What is the best method of birth control?
The best birth control is the one that most effectively prevents pregnancy and fits with your lifestyle. Generally, a male condom plus another form of birth control is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy.
What’s “best” among birth control methods differs from person to person. What’s right for you may not be right for everyone. And your needs may change over time.
How Birth Control Works?
- Behavior. This is something you and your partner decide to do to avoid pregnancy. For example, you could bar sexual intercourse altogether (abstinence), or avoid it at points in a woman’s cycle when she is likely to get pregnant (fertility awareness), or remove the penis from the vagina before ejaculation (withdrawal).
- Barrier. This type goes on or in your body before you have sex to block sperm from getting to the egg.
- Hormonal. This type changes a woman’s body chemistry. (Depending on the hormones, it stops ovaries from releasing eggs, thickens the mucus around your cervix to keep sperm from reaching the egg, or thins the lining of the uterus.)
- Medical. This is a procedure that changes your body.
Birth Control Methods
How it works: Some people consider abstinence to mean zero sexual contact (complete abstinence). Others say it’s when the penis does not have contact with the vagina (contraceptive abstinence).
- Sterilization surgery for women
How it works: A doctor blocks, ties, clamps, seals, or cuts the two fallopian tubes that connect a woman’s ovaries and uterus. It’s also known as a tubal ligation or “getting your tubes tied.”
- Birth control implant
How it works: Using a needle, a doctor puts a matchstick-sized rod with progestin under the skin on your arm.
- Progestin IUD (Kyleena, Liletta, Mirena, Skyla)
How it works: A small T-shaped device that has progestin goes into your uterus.
- Copper IUD
How it works: A small T-shaped device with copper goes into your uterus. It keeps sperm from reaching or fertilizing the egg. It may keep the egg from attaching to the lining of your uterus.
- Vaginal ring
How it works: You put a flexible plastic ring into your vagina. It releases progestin and estrogen.
- Birth control patch
How it works: You stick a square patch that’s about 2 inches across on your abdomen, buttocks, arm, or back. Your skin absorbs estrogen and progestin from it. Use it for 3 weeks, and then skip a week so you have a period.
- Birth control pill
How it works: You take a pill with progestin and estrogen every day.