Birth Control Information

Greensboro Pregnancy Care Center offers informative appointments to help you understand birth control and contraceptives better. It can be a confusing topic! No matter where you are in life, one of our nurses would be happy to speak with you. We have found that many people—including church members, singles, married couples, and more—have questions about birth control.

We do not refer for or provide birth control. We advocate for sexual risk avoidance. The only 100% effective way to avoid risks involved with sexual activity is to wait until you’re in a lifelong, committed, monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner of the opposite sex (typically called marriage in our culture).

See the various birth control methods below, along with how the method works, how often it prevents pregnancy or protects against STDs, how the method is used and how often, potential side effects, and other things to consider. Make an appointment with us today to learn more.

Abstain Method

Natural Methods

Sterilization Method

Not Having Sex

[Abstinence Method]

 

How The Method Works

Saying no when there’s opportunity to engage in any sexual behaviors outside of a life-long, committed, monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner of the opposite sex (marriage).

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

Full Protection, No Risk

How Method Is Used

Choosing not to engage in sexual behaviors outside of marriage.

How Often

Every time there is an opportunity to engage in sexual behaviors, and planning ahead so as not to put oneself in risky situations.

Potential Side Effects

None

Other Considerations

Protects you physically, but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It encourages future thinking, and respects your future spouse. This is the only 100% healthy form of birth control.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

Full Protection, No Risk

How Method Is Used

Choosing not to engage in sexual behaviors outside of marriage.

How Often

Every time there is an opportunity to engage in sexual behaviors, and planning ahead so as not to put oneself in risky situations.

Potential Side Effects

None

Other Considerations

Protects you physically, but also emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It encourages future thinking, and respects your future spouse. This is the only 100% healthy form of birth control.

Withdrawal

[Natural Method]

 

How The Method Works

Withdrawal happens when the penis is pulled completely out of the vagina before ejaculation (the large amount of sperm that is released during intercourse).

Prevents Pregnancy

73- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Pull penis out of vagina before ejaculation

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

None

Other Considerations

Some men produce pre-ejaculate fluid that contains sperm, which could fertilize an egg. This is not a reliable form of birth control.

Prevents Pregnancy

73- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Pull penis out of vagina before ejaculation

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

None

Other Considerations

Some men produce pre-ejaculate fluid that contains sperm, which could fertilize an egg. This is not a reliable form of birth control.

Rhythm/Basal

[Natural Method]

 

How The Method Works

Women keep track of their body’s normal cycle, and abstain from sex 5 days before ovulation and three days after ovulation (or use a barrier method during this time). This would prevent the sperm from fertilizing an egg.

Prevents Pregnancy

75- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Charts body temperature; watches for cervical mucus; keeps track of cycle 

How Often

Daily

Potential Side Effects

None

Other Considerations

Works best for women with very regular cycles. There is a fertility window of 12-24 hours, and sperm can live in a woman’s body 3-5 days.

Prevents Pregnancy

75- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Charts body temperature; watches for cervical mucus; keeps track of cycle 

How Often

Daily

Potential Side Effects

None

Other Considerations

Works best for women with very regular cycles. There is a fertility window of 12-24 hours, and sperm can live in a woman’s body 3-5 days. 

diaphram

Diaphragm

[Barrier Method]

  

How The Method Works

The diaphragm covers the cervix, preventing the sperm from entering the uterus. When using with spermicide it works to kill sperm, creating another barrier to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

88- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Place inside vagina

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

If used with spermicide, some women may have an allergic reaction.

Other Considerations

Will need to get a prescription and fitted with a medical provider. Most effective with spermicide. Increased risk for UTIs.

Prevents Pregnancy

88- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Place inside vagina

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

If used with spermicide, some women may have an allergic reaction.

Other Considerations

Will need to get a prescription and fitted with a medical provider. Most effective with spermicide. Increased risk for UTIs.

male condoms

Male Condoms

[Barrier Method]

 

How The Method Works

The condom covers the man’s penis, and catches his sperm so it does not enter into the woman’s uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

82- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

Can Reduce Risk

How Method Is Used

Place over penis

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

Some may be allergic to latex and have to use synthetic condoms.

Other Considerations

There could be lack of cooperation by men, thus making male condom use impossible. In addition, there could be breakage of the condom during intercourse, or failure to use condom correctly.

Prevents Pregnancy

82- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

Can Reduce Risk

How Method Is Used

Place over penis

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

Some may be allergic to latex and have to use synthetic condoms.

Other Considerations

There could be lack of cooperation by men, thus making male condom use impossible. In addition, there could be breakage of the condom during intercourse, or failure to use condom correctly.

female condoms

Female Condoms

[Barrier Method]

 

How The Method Works

The condom covers the vaginal wall and cervix, creating a barrier for the sperm so it does not enter into the uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

79- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

Can Reduce Risk

How Method Is Used

Place inside vagina

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

Some may be allergic to latex and have to use synthetic condoms.

Other Considerations

Most effective with spermicide. May be uncomfortable for some women and cause noise during intercourse.

Prevents Pregnancy

79- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

Can Reduce Risk

How Method Is Used

Place inside vagina

How Often

Every time you have sex

Potential Side Effects

Some may be allergic to latex and have to use synthetic condoms.

Other Considerations

Most effective with spermicide. May be uncomfortable for some women and cause noise during intercourse.

female sterilization

Female Sterilization

[Sterilization Method]

 

How The Method Works

This method works by blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes, preventing an egg from reaching the uterus and preventing the sperm from reaching an egg. Thus, prevents fertilization.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Surgical procedure

How Often

Permanent

Potential Side Effects

Could result in some serious health risks.

Other Considerations

More serious health risks than male sterilization. Can’t count on reversal. About 1-2 of 100 women have major problems. If operation fails, and a woman becomes pregnant, there’s a higher risk of tubal pregnancy.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Surgical procedure

How Often

Permanent

Potential Side Effects

Could result in some serious health risks.

Other Considerations

More serious health risks than male sterilization. Can’t count on reversal. About 1-2 of 100 women have major problems. If operation fails, and a woman becomes pregnant, there’s a higher risk of tubal pregnancy.

male sterilization

Male Sterilization

[Sterilization Method]

 

How The Method Works

A vasectomy works by surgically cutting or blocking vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis. This prevents sperm from being expelled, thus prevents fertilization since you need sperm to fertilize the egg.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Surgical procedure

How Often

Permanent

Potential Side Effects

Could result in some health risks.

Other Considerations

Few health risks for most men. Can’t count on reversal. About 2-4 of 100 men have minor problems and discomfort.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Surgical procedure

How Often

Permanent

Potential Side Effects

Could result in some health risks.

Other Considerations

Few health risks for most men. Can’t count on reversal. About 2-4 of 100 men have minor problems and discomfort.

IUD

Hormonal IUD

[LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive)]

 

How The Method Works

The IUD works by thickening the cervical mucus to try to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, thinning the uterine lining and making it difficult for a fertilized egg to be implanted. It tries to inhibit the sperm from reaching the egg. The official website for Mirena states, “However, it is not known exactly how these actions work together to prevent pregnancy.”

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Placed by a medical professional inside the uterus

How Often

Lasts up to 3-5 years

Potential Side Effects

Cramping and pain upon insertion. May not have a period or period will become lighter.

Other Considerations

For about 1 in 1,000 women, an IUD perforates the wall of the uterus. About 2% to 10% spontaneously expel the IUD.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Placed by a medical professional inside the uterus

How Often

Lasts up to 3-5 years

Potential Side Effects

Cramping and pain upon insertion. May not have a period or period will become lighter.

Other Considerations

For about 1 in 1,000 women, an IUD perforates the wall of the uterus. About 2% to 10% spontaneously expel the IUD.

IUD

Copper IUD

[LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive)]

 

How The Method Works

The IUD works by thickening the cervical mucus to try to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, thinning the uterine lining making it difficult for a fertilized egg to be implanted. It tries to inhibit the sperm from reaching the egg. The official website for Paragard states, “It interferes with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and possibly prevents implantation.”

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Placed by a medical professional inside the uterus

How Often

Lasts up to 10 years

Potential Side Effects

Cramping and pain upon insertion. May have heavier or longer periods.

Other Considerations

For about 1 in 1,000 women, an IUD perforates the wall of the uterus. About 2% to 10% spontaneously expel the IUD. Not recommended for patients with a copper allergy or Wilson’s disease.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Placed by a medical professional inside the uterus

How Often

Lasts up to 10 years

Potential Side Effects

Cramping and pain upon insertion. May have heavier or longer periods.

Other Considerations

For about 1 in 1,000 women, an IUD perforates the wall of the uterus. About 2% to 10% spontaneously expel the IUD. Not recommended for patients with a copper allergy or Wilson’s disease.

implant

Implant

[LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive)]

 

How The Method Works

The implant works by releasing progestin into the body to prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. In addition, it also thickens the cervical mucus, preventing sperm from joining with an egg. The implant also thins the lining of the uterine wall, making it difficult for a fertilized egg to be implanted.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Placed by a medical professional into the upper arm

How Often

Lasts up to 3 years

Potential Side Effects

May have no or irregular periods, spotting, headaches, moodiness, weight gain, and breast tenderness.

Other Considerations

Studies show a possible weight gain of approx. 5 pounds. There is also the possibility of an allergic reaction to the implant.

Prevents Pregnancy

0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Placed by a medical professional into the upper arm

How Often

Lasts up to 3 years

Potential Side Effects

May have no or irregular periods, spotting, headaches, moodiness, weight gain, and breast tenderness.

Other Considerations

Studies show a possible weight gain of approx. 5 pounds. There is also the possibility of an allergic reaction to the implant.

hormonal shot

Shot

[Hormonal Method]

 

How The Method Works

The shot works by keeping the body from releasing an egg that could be fertilized by sperm. In addition, it thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also thins the uterine lining making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

94- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Shot in arm or hip

How Often

Every 3 months

Potential Side Effects

May have no period, or very light periods, headaches, nervous feelings, sore breasts, change in appetite, and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

Studies show possible weight gain of 5% to 10% of baseline weight.

Prevents Pregnancy

94- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Shot in arm or hip

How Often

Every 3 months

Potential Side Effects

May have no period, or very light periods, headaches, nervous feelings, sore breasts, change in appetite, and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

Studies show possible weight gain of 5% to 10% of baseline weight.

hormonal patch

Patch

[Hormonal Method]

 

How The Method Works

The patch works by keeping the body from releasing an egg that could be fertilized by sperm. In addition, it thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also thins the uterine lining making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

91- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Place on skin

How Often

Every week

Potential Side Effects

Some women may have skin reactions to the patch. There is also an increased risk of headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness. Some may experience moodiness and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

Patch is changed and worn every week, and taken off on week 4. The patch needs to change spots after applying a new one.

Prevents Pregnancy

91- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Place on skin

How Often

Every week

Potential Side Effects

Some women may have skin reactions to the patch. There is also an increased risk of headaches, nausea, and breast tenderness. Some may experience moodiness and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

Patch is changed and worn every week, and taken off on week 4. The patch needs to change spots after applying a new one.

hormonal pill

Pill

[Hormonal Method]

 

How The Method Works

The pill works by keeping the body from releasing an egg that could be fertilized by sperm. In addition, it thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also thins the uterine lining making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

91- 0 %

(87% Progestin Only)

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Take it orally

How Often

Every day at the same time

Potential Side Effects

May reduce severity of periods and make them lighter. Most common reported side effects are headache, nausea, and breast tenderness. Some may experience moodiness and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

If not taken within 3 hours of same time everyday, it could cause an increased risk for pregnancy.

Prevents Pregnancy

91- 0 %

(87% Progestin Only)

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Take it orally

How Often

Every day at the same time

Potential Side Effects

May reduce severity of periods and make them lighter. Most common reported side effects are headache, nausea, and breast tenderness. Some may experience moodiness and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

If not taken within 3 hours of same time everyday, it could cause an increased risk for pregnancy.

hormonal ring

Ring

[Hormonal Method]

 

How The Method Works

The NuvaRing works by keeping the body from releasing an egg that could be fertilized by sperm. In addition, it thickens the cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also thins the uterine lining making it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

Prevents Pregnancy

91- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Place inside vagina

How Often

Every month

Potential Side Effects

Side effects may include headaches, increased vaginal discharge, nausea and breast tenderness. Some may experience moodiness and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

The ring is left in vagina for 3 weeks and then taken out for week 4.

Prevents Pregnancy

91- 0 %

Protection Against STDs

No Protection

How Method Is Used

Place inside vagina

How Often

Every month

Potential Side Effects

Side effects may include headaches, increased vaginal discharge, nausea and breast tenderness. Some may experience moodiness and decreased sex drive.

Other Considerations

The ring is left in vagina for 3 weeks and then taken out for week 4.

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