You’re not ready to have children now, and nor do you think you’ll be ready for the foreseeable future. Rather than using short-term birth control methods that require your attention, whether daily, weekly, or monthly, you want to explore longer-term options that you don’t have to think about.
You’re in luck, as these options do exist. In this month’s blog post, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley review a few family planning options that can protect you against an unplanned pregnancy, long into the future.
Long-acting reversible contraceptives
In discussing long-term birth control options, it’s helpful to break them out into two categories — reversible options and permanent sterilization.
First, let’s discuss those options that can provide you with many years’ worth of protection, but also preserve your ability to change your mind down the road when you feel the time is right for starting a family.
These reversible long-term options include two kinds of intrauterine devices (IUDs).
An IUD is a small T-shaped device that we place inside your uterus. With Paragard®, the IUD is made of copper, which naturally repels sperm. This IUD can provide protection for up to 10 years, making it one of the longest-acting contraceptives available.
The other types of IUDs are ones that slowly release hormones to prevent pregnancy. Like the copper IUD, the device is inserted into your uterus, where it can provide 3-5 years of protection against pregnancy.
With both IUDs, the efficacy rates are very high — they’re up to 20 times better than birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings in preventing pregnancy.
And, when the time comes for you to start your family, all we need to do to restore your fertility is to remove the IUD during a simple and painless in-office visit.
A more permanent approach
If you’re sure you don’t want to get pregnant in the future, the other long-term solution is tubal ligation, a procedure in which we tie off, seal, or clip your fallopian tubes to prevent a fertilized egg from reaching your uterus.
A tubal ligation offers a 99% efficacy rating, which means there’s very little chance that you’ll get pregnant after the procedure. While a tubal ligation is possibly reversible, the procedure to do this is complex, so we prefer that you think of it as a permanent birth control option.
While some people believe that a hysterectomy is another form of female sterilization, the procedure is reserved for gynecologic health issues and shouldn’t be considered as long-term birth control.
To further explore your options in long-term birth control, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to schedule a consultation.