Birth control is ideal for people who aren’t ready to start their own families or who don’t want to have more children; they’re also essential for public health to limit the spread of transferable diseases and infections. People can choose from several birth control options; each carries its own effectiveness and risks. For centuries, humans have used various methods to control pregnancy, but modern methods are the safest and most effective. Common methods include temporary measures like pills, shots, barriers, implants or permanent choices like sterilization. Ultimately the timing for parenthood is yours, and these five methods will allow you to make the best possible choice for you and your significant other.

Top Birth Control Options:

  • Birth control pills
  • Contraceptive shots
  • Barrier contraceptives
  • Implants
  • Sterilization


Birth control pills are one of the most effective and simple means to prevent pregnancy. A woman takes pills daily. Pills work by making the mucus in the cervice thicker so that sperm can’t reach the egg or by keeping the egg in the ovaries. This is accomplished by the release of hormones. Estrogen and progestin are hormones found in the combination pill. This type of pill is popular because it doesn’t interfere with sexual spontaneity. Other benefits include: light periods, and reduced menstrual cramps. The pill has also shown to be effective against acne, pelvic inflammatory disease, cysts, and anemia.


  • Easy and safe to use
  • Proven to be highly effective when used properly
  • Offers added benefits such as light periods and reduced menstrual cramping


The shot is a hormone application that prevents pregnancy for up to 3 months. The shot is commonly known by its brand name Depo-Provera. The shot works in the same manner as birth control pills. It contains the hormone progestin. As with the pill, the shot causes cervical mucus to thicken or keeps the egg in the ovaries. The shot is simple and effective. Usually administered by a health care worker or doctor, the shot’s primary benefit is no daily dose is needed. Other benefits include: sexual spontaneity, no estrogen, and protection against cervical cancer. Disadvantages associated with the shot include either no periods or heavier menstrual periods.


  • No need to worry about missed daily doses
  • Long-lasting
  • Can offer protection against cervical cancer


Barriers such as condoms, sponges, cervical caps, and diaphragms prevent pregnancy by keeping sperm from reaching the cervix. Each of these products work in similar matters. Male condoms are worn over the penis while female condoms are placed inside the vagina. Sponges and cervical caps prevent pregnancy by creating a barrier to the cervix. With the exception of the diaphragm, these methods also include spermicides that kill sperm before it reaches the cervix. Advantages of barriers are cheap, safe, and effective. Disadvantages of barrier methods include irritation, loss of sexual spontaneity, and may be used improperly.


  • Inexpensive
  • Safe and effective
  • Includes several products


Implants are small match sized devices that are inserted under the skin. Similar to the pill or Depo-Provera, implants rely on hormone release to prevent pregnancy. The hormone progesterone thickens cervical mucus and keeps the eggs in the ovaries. Implants can provide long-term protection up to three years. Women who use implants like them because they don’t have to take a daily pill or insert anything into their bodies. Additional benefits include no loss of sexual spontaneity, doesn’t have estrogen, and allows nursing mothers to continue to breast feed. However, there are disadvantages associated with implants. These include lighter or fewer periods in some women or heavier and longer periods in others.


  • Safe and effective
  • Lasts for years
  • Doesn’t take away sexual spontaneity


The most effective method of birth control is also the most permanent. Sterilization can be performed on males as well as females. Female sterilization is achieved by tubal ligation. In this method, a doctor or health care professional closes the Fallopian tubes via a surgical procedure. Typing your tubes prevents the egg from reaching the uterus. This decreases the chances of sperm fertilizing the eggs. Because this method is considered permanent, you should give careful consideration before opting for it. However, women who have chosen this method like it because there is no loss of sexual spontaneity nor does it impact your hormones. The primary disadvantages are permanence and invasive surgery.


  • Effective
  • Tubal ligation is a permanent birth control method
  • Doesn’t take away sexual spontaneity


Until you’re ready to become a parent, consider one of these birth control methods. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so research and carefully consider the method that works best for your lifestyle.