On this page, you’ll find information about different types of birth control methods that we at the Annex can help provide for you. If you’d like to learn more about your options, we’d be happy to talk with you!
The birth control pill is a medication with hormones in it that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. It works by preventing ovulation from happening. There are lots of different brands to choose from, and they are safe and effective if you remember to take the pill on time every day.
Benefits: The pill is more than 90% effective at preventing pregnancy and is one of the most affordable methods if you don’t have insurance. You’ll also get your period at the same time each cycle.
Drawbacks: The pill is great at preventing pregnancy, but it doesn’t protect against any sexually transmitted infections.
The patch is a small square patch that sticks to your body and releases hormones through your skin. It works by preventing ovulation from happening. Each week for three weeks you’ll wear a new patch on a different place on your body, like your belly, arm, or lower back. During the 4th week you won’t wear a patch and that’s when you will get your period.
Benefits: You only have to think about birth control once per week instead of once per day. It’s easy to use – just like sticking on a band aid.
Drawbacks: Once in a while, the patch can fall off or become itchy. We recommend cleaning the area well and letting it dry before you apply your patch. There’s also no protection against STIs.
The ring (also called NuvaRing) has the same type of hormones as the patch and the pill. It’s a small flexible ring that’s inserted into the vagina and it works by preventing ovulation. The ring stays in for three full weeks, then out for the fourth week. You don’t have to take the ring out at all during the three weeks that it’s in – you can shower, have sex, go swimming and anything else with the ring in.
Benefits: You only need to think about birth control once per month instead of daily or weekly. It’s easy to use – just like putting in a tampon.
Drawbacks: Some people can feel the ring during sex. If this is an issue for you, the ring can be removed, but only up to three hours. The ring does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
The Depo Shot
The depo shot is a hormone injection you get every 12 weeks from a nurse or provider. It works by preventing ovulation from happening.
Benefits: You only need to think about birth control every three months. It’s also very private – no one will know you’re on this method unless you tell them.
Drawbacks: The shot will probably affect your period. You can expect some irregular, unpredictable bleeding (not usually as heavy as a period) for about six months. There is also no protection against sexually transmitted infections.
The Implant (Nexplanon)
The Implant is a small, flexible rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted right under the skin in your upper arm. It lasts for up to four years and is one of the most effective birth control methods. It is inserted and removed by a doctor or provider. It works by releasing a hormone into your body that prevents ovulation from happening.
Benefits: It’s long term and lasts up to four years. This method is so effective because you don’t have to do anything once it’s in. It’s also very private – no one will know you’re on this method unless you tell them.
Drawbacks: Many people experience some irregular and unpredictable bleeding while they are on the implant. It’s usually not as heavy as a period, but it can happen while your body is adjusting to the hormones. After that time, lots of people on this method stop getting periods or have them infrequently. There is no protection against sexually transmitted infections.
One of the most effective methods, the IUD (intrauterine device) is a very small, T-shaped plastic device that gets inserted into the uterus. It is put in by a doctor and will be removed by a doctor. There are several different types of IUDs and some of them have hormones, and some do not.
Benefits: You only need to think about birth control every 5-12 years. This method is extremely effective. It’s also private – no one will know you have an IUD unless you tell them.
Drawbacks: You can experience some mild cramping up to a week after the insertion. You might also have some spotting and irregular bleeding for the first few months after getting the IUD. This method does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Condoms are small, thin pouches made of latex or plastic, that cover the penis during sex and collect semen. Condoms stop sperm from getting into the vagina, so sperm can’t meet up with an egg and cause pregnancy. They also prevent sexually transmitted infections by preventing contact with body fluids and limiting skin-to-skin contact.
There are two types of condoms – “male” condoms which fit onto the penis and can be used for oral, vaginal or anal sex, and “receptive” condoms which are worn inside the body and can be used for vaginal or anal sex. Both types protect against pregnancy and STIs. You can get every type of condom at the Annex!
Emergency contraception (EC) is a medication that can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take EC, the more effective it will be. Some types of EC are available without a prescription at any pharmacy. It is also available at the Annex.
The withdrawal method, also known as “pulling out”, is a pregnancy prevention method where a person with a penis pulls their penis out of their partner’s vagina before ejaculating (cumming) to keep semen from getting into their partner’s body.
Benefits: This method is free and always available. It does not require a prescription, a doctor’s visit, or any equipment or tools at all. This method is almost as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy. The withdrawal method works great with other kinds of birth control, like condoms or the pill.
Drawbacks: For this method to be effective, a person needs to pull their penis completely out of their partner’s body before they ejaculate, so a person needs to be able to tell when they are going to ejaculate. this takes some practice and some people think this can make sex less pleasurable. This method does not provide protection against STIs.
Abstinence is when a person chooses not to engage in sexual activity. Abstinence is not the same as “virginity” because it is not about what a person has done in the past. A person can choose abstinence at any time. For abstinence to prevent pregnancy, a person must commit to not engaging in penis-in-vagina sex or any activity that might involve semen entering the vagina.
Benefits: This method is free and always available. It does not require a prescription, a doctor’s visit, or any equipment or tools at all. If a person is abstaining from anal, oral and vaginal sex, this method prevents STI transmission.
Drawbacks: Some people may want to engage in sex with a their partner(s) for a variety of reasons.