Guide to Birth Control
What you need to know, whether you plan on having another child or not
I've heard there's a type of sterilization for women that isn't surgical. Does it work? Is it permanent?
It's called Essure, and it's put in via a nonsurgical procedure that can be done in your doctor's office. A pluglike coil is inserted through your cervix into each fallopian tube. Over time, tissue grows over the devices, permanently blocking the tubes and keeping sperm out. Until the tissue is fully formed, you can't rely on it, so you'll have to use a backup method the first three months post-insertion. It seems to be as effective as tubal ligation and has a faster recovery, but its efficacy hasn't been studied beyond ten years. You should also assume it's not reversible, says Daniel Mishell, M.D., chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles.
I want to get pregnant fairly soon. What method should I choose?
The only option you should avoid is the Depo-Provera injection, according to Alison Edelman, M.D., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health Sciences University, in Portland. With Depo-Provera, you'll have to think about birth control just every three months, when you'll see your doctor for the pro-gesterone-only shot. "But it can delay fertility for up to a year and a half," says Dr. Edelman. (The average is six months.) With the other hormonal methods, including the Pill, it's possible to become pregnant within one to three months.