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Contraception and 5 Facts You Need to Know

Reaching a decision on the "right" contraception for you involves an understanding these 5 facts:

1. There are several hormonal (including the pill, patch, ring, progesterone IUD & injection) & non hormonal (copper IUD) methods. When examining hormonal contraception, each has a different mechanism of delivery and so the performance and side effects of each will vary.  Even within each class of contraceptive methods the choices of dosage and composition can change which alter how it will act with your body.  A good OBGYN will be able to look at your previous usage and cater a choice that may be better for your individual needs. 

2.Contraception is not only about reducing your chance of pregnancy. In fact, many of my patients are on contaception for other reasons which can include acne, heavy or painful periods, prevention of ovarian cysts, or treatment of endometriosis.  I choose to examine all the pros and cons in selecting a method rather than focusing on only one benefit.  Remember also that how a birth control works with a friend is not a guarantee of performance with your body's chemistry.

3. Birth control in general does not reduce your chance of getting pregnant if you choose to pursue later.  The reversibility of most contraception (the depo provera shot is the sole exception) is immediate upon discontinuation.  I would also advise meeting with your doctor when planning to end contraception to see what considerations should be undertaken.

4. You do not need to stop contraception even if you are not currently at risk for pregnancy.  In fact, continuation of contraception during these times allows for the disuptions of stopping & restarting while providing many of the non-contraceptive benefits including reduced ovarian & endometrial (uterine lining) cancer, lighter to absent periods, or reduced menstrual cramps.

5. There are many fallacies with regards to contraception and one is its safety. In one survey patients were asked what was more dangerous, being pregnant or being on birth control and the majority believed that pregnancy was safer when in fact it is the opposite.  This is not to discourage people from pursuing pregnancy but to understand that you shouldn't avoid a good contraception because of a false concern for the harm you perceive. Sit down with your OBGYN, discuss your goals & plans and then find the birth control that meets your needs.

Mary Park MD Dr. Park is a board certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist based in lower Manhattan. She completed her OBGYN residency training at New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Her areas of interest include finding individual solutions to the challenges caused by uterine fibroids and approaches to the treatment of endometriosis. She is a highly qualified expert in evaluating and treating a variety of uterine conditions while incorporating visualization of the uterus through a combination of hysteroscopy and ultrasound.

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