Woman's Health Centers

When Someone You Love Needs a Choice

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Birth Control Choices and Information

Every woman needs some effective method of birth control unless she wishes to become pregnant or has had a hysterectomy. Many different methods are available to choose from. You and your doctor or nurse practitioner can work together to determine which method will be the best for you.

As with any birth control method, we encourage you to fully research the desired method and all possible side effects before you decide what is best for you. Our website covers only some of the available information, possible risks and benefits of a variety of methods. We strongly suggest you visit the manufacturers websites for additional details on products and methods covered here.

We offer all our patients a chance to screen for birth control. If you are a good candidate for birth control pills, you may elect to have free samples. We provide you with a month’s supply of pills on the day of your termination and a second pack when you return to our facility for your four week check up. In addition, we will give you a written prescription for two additional months of birth control pills that you can fill at the pharmacy.

We also have available the Nuva Ring. Again, we can provide you with several samples and a written prescription.

In addition, we offer Depo Provera at a cash discounted price. There is an extra discount given if you elect yo start your Depo on the day of your termination. Whatever method of birth control you select, you may begin using your birth control on the day your termination is complete.

Who Should Not Use Birth Control Pills or the Nuva Ring?

Women who have a history of certain diseases, conditions and/or are pregnant should not use these methods of birth control. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you should discuss this with your doctor or nurse practitioner. Hormone based birth control may not be appropriate for you.

  • Are you over 35 years of age?
  • Do you smoke cigarettes?
  • Do you have a history of heart attack or strokes?
  • Do you have any heart disease or bleeding problems?
  • Do you have high blood pressure?
  • Do you have a history of high triglycerides or elevated cholesterol?
  • Are you diabetic?
  • Do you have headaches with blurred vision, light sensitivity, nausea?
  • Do you have or have you had breast cancer or cervical cancer?
  • Do you have unexplained vaginal bleeding?
  • Do you have liver, kidney or gallbladder disease?
  • Are you breastfeeding?

Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills work by regulating hormones in your body. They contain both estrogen and progestin. They prevent pregnancy by keeping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs (ovulation). They also thicken the cervical mucas, which prevents sperm from joining with an egg. By taking the pill at the same time everyday, you maintain the same level of hormones in your body.

Birth Control Pills are one of the most effective reversible methods of birth control. Birth control pills are safe, effective and convenient. Many women report shorter, lighter, more regular periods when takiing the pill. Some studies show that birth control pills may also help prevent pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

There are other benefits as well. Studies report some reduction in: cancer of the ovaries, cancer of the uterine lining, iron deficiency, anemia, ovarian cysts, excess body hair, heavy menses, vaginal dryness and painful intercourse related to menopause as a result of using birth control pills.

Birth Control Pills do not protect you against pregnancy until you have been taking them for seven consecutive days. It is important that you take your birth control pills at the same time everyday. Do not miss any pills. Most birth control pill packages provide you with “spacer” pills so that you take one pill every day of the month. These spacer pills help keep you on a regular schedule.

If you miss one pill, take it as soon as you realize you have missed it. If you miss two pills, throw the package away and being another new package immediately. Do not have unprotected sex for seven consecutive days until the pills are protecting you again.

Birth Control Pills do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

As with any medication, there can be some side effects. Side effects usually clear up after several months. These include nausea and vomiting, bleeding or spotting between periods, breast tenderness, headaches, change in sexual desire and depression. Most women do not experience any side effects at all. Some side effects may be reduced by taking the pill at bedtime instead of first thing in the morning. If you experience side effects and have given your body sometime to adjust to the pill, talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner to see if you need to have your prescription adjusted.

Depo Provera is a hormone injection that works to prevent pregnancy. It is given every three months, usually in the upper arm or hip.

The first shot is usually given within the first few days after a normal menstrual period. It is important that a woman not get a depo shot if she knows or suspects that she is already pregnant.

Depo Provera stops the ovaries from releasing an egg. It also causes the cervical mucus and the uterine lining to thicken, preventing the sperm from entering and/or surviving in the uterus. These changes prevent fertilization.

Depo Provera is considered a very effective method of birth control. If taken every thirteen weeks, it is estimated to be 99% effective. It does not, however, protect a woman from STDs.

Studies indicate that women on Depo have a decreased risk of ovarian cancer, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, and Endometrial Cancer. Many women report that they have less menstrual cramping and pain, fewer periods and less chance of anemia.

Depo, however, can increase the risk of osteoporosis. Thus, it is advised that women who use Depo Provera long term, take a calcium supplement and get regular bone density tests every two years.

Some less usual side effects may include:

  • Headaches
  • Nervousness
  • Mood Changes
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Bloating

It is a myth that Depo causes weight gain. Calories cause weight gain. If, while taking hormones, your appetite is increased, and you eat more, you may indeed gain weight. This is not due to the birth control. We recommend that until your body adjusts to the Depo, monitor your appetite. Snack wisely, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.

If a woman becomes pregnant while using Depo Provera, she may be at risk of a premature birth. Irregular, heavy bleeding or no bleeding at all are common side effects. The longer one uses Depo, the more likely it is your periods will stop all together. It takes some time for the body to readjust after taking Depo Provera for a long time. It may take 6 months to a year before you begin regular ovulation after an extended time on Depo.

Women with the following health conditions should talk with their healthcare provider if they are considering Depo Provera for birth control:

  • Unexplained Vaginal Bleeding
  • Suspected Pregnancy
  • Liver Disease
  • Gallbladder Disease