If you’ve found yourself mystified by which birth control you should choose, Oohvie is here to help. It’s important to understand that not all contraceptives are equally effective and may not protect against STDs and HIV. Always use condoms in conjunction with your personal contraceptive to ensure the highest safety (CDC, 2020). Talk with women just like you in the app’s Oohvie Community Forum to read first-hand how real women felt about the contraceptive methods below.
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)
IUDs are t-shaped devices inserted into the uterus during an out-patient procedure. The device works by preventing the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb and fallopian tubes. IUDs may also prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb (NHS, 2020). You can use one regardless of whether you’ve already had children as a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC). Once the IUD is implanted, it begins working immediately, lasts for years, and is 99% effective (NHS, 2020).
Levonorgestrel intrauterine systems are also known as the hormonal IUD. The device parses out a small amount of progestin daily to stop pregnancy. They have a low typical use failure rate of 0.1-0.4% (CDC, 2020). Hormonal IUDs can last up to three to six years. Copper IUDs, also known as ParaGard in the United States, is a copper coil device encased inside plastic. It does not contain hormones. This type can last in the uterus for up to ten years and has a minuscule failure rate of 0.8% (Mayo Clinic).
Implants, pills, patches, and rings are all considered hormonal contraception. They use a tiny amount of estrogen and progestin to stop the cyclical hormones that encourage pregnancy. These methods disrupt ovulation and strengthen cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to pass through. Hormonal birth control also alters the womb lining so a fertilized egg cannot implant.
The CDC reports that oral contraceptives, patches, and rings have the same effectiveness when used correctly and a typical use failure rate of 7%. The pill is meant to be taken at the same time each day and may not be advised for women older than thirty-five, who smoke, or who have a history of blood clots. Patches and rings are replaced weekly for three consecutive weeks. Users can skip the fourth week for their period (CDC, 2020).
Implants and injections are popular, because like the IUD, they don’t require frequent maintenance. Hormonal implants are thin rods that are inserted beneath the skin of the upper arm. Typically, they can be worn for three years with a failure rate of 0.1%. Injections, also known as “the Depo,” are shots of progestin in the buttocks or upper arm every three months. If the shots are administered on time, they have a typical use failure rate of 4% (CDC, 2020).
Unlike the other methods of birth control discussed, barrier methods are only used during intercourse. Diaphragms and cervical caps are shaped like shallow cups and are placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix and block sperm. Visit your doctor to have them fitted correctly to your size. Diaphragms and cups have a typical use failure of 17% (CDC, 2020).
Contraceptive sponges contain spermicides and are placed over the cervix. It lasts for twenty-four hours and must be left in for at least six hours after intercourse. For women who have never had children, sponges have a 14% typical use failure rate; 27% for women who have had children (CDC, 2020).
No matter what contraceptive method you choose, update Oohvie with your plan for a healthy lifestyle. Remember to set medication and pill reminders to stay on track and keep your doctor in-the-know. Be well, be healthy, be Oohvie.
“Contraception.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13 Aug. 2020, www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/index.htm.
“Copper IUD (ParaGard).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 Feb. 2020, www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/paragard/about/pac-20391270.
“The Different Types of Contraception.” NHS Inform, 18 Sept. 2020, www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/contraception/getting-started/the-different-types-of-contraception#iud-intrauterine-device-coil.