10 birth control choices for women

These consist of cervical caps, sponges, and diaphragms, which are placed in the vagina to block sperm. Most have to be custom fit by your doctor and work in combination with spermicide.

Pros: These can be put in place up to two hours before use and they are reusable.

Cons: Cervical barriers must be left in place up to eight hours after sex. They also increase the risk of bladder and urinary infections. Some men claim they can feel these barriers during sex.

2. Female condom: Like cervical barriers, these block sperm from entering the vagina. Most women overlook these, but a new sleeker, softer, and cheaper version was just approved by the FDA. Like a male condom, it's lubricated and tube shaped.

Pros: They can be used in your vagina or anus, and the outer ring provides some protection against STIs. It's not as likely as the male condom to come off during use and it can be inserted hours before sex.

Cons: They cost more than male condoms and may be harder to find.

3. The Patch: The Patch releases a dose of the ovulation-suppressing hormone, transdermally. Users should be warned that it contains more estrogen than the Pill. You switch the Patch out every week, excluding the fourth week in a one month cycle.

Pros: It may reduce cramps and create lighter periods.

Cons: Smokers, women over 35, diabetics, breast-feeders, and those with high blood pressure shouldn’t use it. It can cause vaginal dryness, yeast infections, breast tenderness, and possible weight gain. It can fall off and is a bit more expsensive than the pill. Like many of these methods, it doesn't prevent against STIs.

4. The Ring: A plastic ring is inserted into the vagina where it releases hormones. Like the Patch, you replace it once every three weeks and you go a month without.

Pros: This methods uses lower amounts of hormones than the Pill or the Patch. Most don’t feel it during sex, but you can take it out for up to three hour intervals. It also reduces many of the problems related to a woman’s period.

Cons: It may result in vaginal irritation, odor, imbalances, or infections. It can fall out if not installed properly. Those who shouldn’t use the Patch are also discouraged from using the Ring.

To learn more about 5. The Shot, 6. Continuous Birth Control, 7. Intrauterine devices (IUDs), 8. The Implant, 9. Emergency contraceptives, and 10. Tubal ligations & vasectomies, check out the full article at AlterNet.

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Birth control for women has come a long way since the days of the pullout method and jumping up and down after sex. Pharmaceutical companies continue to develop alternative ways to prevent pregnancy because most every current option has a few adverse side effects. Often times, women must not only shop around for different types of birth control, but different brands to find what works for them.

Below is an overview of 10 birth control options for women, originally broken down by Daniela Perdomo of AlterNet.

1. Cervical barriers:


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