be used during your period. Pregnancies (per 100 women): 11 to 16 (women who have never had children); 22 to 32 (women who have had children).

Condom (female)

A thin rubber sheath with one closed end, the female condom was first introduced in 1994. Version two (quieter than the first version, which users complained squeaked) was released in 2009. In addition to being a contraceptive, the female condom also provides protection from sexually transmitted infections (STI). Like the male condom, the female condom is designed for one-time use. Unlike the male condom, an erect penis is required to use the female condom. Pregnancies (per 100 women): 20.

Read more about birth control methods to consider at BlackHealthMatters.Com.

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(Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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