Know Your Birth Control Options
They look like devices from outer space, but they’ve marked one giant leap for womankind. Here are the best methods for your age and life stage.
When you’re choosing which birth control to use, you have a lot to think about. “Age is one of the first things to consider,” says Thomas Migliaccio, a gynecologist in Hoboken, New Jersey. “But you also need to factor in your menstrual and medical histories, convenience, and cost.” Generally, all the methods discussed here can be effective for most women. But to help narrow your options, these are the best bets based on what you’re probably looking for from your contraception.
In Your 20s and Early 30s
What’s on your mind
You could be looking to prevent pregnancy now but planning to conceive in the distant future. You might already have babies on the brain. Or you may be in between. In other words, you need contraception with some flexibility.
Methods to consider
Delivered by an injection once every three months, Depo-Provera contains progesterone, which helps prevent ovulation and thickens cervical mucus to block sperm from entering the uterus. It can be a good choice for women who can’t take estrogen. This method is best for those who don’t plan to conceive soon, since in some cases it can take up to a year for fertility to return.
Benefits: The longer you’re on Depo-Provera, the lighter your periods become (some women even stop getting them). And you don’t have to take a daily pill.
Downsides: You have to visit your gynecologist every three months for an injection. Also, studies show that this method can cause bone loss over time, so you don’t want to stay on it longer than five years, says Migliaccio.
Cost: $40 to $100 a shot; may be covered by insurance.