Family Planning 101: Short-Term Methods

Family Planning 101


We know that choosing the right family planning method can be overwhelming. Not only are there lots of methods to choose from, but they all accomplish the same thing — reducing risk of pregnancy — in very different ways! Nivi is here to help you learn about the various methods available to you, and select one that fits you, your partner, and your lifestyle. That’s why we’ve created a series of blog posts about the different kinds of contraceptive methods and when they’re used: immediate, short-term, long term, permanent, and natural.


So, are you ready to see what methods are out there? Keep scrolling!



Short-Term Methods


Short-term methods are perfect for when you want to prevent pregnancy for a little while (a month to a year) and not longer. They’re a fantastic choice if you think you’d like to have children soon, but aren’t quite ready yet, or if you want to test one or more methods without committing to anything long-term (for example, to see how your body responds). Whatever your reasoning, short-term methods are a safe, healthy option for women and couples looking to avoid pregnancy for a short to medium amount of time.


Birth Control Pills

(AKA Oral Contraceptive Pills, OCPs, COCs, or “The Pill”)


Oral contraceptive pills (or OCPs) are pills containing the hormone estrogen, progesterone, or a combination of both. They prevent pregnancy by preventing the release of eggs from a woman’s ovaries (a process called ovulation).


Pros:

  • They are over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly

  • They come in small packages that can fit discreetly into a pocket or purse

  • Side effects are uncommon, and almost never result in serious health problems

  • There are lots of different kinds of OCPs, with different concentrations of hormones — so if you experience negative side effects with one pill, you can try another to see if it’s better

  • Women and couples that want to get pregnant can do so very soon after they stop using OCPs

Cons:

  • They do not protect against STIs

  • For maximum effectiveness, they need to be taken around the same time of day, every day — if you lose them or forget to take them, your chance of getting pregnant increases

  • Some OCPs may cause short- or long-term side effects like nausea, vomiting, mood swings, or headaches — since every woman responds differently, it’s hard to know how you’ll feel until you try them


Birth Control Patch


A sticky patch (like a Band-Aid) that a woman places directly on a part of her body once a week. Similar to OCPs, the patch delivers hormones to the bloodstream that prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation — just through the skin instead of the stomach.


Pros:

  • It is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly

  • Side effects are uncommon, and almost never result in serious health problems

  • It’s helpful for women who don’t want to have to remember to take a pill every day

  • Women that want to get pregnant can do so very soon after they stop using the patch

Cons:

  • It does not protect against STIs

  • Effectiveness decreases if you forget to replace a patch

  • Since it needs to stay on the skin to work, it’s visible to others — so if you don’t want people to know you’re on birth control, you have to hide it under clothing


Contraceptive Ring

(AKA CVR, Nuvaring, etc.)


A small, flexible ring (kind of like a hair tie/elastic) that prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation. It is inserted into the vagina and replaced monthly.


Pros:

  • Side effects are uncommon, and almost never result in serious health problems

  • It’s helpful for women who don’t want to have to remember to take a pill every day

  • Women that want to get pregnant can do so very soon after they stop using the ring

Cons:

  • It does not protect against STIs

  • Effectiveness decreases if you forget to replace the ring at the end of the month

  • Some women might find the insertion process uncomfortable or painful

  • It can fall out or

  • Because it’s an object that must stay inside the vagina to work, it’s possible for a woman’s partner to feel it during sexual activities (which means that, if you don’t want your partner to know you’re on birth control, this might not be the method for you)


Injectable

(AKA DMPA, Depo-Provera, Depo, or The Birth Control Shot)


An injection, or shot, received every few months that prevents ovulation (every 2-3 months or so, depending on the type of injection). It contains the hormone progestin, and can be injected into the upper arm (like vaccines often are), or the buttocks — yes, really, your butt!


Pros:

  • It requires fewer trips to your doctor, health care worker, or clinic (only four per year!)

  • It’s helpful for women who don’t want to have to remember to take a pill every day or change a patch once a week

  • The injection works 2 weeks after its “end point” — giving you a little extra time to get to a healthcare facility, should you need it

  • Many women stop experiencing monthly periods after 1 year; or when they do, they’re very light

  • Can be used immediately after childbirth (even when breastfeeding!)

  • Reduces pain caused by endometriosis

  • Because it doesn’t involve taking anything home, it’s probably the easiest short-term method to “hide” (if you don’t want family members or partners to know that you’re on birth control)

Cons:

  • It does not prevent against STIs

  • It can cause your monthly bleeding to be longer and/or less regular, with some light bleeding in between (this usually goes away after the first year)

  • It can take around 10 months to get pregnant after stopping the injections, so it isn’t great for women or couples that want to have a baby soon

  • Some women may gain weight while using it (on average, women that do gain weight only gain about 5 pounds)





Want to learn which method is right for you, and where to get it? Have other questions about sex, STIs, and contraception? Remember you can chat with Nivi on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger any time. It’s private, confidential, and free!


47 views0 comments