Bridgeview Women's Health: All-women OB/GYN Practice in Portland, OR

Contraception Methods

Each of the many birth control options available to you as a woman today has its advantages and disadvantages. We look forward to helping you choose the best method for your life and your body.

Reversible Contraception: For women who desire children in the future. Some reversible contraceptives use hormones (estrogen and/or progestin, a synthetic progesterone), while others do not.

No Hormones:

Method Effectiveness How it works Advantages Disadvantages
Spermicide 71% Destroys sperm before reaching the egg
  • Over the counter
  • Easy to use
  • Can cause skin irritation
  • Does not protect from STDs
Male Condom 85% Barrier between sperm & egg
  • Over the counter
  • Protects against many STDs
  • Can cause skin irritation
  • Water-based lubricants only
Female Condom 79% Barrier between sperm & egg
  • Over the counter
  • Protects against many STDs
  • Can be placed up to 8 hours before sex
  • Can use oil or water-based lubricants
  • More challenging to use correctly than the male condom
Diaphragm 84% Barrier between sperm & egg
  • Can be placed up to 6 hours before sex
  • Protects against some STDs.
  • Must be used with spermicide
  • Prescription only
  • Can cause skin irritation
  • Water-based lubricants only
Contraceptive Sponge 85% Prevents live sperm from reaching the egg
  • Over the counter
  • Can be placed hours before sex
  • Can cause skin irritation
  • Does not protect from STDs
Intrauterine Device (IUD) 99% Copper IUD prevents sperm from reaching egg, or egg from implanting in uterus.
  • Works for up to 10 years, but can be removed any time
  • Once in place, requires no further planning for sex
  • Good for women who think they are done having children, or who want to wait a few years before getting pregnant
  • Must be placed and removed in the doctor's office.
  • Does not protect against STDs
  • Periods may be heavier or longer

Hormones:

Method Effectiveness How it works Hormones Advantages Disadvantages
Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP) 99%
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens cervical mucous
  • Thins uterine lining
Estrogen and Progestin in small tablet that is taken daily
  • Lighter periods with less cramping
  • Decreased risk of ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer and uterine cancer
  • Decreased acne.
  • Requires prescription
  • Must remember to take daily
  • Can cause headaches, breast tenderness, nausea
  • Does not protect from STDs
Progestin OCP 96%
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens cervical mucous
  • Thins uterine lining
Progestin in a small tablet that is taken daily
  • Effective birth control for women who are breastfeeding or who cannot take estrogen
  • Requires prescription
  • Must take daily, at the same time every day
  • Does not protect from STDs
Vaginal Ring 98%
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens cervical mucous
  • Thins uterine lining
Estrogen & progestin in a plastic ring worn in the vagina
  • Only need to remove and replace once per month
  • Lighter periods with less cramping
  • Reduces the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer.
  • Requires prescription
  • Can cause headaches, nausea, breast tenderness
  • Can cause vaginal discharge or irritation
  • Does not protect from STDs.
Patch 98%
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens cervical mucous
  • Thins uterine lining
Estrogen & Progestin in a 1¾ inch patch worn on the skin
  • Only need to replace once per week
  • Lighter periods with less cramping
  • Decreased risk of ovarian and uterine cancer
  • Requires prescription
  • May cause irregular bleeding, nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, or weight gain
  • May cause skin irritation
  • Does not protect from STDs
Implant in Arm 99.5%
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens cervical mucous
  • Thins uterine lining
Progestin in a silicon rod that is inserted under the skin of the arm
  • Effective for 3 years
  • Can become pregnant immediately after the device is removed
  • Office visit is required to insert and remove
  • Irregular bleeding first 6-9 months
  • May cause headaches or weight gain
  • Does not protect from STDs
Injection (shot) 97%
  • Prevents ovulation
  • Thickens cervical mucous
  • Thins uterine lining
Progestin that is injected every three months
  • Only 4 injections per year
  • Easy to remember
  • Periods are light or stop altogether
  • Decreased risk of uterine cancer
  • Decreased pain with periods
  • Can take up to 1 year to become pregnant after stopping
  • Possible weight gain, irregular bleeding, headaches
  • Must be given by a doctor or nurse
  • Does not protect from STDs
Progestin IUD 99.8%
  • Thickens cervical mucous so the sperm cannot reach the egg
  • Thins uterine lining
Progestin in a plastic device that is inserted into the uterus
  • Works for up to 5 years, but can be removed any time to become pregnant
  • Requires no further preparation before sex
  • Periods are lighter or stop altogether
  • Good for women who think they are done having children, or who want to wait a few years before getting pregnant
  • Decreases the risk of uterine cancer
  • Must be placed and removed in the doctor's office
  • Can have irregular bleeding for 6-9 months.
    Can cause headaches and acne
  • Does not protect from STDs

Permanent Contraception: For women who have finished their childbearing and are absolutely certain they desire no more pregnancies. These options are not reversible.

Method Effectiveness How it works Advantages Disadvantages
Tubal Ligation (tie/cut) >98% Fallopian tubes are divided or removed entirely so the sperm cannot reach the egg
  • Permanent
  • Can be done immediately postpartum or any other time
  • Immediately effective
  • Requires anesthesia in the operating room
  • Has risks associated with surgery in the belly
  • Does not protect from STDs
Tubal Occlusion (block) >99% Metal coils are placed in the fallopian tubes causing scarring which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg
  • Permanent
  • Can be done in the office or in the operating room, depending on the individual
  • No incisions on the belly
  • Cannot be done immediately postpartum
  • Must use alternative contraception for three months after the procedure
  • Does not protect from STDs