Unlike in the past when birth control options were limited, couples can now choose from many options. Picking the right method requires in-depth conversations with your partner and doctor, so you can choose a method that works well with your lifestyle.
What if you’ve both decided that you don’t want any more children? Most likely, you want to choose a low-maintenance method that doesn’t require remembering to take a pill every day or finding a condom if you prefer some spontaneity.
At the Miami Institute for Women’s Health, Dr. Peter Khamvongsa and Dr. Charlotte Paz-Pabon are dedicated to providing the best OB/GYN services for the women of Miami, Florida and the surrounding areas — as well as scores of international patients — and managing your birth control plan is an integral part of these services.
As a triple-board-certified OB/GYN, Dr. Khamvongsa is committed to creating a treatment plan that’s designed for you and you alone. He listens, weighs options with you, and always treats you with respect and dignity.
You’ve decided your family is complete
It’s only natural to feel a range of emotions when you realize that your childbearing days have concluded, whether you have one child or four.
Once you and your partner have determined you won’t be adding another car seat to the mix, it’s time to talk to Dr. Khamvongsa about which contraceptive methods will work with your new lifestyle.
Birth control basics
Let’s break up the types of birth control into broad classifications:
1. Hormonal birth control
This type of contraception, as its name suggests, impacts your hormones to prevent pregnancy. They typically contain either estrogen and progestin, or progestin only.
Most hormonal birth control methods work to prevent pregnancy by stopping the release of a mature egg, so it’s not present to be fertilized. Others prevent an egg from being able to be implanted in the womb. Hormonal IUDs prevent the egg’s release and thicken your cervical mucus, so sperm can’t reach the egg.
Hormonal birth control methods include birth control pills, shots, patches, arm implants, rings, and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs). Though not hormonal, another type of IUD is the copper IUD, which releases minute amounts of copper into your system to prevent fertilization.
2. Barrier methods
Barrier methods prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and include condoms, diaphragms, female condoms (which are placed in the vagina), cervical caps, and birth control sponges. Spermicide, when used with male condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps, increases the effectiveness of these methods.
3. Fertility awareness
This method of birth control requires that you keep track of the days in your cycle when you’re most likely to become pregnant, and either abstain from sex or use another form of birth control on those days.
This method is less effective than the others, and you need to have very regular periods in order to feel confident about preventing pregnancy while practicing it. Many women don’t have regular periods, which makes fertility awareness a choice that isn’t preferred for the 14-25% of women whose periods are irregular, and either longer or shorter than normal.
Your family is the “just right” size: What about birth control?
If you’re into the idea of low maintenance, you probably prefer birth control methods you don’t have to think about too much — which eliminates options like the birth control pill, condoms, and diaphragms.
The first important consideration is examining whether to opt for reversible versus irreversible methods. Permanent birth control is tubal ligation, when your doctor cuts, ties, or blocks your fallopian tubes. This is a safe and often minimally invasive procedure.
Another permanent method is Essure, an outpatient procedure where your doctor places small fiber and metal coils on your fallopian tubes, which create scar tissue within them that becomes a barrier, making it impossible for sperm to reach an egg.
Unfortunately, many women who have had this procedure done experienced serious side effects and problems, including uterine perforation, bleeding, pelvic pain, and more. Many women have had to have them removed, and Dr. Khamvongsa can provide this service.
Excellent long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) choices for women who won’t be having more children are:
- IUDs, which don’t have to be changed out for years (hormonal IUDs last for five years, copper IUDs for 10)
- The birth control implant, which is a small rod whose insertion in the upper arm is easily tolerated by patients, and lasts for three years
- The contraception injection, which is given in office every three months
Not only are these long-lasting, no-fuss birth control methods, they’re about 20 times more effective than vaginal rings, birth control pills, and patches, per Planned Parenthood.
Call our North Kendall Drive office at 786-220-2184 to set up an appointment with Dr. Khamvongsa, or use our online booking tool.