Types of Birth Control

Different Types of Birth Control

There are many types of birth control, and all have different advantages. Before you choose a birth control method, you should compare them all to decide which is best for you.

Types of Birth Control


The birth control pill is a hormonal pill that you take daily. It stops ovulation and thickens cervical mucus, which makes it very effective for preventing pregnancy. When you take it every day at the same time, it is 99 percent effective. Overall, it has a 91 percent effectiveness rate because it’s easy to forget to take it or to take it late.

It doesn’t usually cause any health issues, but people who have had blood clots, breast cancer, heart attack, or migraines should avoid this form of birth control. Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain
  • Spotting

Side effects usually go away after a few months.


The birth control shot, also known as Depo-Provera or Depo, contains the hormone progestin and prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus. It lasts for three months, so you only have to visit your doctor four times per year for birth control. If you wait for longer than three months to get the next shot, your risk of pregnancy will increase. Overall, Depo-Provera has a 94 percent effectiveness rate, but when it’s used perfectly, it’s 99 percent effective.

Many people like Depo-Provera because they only have to worry about it once every three months. However, some people experience side effects like weight gain, nausea, and headaches.


This birth control method is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. There are five brands:

  • ParaGard
  • Mirena
  • Kyleena
  • Skyla
  • Liletta

ParaGard is made of copper and is non-hormonal, which makes it an ideal choice for many women. It can last up to 12 years. The others are all hormonal birth control methods and can last for several years. They prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus and stopping ovulation.

This method is more than 99 percent effective. However, many people who use this method experience side effects like pain, cramping, backaches, and spotting.


The birth control sponge is a small sponge that you insert into your vagina before sex. It covers the cervix and contains spermicide, which prevents pregnancy. When used perfectly every time, it’s 91 percent effective. However, it’s less effective if you have ever given birth. Many people like this method because it’s non-hormonal, but it is less effective than other forms of birth control and it can be difficult to use correctly.


The patch is a hormonal birth control method that you wear on your upper arm, back, or belly. It lasts for three weeks before needing replacement, and it releases estrogen and progestin, which prevents ovulation. If you use it perfectly, it will be 99 percent effective. However, there’s a risk that the patch will fall off or you’ll forget to replace it on time, so it’s really about 91 percent effective.

People choose this method because it’s noninvasive, convenient, and can help with other issues like acne and bone thinning. However, it’s slightly less effective than some other forms of birth control, and it can have uncomfortable side effects.


The implant is a thin rod that is inserted into your arm to prevent pregnancy. It releases the hormone progestin, which stops ovulation and thickens cervical mucus. It lasts up to four years, and it’s more than 99 percent effective.

The implant is private and discreet, and you can forget about it once it’s been inserted. Like all hormonal birth control, though, it can cause some side effects, including nausea, weight gain, headaches, and ovarian cysts.