Women’s Health Specialists Review Birth Control


At Wasatch Wellness, we believe in empowering individuals to make informed choices about their health, including reproductive health. The topic of birth control holds paramount importance in providing people with agency over their bodies and family planning. It encompasses a diverse array of methods designed to prevent pregnancy and manage reproductive health. As women’s health specialists, we want to provide clear and concise information regarding birth control.

Hormonal Birth Control Methods:

1. Birth Control Pills:
  •   Mechanism: These pills contain synthetic hormones (estrogen and/or progestin) to prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus, and alter the uterine lining.
  • Pros: High effectiveness when taken consistently, lighter periods, reduced menstrual cramps.
  • Cons: Must be taken daily, potential side effects like nausea, breast tenderness, and increased risk of blood clots.
2. Birth Control Patch:
  • Mechanism: Similar to pills, it releases hormones through the skin to prevent ovulation.
  • Pros: Requires weekly application, no daily intake needed.
  •   Cons: May cause skin irritation, similar side effects to pills.
3. Birth Control Implant:
  • Mechanism: A small, flexible rod inserted under the skin of the arm that releases progestin to prevent ovulation.
  • Pros: Lasts up to three years, highly effective, no daily maintenance.
  • Cons: Potential side effects like irregular bleeding, headache, or weight gain.
4. Birth Control Shot:
  • Mechanism: A progestin injection that prevents ovulation for three months.
  • Pros: Only required every three months.
  • Cons: Possible side effects include weight gain, irregular bleeding, and bone density loss.

Non-Hormonal Birth Control Methods:

1. Condoms:
  • Mechanism: Physical barrier preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Pros: Protects against STDs, readily available.
  • Cons: Less effective than hormonal methods, can break or slip.
2. Diaphragm/Cervical Cap:
  • Mechanism: Barrier method, covers the cervix to block sperm.
  • Pros: Can be inserted before sex, no hormones.
  • Cons: Requires fitting by a healthcare provider, must be used with spermicide, potential for urinary tract infections.
3. Copper IUD:
  • Mechanism: Releases copper to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg.
  • Pros: Long-term effectiveness (up to 10 years), hormone-free.
  • Cons: May cause heavier periods and cramping.
4. Sterilization (Tubal Ligation/Vasectomy):
  • Mechanism: Surgical procedure to block fallopian tubes (women) or vas deferens (men).
  • Pros: Permanent, highly effective.
  • Cons: Considered irreversible, requires surgery.

Each method has its advantages and limitations, so choosing the right one involves considering individual health factors, preferences, and lifestyle. Consulting with a women’s health specialist can help determine the most suitable birth control method based on effectiveness, potential side effects, and ease of use aligned with personal needs and goals.

Cost Variations Among Different Birth Control Methods:

Hormonal Methods: Birth control pills, patches, implants, and shots often involve ongoing costs. Prices can vary based on insurance coverage, generic versus brand-name options, and healthcare provider consultations. Generally, these methods require regular purchases or appointments, impacting long-term expenses.

Non-Hormonal Methods: Condoms, diaphragms, and cervical caps are relatively more affordable and can be purchased over the counter without a prescription. However, costs can accumulate over time with repeated purchases.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs): While IUDs and implants have higher upfront costs, they are cost-effective over time due to their long-lasting nature, offering a more affordable option in the long run compared to monthly purchases of pills or patches.

Affordable Options and Financial Assistance Programs

Insurance Coverage: Many insurance plans cover birth control partially or entirely, reducing out-of-pocket costs. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the United States requires most insurance plans to cover FDA-approved contraceptives without cost-sharing.

Government Assistance Programs: Programs like Medicaid provide coverage for contraceptives for eligible individuals. Planned Parenthood and other clinics often offer sliding-scale fees based on income.

Discount Programs and Coupons: Some pharmaceutical companies offer discount programs or coupons for specific birth control brands, reducing the overall cost.

Public Health Clinics and Community Health Centers: These centers may offer birth control at reduced rates or on a sliding scale based on income.

Generic Options: Opting for generic versions of birth control pills or other methods can significantly reduce costs while offering the same effectiveness as brand-name options.

Accessing affordable birth control involves exploring various avenues, including insurance coverage, government programs, discount options, and community resources. Discussing financial concerns with healthcare providers and women’s health specialists can often lead to finding suitable options that align with both health needs and budgetary constraints.

Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning (NFP) refers to a set of methods used to track fertility signs in a woman’s menstrual cycle to either achieve or avoid pregnancy. These methods rely on understanding the body’s natural indicators of fertility and are based on the principles of observing and interpreting changes in cervical mucus, basal body temperature, and other physical signs without using hormonal or barrier methods of contraception.

Different NFP Methods:

1. Calendar Method (Rhythm Method):
  • Principle: Predicts fertile days based on the length of past menstrual cycles to estimate the fertile window.
  • How it Works: Calculates the fertile window by tracking the number of days in a woman’s menstrual cycle over several months.
  • Limitations: Less reliable for women with irregular cycles and does not account for individual variations in fertility.
2. Cervical Mucus Method (Billings Ovulation Method):
  • Principle: Observes changes in cervical mucus consistency and volume throughout the cycle.
  • How it Works: Determines fertility based on the appearance and feel of cervical mucus, which changes in response to hormonal fluctuations.
  • Limitations: Requires consistent monitoring and interpretation, learning curve for accurate observation.
3. Symptothermal Method:
  • Principle: Combines various fertility signs like basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and other physical symptoms.
  • How it Works: Tracks basal body temperature upon waking, cervical mucus, and other physical indicators to identify fertile and infertile phases.
  • Limitations: Requires meticulous tracking and interpretation, but considered more reliable when multiple indicators are used together.

Effectiveness and Limitations of NFP Methods:

Effectiveness: When used correctly and consistently, NFP methods can be highly effective. The symptothermal method, combining multiple indicators, tends to be more reliable, with effectiveness rates similar to some other contraceptive methods.

Limitations: NFP methods heavily rely on regular and accurate tracking of fertility signs, making them less effective for individuals with irregular cycles or those unable to consistently track indicators. Additionally, they require a significant commitment to learning and consistently applying the method, which might not be feasible for everyone.

The effectiveness of NFP methods can vary based on individual factors, education in tracking fertility signs, and commitment to following the method’s guidelines. Proper education, support, and consistent monitoring are crucial for maximizing the effectiveness of these methods in either achieving or avoiding pregnancy. Consulting with a healthcare provider or a fertility educator can provide valuable guidance in utilizing NFP methods effectively and responsibly.


Empowerment lies in the ability to make choices that resonate with one’s values, health, and aspirations. Therefore, I encourage everyone to proactively engage with a women’s health specialist and a healthcare professionals, have open discussions, ask questions, and actively participate in the decision-making process regarding their reproductive health. By doing so, individuals can confidently select the most suitable birth control method that aligns with their preferences, ensuring responsible and informed choices for their well-being.

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