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98% of sexually active women in the United States have used birth control at some point in time, and 62% of those of reproductive age are currently using birth control[1].

Individuals can choose from many different types of birth control. Some work better than others at preventing pregnancy. The type of birth control you use depends on your health, your desire to have children, whether now, in the future, or not at all, and your need to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Your doctor can help you decide which type of birth control is best for you. You can also use our online birth control quiz to learn more about which method might be a good fit for your needs. Your local Planned Parenthood is a great resource to answer any of your questions and to receive birth control, for whatever reason.

Here are some additional insights you should know about birth control. 

6 Things You Should Know About Birth Control

  1. There are more than 15 methods of birth control
    • With so many great options for birth control, there is no “best” method of birth control. The birth control method that is right for you depends on many things and may change over time.   
    • Learn about types of birth control that you or your partner can use to prevent pregnancy.
  2. Birth control can help with more than preventing pregnancy
    • Some birth control options provide relief from symptoms of painful heavy periods and can even help with acne.  
    • Some benefits of the birth control pill are: 
      • Lighter, more regular periods
      • Fewer menstrual cramps
      • Lower risk of ectopic pregnancy
  3. You can safely use birth control to skip your period
    • The IUD, birth control shot, implant, vaginal ring, patch, and birth control pill all can be used to skip periods. 
    • Ask your healthcare provider for more information on how to go about this.   
  4. There’re only two types of birth control methods that can protect you from STIs, including HIV
    • Condoms:
      • Latex condoms, these are made from rubber and is the most common type. 
      • Plastic condoms, also known as, non-latex condoms, are made from plastics like polyurethane or nitrile. A great option for those who have latex allergy or sensitivity.  
    • Internal Condoms: also known as, female condoms, are little nitrile (soft plastic) pouches that you put inside your vagina or anus.
  5. You can use some forms of birth control as emergency contraception
    • The hormonal and the copper IUD (intrauterine device) are two of the most effective types of emergency contraception. 
    • IUDs have grown in popularity among those seeking birth control due to the convenience and ease of use. 
    • An IUD is one of the most effective forms of birth control, learn more about IUDs.
  6. Birth control is safe
  • Assuming you’re healthy, long-term use of birth control pills should have no adverse impact on your health. Taking a break now and then appears to have no medical benefit.
  • Long-term birth control use generally doesn’t harm your ability to get pregnant and have a healthy baby once you no longer take it.
  • Do your research and talk with your healthcare provider to make an informed decision.

The right birth control choice for you is the one that fits your lifestyle and health needs. Learn more about the different types of birth control options available to you at Planned Parenthood.

Animated video detailing the different types of birth control. Animated video detailing the different types of birth control.

Schedule your appointment with a Planned Parenthood healthcare provider to help you decide which option is best suited for your body, your lifestyle, and your health concerns.


[1] Hurt, K. Joseph; et al., eds. (2012-03-28). The Johns Hopkins manual of gynecology and obstetrics (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 232. ISBN 978-1-60547-433-5.

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