If you don't plan on becoming pregnant right now, you may be considering using birth control. However, while there are many options to choose from, you may be unsure which suits your needs and preferences. Here are a few methods you can discuss with your women's health provider.

What Birth Control Methods Are Available?

1. Patch

The patch is a birth control method that releases estrogen and progestin into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancy. These hormones prevent ovulation so that there are no eggs for sperm to fertilize. When used correctly, it's 99% effective. You can wear this transdermal adhesive patch on your back, upper outer arm, or lower abdomen—anywhere it isn't at risk of being rubbed off. Replace it once every seven days for three weeks, allowing your period to arrive on the fourth week.

2. Pill 

women's health

When used correctly, the birth control pill is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. There are two types available, one of which is the combination option. This contraceptive contains estrogen and progestin. In contrast, a mini-pill only has the latter. Both prevent ovulation and thicken the cervical mucus, impeding sperm motility. No matter which type of birth control pill you have, it must be taken once a day by mouth. 

3. IUD 

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped device that a women's health provider inserts into the uterus via the cervix. There are copper and hormonal options, the latter of which contains progestin. These devices thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg.

IUDs are 99% effective, but how long they stay in the uterus will depend on the type. Copper options can last for up to 10 years, whereas hormonal ones remain for three to five years.

4. Contraceptive Implant 

The contraceptive implant, also known as Nexplanon®, is a small, matchstick-sized rod that a provider inserts into a patient's arm. It contains progestin and works similarly to other hormonal contraceptives by preventing sperm from meeting and fertilizing the egg. You can leave an implant in place for up to five years.

5. Injection 

The contraceptive shot, also called Depo-Provera®, contains progestin. Usually, a women's health provider administers a dose every 12-13 weeks in the patient's arm or buttocks. If used correctly, this method is 96% effective at pregnancy prevention.


If you're interested in talking to a women's health provider about birth control, turn to Hillside Family Medicine in Anchorage, AK. This full-service medical provider has been a community cornerstone for over 20 years. Apart from helping you find the right birth control option, they can also help you stay safe with cervical health screenings and physicals every three years. Call (907) 344-0200 to schedule an appointment, and visit the website to learn more about the practice.