Women: Do you know all your contraceptive choices?

– It has been said that most of life is about making choices and the rest is about luck. Every day, women are faced with numerous choices – both big and small, from which political affiliations we hold to how we raise our families to what to serve for dinner to how to style our hair. One area that we don’t often realize how many choices we have is the same area that should not be left to luck – birth control. 

Almost all sexually experienced women report having used some method of contraception so choosing birth control is a decision that most women will make at some point in their lives. However, according to the Guttmacher Institute, nearly half of the 3.1 million unintended pregnancies that occur in the U.S. each year occur in women who reported taking contraception during the month they conceived. 

What are your options?

There are many non-permanent methods of birth control to choose from which include everything from barrier methods to hormonal methods to implantable devices. Among women who use reversible contraception, most choose methods such as condoms and oral contraceptive pills. However, a recent study showed that many women overestimate the effectiveness of many of these options and that overestimation has potential implications for unplanned pregnancies.

“There are many contraceptive options and it can take some women a while to find the one that works best for them. Some of my patients have said that they have difficulty remembering to take a pill every day because they are just so busy. Others are not happy with the change to their cycle, along with any number of other reasons,” says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist in private practice in New Haven, Conn. “I encourage my patients to think about what is most important to them with contraception. I think women want the most effective solution that also meets their needs.”

Choosing a contraceptive method

Studies have shown that women prioritize effectiveness, safety and ease of use when choosing a contraceptive method. As you prepare for your next well-woman doctor’s visit, here are some questions you may wish to ask your health care provider about your contraceptive choices:

* How effective and reliable is my current birth control method?

* Does my family history or current medical condition affect my choice of birth control?

* How can I make sure I am using it correctly?

* Do I need a prescription? If so, how often will I need to refill it?

* If I decide to have a baby, how soon can I become pregnant after discontinuing this method?

* Can I breast feed with this birth control method?

* Could other medications I may take interfere with the effectiveness of my birth control method?

*Are there any side effects I should consider?

For more information, please visit www.BirthControlForYou.com

*Dr. Minkin is a paid spokesperson for Teva Women’s Health, Inc.

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