One of the most serious decisions you make for yourself is what type of birth control to use. With so many different options on the market these days, it can be hard to decide which one would work best for you and your lifestyle.

Long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) like an IUD or the Depo Provera shot are great choices for those who don’t want to remember to take a pill every day — but they aren’t great for someone who doesn’t like needles or looking for a short-term family planning option.

Since your consistency with your birth control will have a major impact on how well it will protect you, it is important to understand all your choices.

Read on for a breakdown of the 10 most popular birth control choices on the market today and where you can go for comprehensive women’s healthcare in Las Vegas and Pahrump.

1. The Pill

If you're looking for a birth control method that is easy to use and generally well-tolerated, the pill may be a good option for you. “The pill” is a hormonal method of birth control that effectively prevents pregnancy in a few different ways:

  1. Regulating your hormone levels to prevent ovulation
  2. Thickening cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to pass through
  3. Thinning the lining of your uterus to make your period shorter and lighter

The pill is highly effective when used correctly but must be taken consistently — usually around the same day every single day. For women with busy schedules, this can be a challenge.

Although the pill is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when taken as directed, it is important to note that the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This means that you should use a barrier method like condoms if you are with a new or multiple partners. Although the pill is considered a short-term contraceptive because you can stop taking it anytime, it can be taken for as long as you’d like.

2. The Mini-Pill

Another family planning option is the mini-pill. The mini-pill is a type of birth control pill that only contains progestin hormone. Unlike combination pills, it doesn't contain estrogen. This is a good option for women who are sensitive to estrogen or who are breastfeeding.

3. Condoms

Condoms are a popular form of birth control that can be used by both men and women — as well as a staple for safe sex practices. They are highly effective at preventing pregnancy as well as protecting against STIs.

Condoms also come in a variety of materials, including latex, polyurethane, and natural materials like lambskin. So if you have a latex allergy, you can use polyurethane or natural condoms instead. Another advantage of condoms is that they are readily available at most drugstores and convenience stores — so you can purchase them without a prescription.

When using condoms, it is important to use them correctly every time you have sex. This means putting them on before any genital contact and using a new one for each act of intercourse. You should also make sure to check the expiration date and storage instructions before using a condom — expired or improperly stored condoms should not be used.

If you are considering using condoms as your primary form of birth control, make sure to use them correctly and consistently for maximum effectiveness.

4. Birth Control Patch

The birth control patch is a small, thin patch that releases hormones that your body absorbs through your skin. To use it, you simply apply it to a clean and dry area of your skin once a week for three weeks, then remove it for a week to allow your period to occur. After the fourth week, you start a new patch and repeat the cycle.

Since the patch only needs to be changed once a week, it is a convenient option for those who don't want to take a pill every day. However, some people may experience skin irritation or rashes where the patch is applied.

5. Vaginal Ring

A vaginal ring is a flexible, plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina to prevent pregnancy. It releases hormones that prevent ovulation and thickens cervical mucus to block sperm from reaching the egg. The ring is left in place for three weeks and then removed for one week to allow for menstruation.

One of the benefits of the vaginal ring is that it only needs to be inserted once a month, making it a convenient option for those who don't want to worry about taking a pill every day. It also has a lower dose of hormones compared to some other forms of birth control, which may be beneficial for those who are sensitive to hormonal changes.

6. Diaphragm

If you're looking for a non-hormonal option for birth control, the diaphragm may be a good choice for you. This barrier method is a small, flexible cup made of silicone or latex that fits inside the vagina and covers the cervix, preventing sperm from reaching the egg.

To use the diaphragm, you'll need to insert it before sex and use a spermicide to increase its effectiveness. It's important to note that the diaphragm must be left in place for at least six hours after sex to ensure maximum protection.

One of the benefits of the diaphragm is that it can be inserted well before sex, giving you more flexibility in your sexual activity. It's also reusable, making it a cost-effective option in the long run. However, the diaphragm does require some planning and preparation before sex, and it may not be as effective as other forms of birth control. Diaphragms also don’t protect against STIs.

7. Spermicide

Spermicide is a type of birth control that comes in the form of a cream, gel, foam, film, or suppository. It contains a non-hormonal chemical that kills sperm and can be used alone or with other methods, such as condoms.

Spermicide is easy to use and can be bought over the counter without a prescription. It is inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse and needs to be reapplied for each act of intercourse. It is important to follow the instructions carefully to ensure maximum effectiveness.

Spermicide is not as effective as some other methods of birth control, such as the pill or IUD, and has a failure rate of around 21% with typical use. It also does not protect against STIs.

8. Depo-Provera Shot

If you're looking for a birth control method that requires minimal effort and gives you a slightly longer amount of protection, the Depo-Provera shot may be a great option for you. This shot is an injection of hormones that is administered every three months.

9. Intrauterine Device (IUD)

If you're looking for a long-term reversible contraceptive (LARC), an intrauterine device (IUD) might be a good fit for you. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into your uterus by a healthcare provider. There are two types of IUDs:

  1. A hormonal IUD that works by releasing small doses of hormones and is good for three to five years.
  2. A non-hormonal IUD, commonly known as a copper IUD or ParaGard, works by creating an inflammatory response that makes it difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg. This type of IUD is good for up to ten years.

Keep in mind that IUDs do not protect against STIs, so you should still use condoms or other barrier methods if you are at risk of being exposed to an STI.

10. Contraceptive Implant

A LARC birth control option that does not require placement in the uterus is also available. A contraceptive implant is a small, flexible rod that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm by a healthcare provider and can last for up to three years.

This contraceptive implant releases a hormone called progestin, which prevents pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus. It's over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, making it one of the most reliable forms of birth control available today. Like an IUD, having a contraception implant means that you don't have to remember to take a pill every day. However, the implant also does not protect against STIs.

Where to Find a Trusted OB-GYN in Las Vegas and Pahrump

Finding the right birth control method for you is a very important and personal decision. Establishing care with a trusted and compassionate healthcare provider can help! Dr. Alexander Norton, Jr. and his experienced staff at Spring Mountain Women’s Health in Las Vegas and Pahrump are here to help you find the right birth control and to support you with all of your gynecological needs — including prenatal care, pap smears, menopause support, and specialized care.

Spring Mountain Women’s Health is committed to offering supportive women’s healthcare where women will always feel comfortable and listened to.  

Ready for the best pregnancy protection with the right birth control in Las Vegas?