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Contraceptive Counseling and Birth Control

Contraceptive Counseling and Birth Control

Contraception, or birth control, refers to any practice with the goal of preventing pregnancy. This includes several different methods. Some methods do not require a prescription, including:
  • Abstinence, the practice of restraint from sexual activity.
  • Spermicides, a substance that destroys a male’s sperm.
  • Female condom, a thin rubber covering that fits inside the vagina.   
  • Male condom, a thin latex sheath that surrounds the penis.
  • Emergency contraception, also commonly referred to as the morning after pill, is an oral medication that can be ingested up to 5 days after sexual intercourse.
  • Family planning, the organization of the use of birth control methods, discussion of when to have children and sexual education.
There are many other forms of contraception that do require prescribed medication, including:
  • Implants: a contraceptive device that is inserted under the skin by a physician or certified nurse midwife that slowly releases progestin.
  • Injections: a contraceptive injection is a vaccination of progestin that is slowly released into the body. The hormone then inhibits ovulations, which prevents sperm from reaching the egg.
  • Hormonal vaginal ring: a 2-inch ring that is inserted into the vagina and slowly releases hormones into the body, stopping ovulation and creating a barrier to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg.
  • Diaphragm: a dome shaped, silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix so that sperm cannot reach the uterus. Diaphragms also require spermicides before insertion.
  • Patch: a birth control patch that is directly applied to the skin and releases hormones into the bloodstream that prevent ovulation.
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD): Intrauterine devices are inserted by a physician into the uterus. They are small, plastic devices that contain hormones that prevent fertilization by killing the sperm.  
  • Oral contraceptives: Oral contraception, or “the pill”, is prescription medication that is taken daily around the same time. It is the most common prescription contraception. Birth control pills prevent ovulation by regulating hormones progestin and/or estrogen. Additionally, they can be taken to regulate a menstrual cycle and control PMS. Taking the pill increases iron levels and can prevent ovarian cancer. The pill does not, however, prevent sexually transmitted infections.
In addition to these contraceptive methods, some women choose to use permanent birth control like Essure. This requires a minimally invasive, in-office procedure that can be conveniently performed at The Longstreet Clinic’s Center for Women’s Health.
Women who undergo the procedure can return to work and normal activities the next day. Essure is only for women who are certain they do not plan to have children or do not wish to have any more. To learn more about pregnancy prevention, speak with your physician, certified nurse midwife, or nurse practitioner about what method is best for you.

At the Center for Women’s Health, we understand that caring for a woman’s health requires more than just good “medical” care. Call (770) 297-2200 or contact us to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians to help you with your health needs.