Birth Control - What Works Best?

When selecting the right birth control method, it's certainly important to understand how effective each method is. Methods generally have two separate ratings for their effectiveness; one is based on the perfect use by the couple and the other is based on typical use. The typical use takes into account all sorts of errors that people tend to make, such as not using the condom correctly, forgetting to take the pill sometimes, etc. Examining the overall effectiveness of each type of birth control method can help you to make an informed decision for yourself.

The Pill

With proper use of birth control pills, the effectiveness is quite high. According to Planned Parenthood, only one in 100 women become pregnant each year if the pill is used perfectly for the entire year. With typical use, accounting for error, this percentage is 8% or 8 out of 100 women. Along with forgetting to take the pill, there are a few other things that can reduce its effectiveness. These include illnesses that cause vomiting, certain antibiotics (ask your doctor), some anti-fungal medications that are taken by mouth, some anti-seizure drugs and some HIV drugs. The patch and the ring have similar statistics to the pill and similar issues that can interfere with their effectiveness.

The Shot

The birth control shot, called Dep-Provera, had only 3 out of 1000 women get pregnant over a year with both perfect and typical use. The only item that can interfere with its effectiveness, as far as researchers know at this time, is Aminoglutethimide, a medicine used to treat some tumors.

Condoms

Condoms, with perfect use, have two pregnancies out of 100 women over a one year use. However, in real-life use, it is more typical to see 15 of 100 women become pregnant. It's often recommended to use another method of protection along with condoms because of the human error that is so typical.

IUDs

IUDs are a very sound form of birth control and are very commonly used in Europe. They don't prevent STDs or AIDS, but they are very useful against pregnancy. They can be left in place for several years and don't interrupt or stop the flow of intimacy, as condoms sometimes can. The chance of getting pregnant with an IUD is less than one woman for every 100 women watched over a one year period.

Diaphragms

Diaphragms are another easy-to-use form of birth control that is discreet. Again, like IUDs, they do not prevent STDs or AIDS. About six pregnancies out of 100 women occur over a one year use when used correctly. With typical use, there are about 16 women out of 100 who will become pregnant in a one year period of time. Other similar devices, like the cervical cap and Lea's shield have the same rates for typical use.

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