Family planning services
for women and men
I Need Info on Birth Control
Birth control – also known as contraception – prevents you from becoming pregnant when you’re not ready.
It also helps you plan for your family’s future by helping you space when you have your children. IFHC’s Family Planning locations provide low-cost or free birth control both on-site and by referral including:
Natural family planning or the fertility awareness method is a non-hormonal contraceptive method. To use this method you have to learn your monthly fertility pattern, which is knowing the number of days in the month when you are most likely to become pregnant (conceive). During your fertile times, you can choose to not have sex or use a barrier method such as condoms to avoid pregnancy.
The effectiveness of using this method for pregnancy prevention depends on using the method correctly and consistently. Because there are the various approaches to these methods, effectiveness rates vary.
A contraceptive implant is a thin, matchstick-sized, plastic rod that is placed under the skin inside the upper arm. The contraceptive implant will prevent pregnancy for up to three years. After three years, a healthcare provider can easily remove the old implant and replace it with a new one. The rod can also be taken out anytime if you decide you want to get pregnant or for any other reason.
Out of 100 women using the implant, less than one may become pregnant.
This injection or “shot” is given by your healthcare provider in the buttocks or arm every three months. Of 100 women who use this method each year, six may become pregnant. That number includes women who do not get the shot on time.
The birth control pill or oral contraceptives combine the hormones estrogen and progestin. The pills must be taken at the same time each day. Out of 100 women who use the pill about nine of them may become pregnant. When used correctly, the risk of pregnancy is lower.
The progestin-only pill also known as the mini-pill only has the hormone progestin in it. The pill must be taken at the same time each day.
If you are late taking a mini-pill by more than three hours, you will need to not have sex or use an additional type of birth control (such as a condom or diaphragm) for two consecutive days to prevent pregnancy, but continue also to take the mini-pill every day. Our of 100 women, five may become pregnant on the mini-pill.
The ring is a small, flexible, plastic ring that is inserted in the vagina for three weeks and then removed during the week you have a menstrual cycle. You will use a new ring after each menstrual cycle.
Out of 100 women, about nine may become pregnant. If used correctly, the ring can be an effective method of birth control.
Worn over an erect penis, the male condom can prevent pregnancy and protect you from STDs. Condoms can be made of latex, which is the most common or other materials such as lambskin. Condoms can only be used once.
Of 100 women whose partners use male condoms, about 18 may become pregnant. Condoms are more effective at preventing pregnancy when they are used correctly every time you have sex.
The female condom is a thin, but strong pouch that can be inserted into the vagina up to eight hours before sexual intercourse. The female condom can also be used for safe anal sex. The condom can help prevent unintended pregnancy and acts as a barrier to STDs.
The failure rate for the female condom is 79 percent effective. Female condoms can only be used once and should not be used with a male condom as the friction from both can cause the condoms to break.
This barrier method is placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix to block sperm. The diaphragm is shaped like a shallow cup and must be used with spermicide. The diaphragm can be inserted up to two hours before sexual intercourse and should be left in place for at least six hours after sex.
Diaphragms are 84 to 94 percent effective. The risk of pregnancy doubles if you do not use these methods correctly.
Spermicides come in various forms such as vaginal creams, foams, films, suppositories and sponges. They contain chemicals that kill the sperm and are placed into the body prior to sex. However, spermicides are typically used with a barrier method such as a condom or diaphragm. Using a spermicide alone is not effective at preventing pregnancies or STDs.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills
Emergency contraception is not a regular method of birth control. This is to be used after having unprotected sex or if the birth control method failed. There are two types of emergency contraceptives:
- One is the Copper T IUD, which can be inserted within five days of unprotected sex.
- Various brands of contraceptive pills, which can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but the sooner the pills are taken, the better they will work.
The withdrawal or pulling out prevents fertilization by not allowing semen (and sperm) to enter the vagina so that sperm does not reach the egg. Before ejaculating (cumming) the male will pull his penis out of the vagina away from the partner’s genitals.
The person withdrawing must depend on their judgment of their physical sensations to decide when they are about to ejaculate in order to withdraw in time.The effectiveness of using withdrawal depends on using it correctly and consistently —specifically on the ability to withdraw the penis before ejaculation. With typical use, 20 women out of 100 will become pregnant in the first year of use.
Unless using a barrier method like a condom, this method does not protect against STDs.
“IUD” stands for “intrauterine device,” a plastic, T-shaped contraceptive device that helps to prevent pregnancy. There are also copper IUDs, which are wrapped in copper wire that creates a toxic liquid that kills sperm.
Hormonal IUDs contain hormones that kill sperm and thicken the cervical mucus, preventing sperm penetration. This form of birth control must be inserted by a health care specialist and, depending on the type, can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. However, IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so it is important to use condoms along with IUDs for additional protection. When used properly, IUDs are an effective mode of birth control with an approximate yearly success rate of over 99 percent.
If you are interested in Female/Male Sterilization, IFHC funded clinics can make the referral to the appropriate provider.
A Family Planning staff member can talk privately with you about the above options.