If you're sexually active, choosing the right method to prevent pregnancy and protect you from STIs can be a tough decision. I've already told you about some popular methods of birth control, but here are some other options you may want to consider.
To see them
|The Patch||You only have to think about it once a week and it's discreet (you wear it on your upper arm, upper torso, belly, or bum). You can bathe, shower, work out, or swim with it, and it's 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.||Some women don't like taking hormones since there are serious risks involved such as blood clots and stroke. It may leave a sticky mark on your skin, and you have to check it every day because some women complain that it peels or falls off.|
|IUCs (previously called IUDs)||It's inserted in your uterus, so it can't be felt during sex. Also, it can be left inside you for up to five or 10 years (depending on the kind you get), so it's great if you know it'll be a while until you're ready to start a family or if you've already had children and aren't planning on having anymore. You can get IUCs that are with or without hormones and it's 99.4 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.||It has to be inserted by your gynecologist, which some women say can be very painful. After it's inserted, you may experience irregular bleeding and cramps.|
|Diaphragms||Once you get fitted, if you take care of it properly, your diaphragm should last one to two years. It doesn't change your menstrual cycle or affect your future fertility. It usually can't be felt during intercourse, and it can be kept inside you for up to 24 hours.||It's only 84 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and it doesn't protect you against STIs and using one may cause a urinary tract infection. You also have to use spermicide with it, which some women find irritating to their lady business. It may become dislodged while you're having sex, which would make it even less effective at preventing pregnancy. If your weight fluctuates by 10 pounds, you'll need to be refitted for a new size. Also, if you have a latex allergy, this method isn't for you.|
|Cervical Caps||Once your gynecologist fits you for one, you can keep it for a year or more. It's reusable, and it won't affect your menstrual cycle or your future fertility. If you're allergic to latex, there's a latex-free version called the FemCap.||It's only 86 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and won't protect you against STIs. Some women have a hard time inserting and removing it. Also, you have to use it with spermicide, which can be messy and irritating.|
These are just some of the methods that are available to women. Stay tuned for part three.