Beyond the Pill: Alternative birth control options explained


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Ladies, we know you play it safe when it comes to sex. But do you know all of your options? Besides the Pill, there are several different prescriptions and procedures that prevent pregnancy — find one here that works with your lifestyle the best. And be sure to read our article on how the Affordable Care Act could mean you no longer have to pay a co-pay for birth control and other preventive services.

Note: It’s important to talk to your healthcare professional before starting a new form of contraception so you can discuss the potential risks and side effects. Some prescription and over-the-counter drugs can reduce the contraceptive’s effectiveness. Also, remember that these forms of contraception do not protect you from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; unless abstinence is an option for you, use latex condoms in addition to these birth control options to best prevent pregnancy and STDs.

Oral contraception: The Pill releases hormones progestin, estrogen or both to prevent pregnancy and is 99% effective if taken around the same time every day, Planned Parenthood explains. If you’re not super-responsible about taking pills, a different method may be the right pick for you. The Pill costs $15 to $50 a month.


Work like the Pill
The Patch: Releases hormones through a small square patch replaced once a week, with one off-week for your period. It costs $15 to $80 per month. Both birth-control patches and NuvaRing are 99% effective.

NuvaRing: The NuvaRing releases hormones from a small ring inserted in the vagina once a month. It costs $15 to $80 a month.


Longer-term options
The shot:
A shot of progestin every 12 weeks prevents pregnancy 99% of the time. Be sure to get the shots on time, though, because if you get off schedule it becomes only 94% effective. Get it for $35 to $75 per shot.

Birth control implant: A matchstick-sized rod inserted in your arm releases progestin, and lasts about three years. Fewer than 1 in 100 women become pregnant with the implant, and it’s a generally worry-free method since it’s a one-time insertion you don’t have to deal with day to day. It costs $400 to $800.

IUD (intrauterine device): A small, T-shaped device is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It costs $800 to $1,200 but lasts up to 12 years. Fewer than 1 in 100 get pregnant with an IUD, and it’s easily removed.