Types of birth control

Details of birth control types below table

Type Options Available Effectiveness How often to use it Protection from STIs* Cost**
Abstinence Abstinence 100% Always Yes None
Barrier Male Condom (many varieties) 85% A new one must be used every time before intercourse Yes < $1-$6 ea.
Barrier Female Condom 80% A new one must be used every time before intercourse Yes ~$4
Barrier Cervical Cap 80% Used every time before intercourse and spermicide must be applied with each use No $60-$75 (once)
Barrier Contraceptive Sponge 80% Inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse No $9-$15 for a pack of 3
Barrier Diaphragm 80% Used every time before intercourse and spermicide must be applied with each use No $15-$75
Hormonal Oral Contraceptives- Combination pills (Progestin and Estrogen) [most popular] 95% Every day at approximately the same time No $10-$50 a month
Hormonal Oral Contraceptives- Progestin Only 95% Every day at approximately the same time No $10-$50 a month
Hormonal Contraceptive Injection 99% Once every three months No $35-$75 per injection
Hormonal Contraceptive Patch 95% Apply once a week for three weeks then week four is patch free No $15-$50 a month
Hormonal Vaginal Ring- estrogen and progestin 95% It is left in place for three weeks and taken out for the remaining week each month No $15-$50 a month
Hormonal Contraceptive Implant 99% It is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It protects against pregnancy for up to three years No $400-$800 (3 yrs)
Intrauterine Device (IUD) Intrauterine Device (IUD)- Progestin (Mirena and Skyla) 99% Inserted by a physician inter uterus No $175-$750 (up to 5 yrs for Mirena)(up to 3 yrs for Skyla)
Intrauterine Device(IUD) Intrauterine Device (IUD)- Copper (Paragard) 99% Inserted by a physician inter uterus No $175-$650 (up to 12 yrs)
Other Spermicides 80% Used every time before intercourse No $5-$10
Permanent Female- Tubal Ligation Nearly 100% Surgical procedure done one time No $1,500-$6,000
Permanent Essure 99% Inserted by a physician one time inter uterus No ~$2400
Permanent Male- Vasectomy Nearly 100% Surgical procedure done one time No $350-$1,000
Emergency Contraception Oral Contraceptive 89% when taken within 72 hours Not intended for ongoing birth control method No $10-$70

*Sexually Transmitted Infections

**Birth control costs can vary

Birth Control Coverage By Insurance

Depending on insurance, many women can receive contraception listed above for no additional cost or copay.  As of July 2015, all plans, except for the following, must provide at least one method from each of the 18 of the selected FDA approved birth control categories, at no out of pocket cost when you have a prescription.  Three exceptions to this rule are, religious employers, grandfathered health plans (plans purchased before March 2010) and short-term health insurance.  Health plans are allowed to limit free coverage to some generic drugs and devices.  Plans are not required to cover drugs to induce abortions.  Required coverage also does not include male vasectomies.  Contraception coverage is subject to change; so make sure to check with your health insurance provider before deciding on a method.

Abstinence

Abstaining from sexual intercourse is the only 100% effective method of contraception.

How often this birth control method must be used: 100% of the time

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: Yes, if abstaining from all sexual contact. Please note that if you are only abstaining from sexual intercourse, but are engaging in other sexual contact then you may be at risk of contracting a STI.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None

Pros of this method: 100% effective contraception

Cons of this method: None

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None

Male Condom

malecondomCondoms are thin latex or plastic sheaths that are worn on the penis during intercourse. Sometimes they are called rubbers, safes, or jimmies. They prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Condoms are available in different styles and colors, and are available dry, lubricated, and with spermicide.

How often this birth control method must be used: A new one must be used every time before intercourse.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: Yes.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None.

Pros of this method: Provides protection from STIs. Widely available and does not require a doctor’s prescription.

Cons of this method: Allergies to latex can be a concern, but condoms are available in polyurethane as well.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Female Condom

femalecondomThe female condom is a plastic pouch that is used during intercourse to prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. It has flexible rings at each end. Just before vaginal intercourse, it is inserted deep into the vagina. The ring at the closed end holds the pouch in the vagina. The ring at the open end stays outside the vaginal opening during intercourse. And during anal intercourse, it is inserted into the anus.

How often this birth control method must be used: A new one must be used every time before intercourse.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: Yes.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None.

Pros of this method: Provides protection from STIs. Available without prescription and does not require a doctor’s application.

Cons of this method: Some women may experience vaginal irritation or irritation of the vulva by the outer ring. (Female condom is non-latex)

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Cervical Cap

3_capsThe cervical cap is a silicone cup shaped like a sailor’s hat. You insert it into your vagina and over your cervix. FemCap is the only brand of cervical cap available in the United States today. The cervical cap requires an exam prior to prescription.

How often this birth control method must be used: Used every time before intercourse and spermicide must be applied with each use.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None.

Pros of this method: Does not interrupt spontaneity – can be inserted hours before sexual intercourse.

Cons of this method: Some women may experience vaginal irritation. Though rare, other risks include: Urinary tract infection, vaginal infection, or toxic shock syndrome with prolonged use.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Birth Control Sponge

bcspongeThe sponge is made of plastic foam and contains spermicide. It is soft, round, and about two inches in diameter. It has a nylon loop attached to the bottom for removal. It is inserted deep into the vagina before intercourse.

How often this birth control method must be used: Inserted up to 24 hours prior to intercourse.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None.

Pros of this method: Can be inserted up to 24 hours prior to intercourse, allowing for spontaneity.

Cons of this method: Some sponge users complain of vaginal dryness, itching or soreness. Others experience allergic reactions to sponge materials or difficulty removing the sponge.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Diaphragm

diaphragmThe diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup with a flexible rim. It is made of latex. You insert it into the vagina. When it is in place, it covers the cervix.

How often this birth control method must be used: Used every time before intercourse and spermicide must be applied with each use.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None.

Pros of this method: Does not interrupt spontaneity – can be inserted hours before sexual intercourse.

Cons of this method: Some women may experience vaginal irritation. Though rare, other risks include: Urinary tract infection, vaginal infection, or toxic shock syndrome with prolonged use. Latex allergy also a concern.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Birth Control Pill (Oral Contraceptives)

ocpBirth control pills are a kind of medication that women can take daily to prevent pregnancy. Oral Contraceptives come in both estrogen/progestin as well as progestin-only forms. There are many brands of birth control pills that include variations in the hormone dosage. If considering the birth control pill, speak with your doctor about which pill would be best for you.

Estrogen/Progestin

How often this birth control method must be used: Everyday at approximately the same time (some varieties only require three weeks of pills, with one week of placebo pills)

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: May be delayed a few cycles.

Pros of this method: Does not interrupt spontaneity; no surgical or injection component.

Cons of this method: Side effects may include headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and depression. Research has not shown any link between taking the pill and weight gain. The most serious potential complication is a slightly increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots, especially for women who smoke over the age of 35.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: Yes, Women who take AEDs may be at risk for interaction risks, including birth control failure or seizure frequency increase (see more in section “Special Considerations for Women with Epilepsy”).

Progestin-Only Pills

How often this birth control method must be used: Everyday at approximately the same time (some varieties only require three weeks of pills, with one week of placebo pills).

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: May be delayed a few cycles.

Pros of this method: Does not interrupt spontaneity; no surgical or injection component.

Cons of this method: The major side effect associated with the progestin-only pill is irregular menstrual bleeding. Periods often become short and light, and some women don’t bleed for several months at a time. However, some women experience persistent spotting. Other side effects include weight gain, breast tenderness and depression.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: Yes, Women who take AEDs may be at risk for drug interactions and birth control failure or possibly increase in seizure frequency (see more in section “Special Considerations for Women with Epilepsy”).

Birth Control Shot

bcshotThe birth control shot is an injection of a hormone that prevents pregnancy. Each shot prevents pregnancy for three months.

How often this birth control method must be used: Once every three months.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: May be delayed up to a year.

Pros of this method: Reduces the occurrence of menstrual cramps; doesn’t effect spontaneity; an option for women who must avoid estrogen.

Cons of this method: You’ll experience changes in your menstrual periods while using Depo-Provera. Periods may become irregular or unpredictable, or you may not bleed at all. The absence of periods isn’t harmful, and periods typically return to normal after you stop using Depo-Provera. Other side effects may include weight gain. Prolonged use of Depo-Provera may result in bone loss during use, but bone density returns to normal when you stop using Depo-Provera.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: Elimination of the menstrual cycle may lessen seizures in some women with epilepsy (see more in the “Special Considerations for Women with Epilepsy” section)

Birth Control Patch

bcpatchThe birth control patch is a thin, beige, plastic patch that sticks to the skin. It is used to prevent pregnancy. A new patch is placed on the skin once a week for three weeks in a row, followed by a patch-free week.

How often this birth control method must be used: Apply once a week for three weeks then week four is patch free.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: May be delayed a few cycles.

Pros of this method: Does not interrupt spontaneity.

Cons of this method: The most common side effects are skin irritation, headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating and depression. Women who use the patch may be at a slightly increased risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots especially if for smokers over 35.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: Yes, women who take AEDs may be at risk for drug interactions and birth control failure or possibly increase in seizure frequency (see more in the “Special Considerations for Women with Epilepsy” section).

Birth Control Vaginal Ring

bcringThe vaginal ring is a small, flexible ring a woman inserts into her vagina once a month to prevent pregnancy. It is left in place for three weeks and taken out for the remaining week each month. The vaginal ring is commonly called NuvaRing, its brand name.

How often this birth control method must be used: It is left in place for three weeks and taken out for the remaining week each month.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: May be delayed for a few weeks after discontinuing use of the ring.

Pros of this method: Does not interrupt spontaneity.

Cons of this method: Side effects of the vaginal ring may include vaginal infections and irritation, irregular vaginal bleeding, headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, bloating and depression. Women who use the vaginal ring may be at a slightly increased risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots especially if they smoke and are over 35.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: Yes, women who take AEDs may be at risk for drug interactions and birth control failure or possibly increase in seizure frequency (see more in “Special Considerations for Women with Epilepsy” section).

Birth Control Implant

bcimplantImplanon is a thin, flexible plastic implant about the size of a cardboard matchstick. It is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It protects against pregnancy for up to three years.

How often this birth control method must be used: It is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It protects against pregnancy for up to three years.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: Long-term fertility is not affected and there is very little delay in return of fertility following removal.

Pros of this method: No interruption of spontaneity or risk of improper use; lasts for three years.

Cons of this method: Implanon can cause irregular menstrual bleeding and spotting. For some women, Implanon stops menstruation entirely. Other side effects may include acne, headaches, breast tenderness and weight changes. Not yet widely available.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: Like the birth control pills, the implant is a hormonal contraception and there is a possibility that women who take some AEDs may be at risk for birth control failure or possibly seizure frequency increase. (see more in the “Special Considerations for Women with Epilepsy” section).

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

IUDThe letters IUD stand for “intrauterine device.” IUDs are small, “T-shaped” devices made of flexible plastic. A health care provider inserts an IUD into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two kinds of IUDs used: copper and hormonal.

Copper (Paragard)

How often this birth control method must be used: Inserted by a physician into uterus and can stay in place for up to 12 years.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: Can return within about 1 month

Pros of this method: High efficacy rate; No preparation time or interruption of spontaneity.

Cons of this method: Side effects can be increased menstrual bleeding and menstrual pain. IUDs also provide no protection from STIs.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Progestin (Mirena and Skyla)

How often this birth control method must be used: Inserted by a physician into uterus and can stay in place for up to either 3 years (Skyla) or 5 years (Mirena)

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: Can return within about 1 month

Pros of this method: No interruption of spontaneity or risk of improper use

Cons of this method: The major side effect of hormonal IUD use is decreased menstrual bleeding. Some women have unpredictable, light menstrual flow, while many may have no flow at all. Most women report discomfort and cramping during and after IUD insertion.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Spermicide

Spermicide is a birth control method that contains chemicals that stop sperm from moving. Spermicides are available in different forms, including creams, film, foams, gels, and suppositories.
Spermicide can be used alone, or it can be used with other birth control methods to make them more effective. It is always used with the diaphragm and cervical cap.

How often this birth control method must be used: Used every time before intercourse.

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: None.

Pros of this method: Available without prescription and does not require a doctor’s application.

Cons of this method: Spermicidal agents may irritate the vagina. Other risk can include urinary tract infection.

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Female Sterilization

Tubal Ligation

sterilizationSterilization is a form of birth control. One type of sterilization commonly referred to is tubal ligation. All sterilization procedures are meant to be permanent.
During a sterilization procedure, a health care provider closes or blocks a woman’s fallopian tubes. Closing the tubes can be done in several ways.
One way is by tying and cutting the tubes — this is called tubal ligation. The fallopian tubes also can be sealed using an instrument with an electrical current. They also can be closed with clips, clamps, or rings. Sometimes, a small piece of the tube is removed.

How often this birth control method must be used: Surgical Procedure done 1 time

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: Yes

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: Permanent, unless surgically reversed

Pros of this method: High efficacy rate; No preparation time or interruption of spontaneity.

Cons of this method: No STI protection; Effects fertility

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known

Fallopian Tube Coil (Essure)

The fallopian tube coil (Essure) is a coil made out of nickel-titanium alloy that is inserted once into each fallopian tube by a physician. The coil acts as a barrier to prevent the sperm from fertilizing the eggs. It is a permanent, non-hormonal form of birth control.ebcrpic

How often this birth control method must be used: One time permanent insertion

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No.

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: Essure is irreversible and not for women who are unsure about ending their fertility.

Pros of this method: No interruption of spontaneity, non-surgical, non-hormonal, only requires one insertion.

Cons of this method: Some women may experience moderate pain, cramping, vaginal bleeding, pelvic or back pain, nausea, vomiting, or fainting. Although unlikely, if a woman becomes pregnant on Essure, she is more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known.

Vasectomy

vasectomyDuring a vasectomy, a health care provider closes or blocks the tubes that carry sperm. When the tubes are closed, sperm cannot leave a man’s body and cause pregnancy.

How often this birth control method must be used: Surgical Procedure done 1 time

Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) protection: No

Effects on fertility after discontinuing use of contraception: Permanent, unless surgically reversed

Pros of this method: High efficacy rate; No preparation time or interruption of spontaneity.

Cons of this method: No STI protection; Effects fertility

Considerations specifically for women with epilepsy: None known

 

Information and images retrieved and modified from:

The Center For Disease Control and Prevention

Planned Parenthood