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Birth Control

Author’s Bio: Paige Lamb has a degree in Psychology. As a passionate medical worker, she enjoys writing about health topics to provide insight to everyone. 

What is Birth Control?

Birth control is a contraceptive that is used in order to prevent pregnancy. A person might want to use birth control for a numerous amount of reasons including:
  • Regulation of menstrual cycles
  • Reducing acne
  • Lowering endometriosis-related pain
  • Other personal reasons
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “nearly all women use contraception in their lifetimes (1), although at any given time, they may not be using contraception for reasons such as seeking pregnancy, being pregnant, or not being sexually active.” Birth control is used in many ways as a benefit to women all over the world. Education on birth control is very important and will be further discussed in this blog.

Types & Method of Birth Control?

Several birth control options are available. They include:
  • The Pill is a contraceptive that prevents a woman from getting pregnant in 95% of cases. It comes close to providing 99% protection if the pill is taken routinely everyday as prescribed.
  • The Male Condom is one of one of the most popular types of contraceptives. It is easy to use, affordable and offers the best protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections (e.g. gonorrhoea, chlamydia, HIV). Condoms are also 98% effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, every time.
  • The Female Condom is just like the male condom, and offers 95% effective protection for pregnancy as well as some protection against STIs. Female condoms are generally more expensive than male ones but they are less likely to burst. Female condoms can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
  • The Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a hormonal and copper device that can be kept inside the vagina for up to five or ten years respectively. The effectiveness rate for IUDs is above 99%, however they provide no protection against STIs. IUDs can also be a form of emergency contraception if the device is inserted within 5 days after unprotected sex.
  • The Contraceptive Sponge is a small, round-shaped foam placed deep inside the vagina. It contains spermicide so that sperm does not get past the gel foam. The sponge should be left inside the vagina for at least six hours after sex, but removed within 24 hours following sexual intercourse (to lessen the risk of toxic shock). The sponge does not protect past those 24 hours and does not provide any STI protection.
  • Spermicide proves very effective when used in combination with other methods (e.g. diaphragm, sponge).
  • Contraceptive Injections are one shot of hormones that last in the body for 8 to 12 weeks (3 months) and have the same effect as the pill. Injections are about 99% effective with pregnancy occurring mostly with women who forgot to renew their contraceptive shot in time (i.e. past weeks 11 to 12). Once the shot is given it cannot be reversed, so a person is effectively infertile for the next three months.
  • The Vaginal Ring is a small, transparent plastic ring that is inserted in the vagina and kept for three weeks. It should be removed during menstrual cycles and replaced with a new one after that. This ring contains the same hormones as the contraceptive pill (progesterone and estrogen), therefore providing the same kind of effective protection and side effects.
  • The Contraceptive Patch is exactly the same thing as the contraceptive pill but in the form of a patch. It provides the same effective protection against pregnancy. It does not protect from STIs.
  • Emergency Contraception or (Plan-B) exists to stop a person from getting pregnant if they recently had unprotected sex. This method is used for a few occasions and is not recommended for daily use.
  • It is particularly useful if a condom breaks or if a person has missed taking one of their contraceptive pills. These should be taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex which offers over 95% protection. The longer the wait, the less effective it will be. After 72 hours (3 days) the effectiveness drops to below 50%.
  • Sterilization is an option available to both men and women. This provides no protection against STIs and the effects are for life. In very rare cases (less than 1%), the tubes can grow back, making pregnancy a risk
There are two categories of hormonal methods a person can choose to take regarding birth control. The two categories are: Progestin-only and combined hormonal methods. Progestin-only methods include IUD, the implant, and the shot which contain only progestin. Combined hormonal methods include the pill, the ring, and the patch and contain both progestin and estrogen. People with underlying health conditions may be better off taking different hormonal methods than the general population. Some hormonal methods might be better for some than others and that is why it is important to know which birth control method falls in to which category.

Birth Control Side Effects:

Some common side effects of using birth control include:

  • Nausea 
  • Breast tenderness 
  • Headaches and migraines 
  • Mood changes 
  • Spotting between menstrual cycles 

Common Questions and Answers Regarding Birth Control and Contraceptives

  1. Does birth control make you gain weight? – The short answer is no, it is actually a myth that this happens to people. Although some hormonal contraceptives have been associated with weight gain, the majority of the time this is not the case. You should still pay attention to how your body reacts just like with any other type of medication.
  2. Does taking birth control pills make it harder to have kids later? – The answer to this is also no because the pill does not have any long-term effects after you quit.
  3. Does the birth control pill affect your sex drive? – The pill should not change too much of your libido which regulates a persons sex drive. Altogether, birth control is not associated with a significant change in sex drive.
  4. What happens if you forget to take the pill one day? – What happens next depends all on the pill. If intercourse has been recent, emergency contraception may be the best option. If the pill is taken irregularly without recent intercourse, everything should be fine and pills should be taken back on schedule the next day.
Online Doctor Appointment Are you interested in taking birth control and/or other forms of contraceptives? Our online doctor appointments will provide you with the answers and care that you need!  At Home Urgent Care  provides telehealth services and birth control options so you can safely and confidently keep your health in check. Book an online appointment  today with our doctors available at your convenience 365 days a year and get your STD prescription online.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics Current Contraceptive Status Among Women Aged 15-49. Accessed on January 1, 2021 at Insider. 9 birth control questions you’ve been too afraid to ask, answered by a gynecologist. Accessed on December 31, 2020 at