At My Choice Medical Center, we are pleased to offer you access to the Birth Control method of your choice once we have confirmed that your abortion procedure was completely successful. There are various types of birth control available to you, and during your appointment we will be sure to review your medical history and personal needs to arrive at the best family planning option for you.
The IUD is a little T-shaped piece of plastic that gets put in your uterus to mess with the way sperm can move and prevent them from fertilizing an egg. Sounds odd, but it works like a charm. And if you want to get pregnant, you can have the IUD removed at any time. At MCMC, we offer the Paragard IUD. This IUD is 100% hormone-free and doesn’t alter your periods. It's made of plastic and a small amount of natural, safe copper. It can stay inside you up to 12 years. Once you decide you would like to become pregnant, our providers can remove it easily and you can begin trying to get pregnant immediately. It is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and women have been using Paragard for over 20 years.
The IUD is placed inside of your uterus during an office visit. Our providers are all highly trained at inserting IUDs and have many years of experience with the procedure. It takes only a few minutes to insert an IUD and requires no recovery time. You will likely feel some cramping during the insertion, which is often manageable with a single dose of Motrin. The IUD will be placed inside of your uterus, but you will have two thin strings that you will be able to feel inside of your vagina. Your provider will teach you how to locate these strings (they need to be there in order to remove the IUD later on), and the strings should not bother or be noticeable to you or your partner. We prefer you to be on your period during the insertion procedure, but we will be able to insert the IUD on any day as long as you are certain you are not pregnant. Once the procedure is complete, any cramping or discomfort generally resolves over the next few minutes and requires no recovery or downtime.
Side Effects from the Paragard are minimal due to the absence of synthetic hormones. However, the Paragard may make your periods slightly longer/heavier/more crampy, especially for the first 3-6 months. Some women will experience a little spotting in between periods the first few months, but this is rare. Approximately 5% of women may spontaneously expel the IUD, with the incidence of this being highest in women who have an IUD inserted less than 6 weeks after having a baby. A very rare but serious side effect of an IUD is perforation of the uterus, which means the IUD is placed too far inside and pushes through the uterine wall. Perforation can be treated and occurs in less than 1 out of 1000 insertions.
You may come to MCMC to remove the IUD at any time, for any reason (changed your mind; don’t like the side effects; desire pregnancy; want to change method, etc…). Removing the IUD is a quick and often painless visit, and since the IUD was not altering your hormones or menstrual cycle, you can get pregnant right away.
Commonly referred to as “ The Pill”, and you will often hear Birth Control Pills being called "oral contraception." You take it once a day, at the same time every day. Most work by releasing hormones that keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.
You want to try your very best to take the pill each day at the same time. This consistency assures that the pills will be able to work at it’s expected efficiency, which is around 95 %. The time of day does not matter, however, you should chose the time of day that is easiest for you to be consistent. If you forget to take your pills or do not take them at the same time, your chance of pregnancy will increase. Most packages contain 21 days (3 weeks) of active pills and then one week of placebo (blank pills or “sugar” pills). During the placebo week, you will get your period. Depending on the brand of pills, some placebo pills will contain Iron to guard against anemia. Each brand may differ slightly in the number of days you get your period. Your provider will instruct you on what to do should you forget to take a pill.
Women who take birth control pills generally have lighter periods with less cramping. There is also a lower incidence of cancer of the uterus in women who take the pill. Break-through bleeding and spotting sometimes occurs, but is less likely the more regularly you take your pill on time every day. Similar to other hormonal contraceptives, other side effects can include: breast tenderness or soreness, headache, and nausea. These symptoms are usually worse when you first start taking a hormonal contraceptive like the pill, and get better and usually disappear completely as your body adjusts to the new hormones (usually after few months of continued use.)
The Depo shot (DMPA), or Depo Provera, is a long acting contraceptive injection. This method of birth control is effective, convenient, and lasts three months. DMPA is safe even for women who can not take estrogen, including women who are currently breastfeeding or have high blood pressure. It works by stopping ovulation and thickening cervical mucus which helps to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. The injection is a very effective way to prevent pregnancy, only about 0.3% (or 1-3 out of every 100) of women who regularly receive the injections will become pregnant. At each visit you will be given a card to remind you of your next time to receive the injection. It is important that you return on time .
Women who use the injection may experience irregular menstrual cycles, especially in the first few months of use. Your periods may be heavier, longer, or disappear completely. The chance of amenorrhea (no period at all) will increase over time but not having your period is not dangerous. You may have spotting daily or in between your normal monthly menses. . Irregular bleeding and or spotting can be managed by your provider as needed. Many women are concerned about weight gain on the injection, but research hasn’t been able to show much direct correlation with weight gain and the injection. The hormones in the injection may make you feel hungrier, which in turn can lead to eating more and then ultimately gaining weight. There is some minor bone density loss seen in women who use the injection, but studies show that once a women discontinues the injection the loss is reversed. You may take a daily calcium supplement to prevent loss if you choose.
The Contraceptive Patch is a combination hormonal patch containing both progestin and estrogen, similar to most birth control pills. Rather than swallowing a pill each day, you place a patch on your skin each week and the hormones get absorbed through your skin into the body. On the fourth week of each month, you do not wear a patch and you will have a menstrual bleed. The patch is anywhere from 92-97% effective in preventing pregnancy depending on how consistently you use it.
You will apply The Patch to the abdomen, buttock, upper outer arm, or upper torso (excluding the breast). Each week you must alternate the site, you cannot place it in the exact same spot each week, as this can cause skin irritation over time.
Break-through bleeding and spotting occur at about the same rate as the Pill. Similar to other hormonal contraceptives, other side effects can include: breast tenderness or soreness, headache, and nausea. These symptoms are usually worse when you first start taking a hormonal contraceptive like The Patch, and get better and usually disappear completely as your body adjusts to the new hormones (usually after few months of continued use.) Some reaction at the application site may also occur, but rotating the site each week can be helpful.
The Contraceptive Vaginal Ring (“NuvaRing”) contains both progestin and estrogen, similar to most birth control pills and the patch. Nuva Ring is easily inserted in the vagina and left there for 21 days (3 weeks) each month. It is then removed for seven days (1 week) for your period to come. You will need to insert and remove the Nuva Ring yourself each month. A new ring needs to be inserted in the vagina at the same time, on the same day of the week following your period each month to be most effective. If you do not insert The Ring on time, it is important to use a backup form of birth control that month as you are more likely to get pregnant. While the Ring is removed for your period, you are still protected from getting pregnant.
The ring does not need to be removed for sexual intercourse, and usually a women’s partner can’t even tell the Ring is inside, and it is rare for a partner to report that they can feel the ring. However, if you choose, the Ring can be removed for up to 3 hours a day for sex, but it is very important that it is placed back in the vagina as soon as possible for the highest effectiveness. If you forget for more than 3 hours, please call the office for further directions.
Possible side effects include headache, increased or thicker vaginal discharge, and sometimes an increase of vaginal infections. Break-through bleeding and spotting occur at about the same rate as the Pill or Patch. Similar to other hormonal contraceptives, other side effects can include: breast tenderness or soreness and nausea. These symptoms are usually worse when you first start taking a hormonal contraceptive like The Ring, and get better and usually disappear completely as your body adjusts to the new hormones (usually after few months of continued use.)
Condoms are an easily accessible, non-hormonal method of birth control. Condoms prevent pregnancy approximately 88-92% of the time if used properly. Condoms are often made from Latex, but there are non-latex brands available for those who have reactions/allergies to latex material. Condoms are the only method of birth control that provides protection from sexually transmitted infections. Condom use is always recommended in addition to other birth control methods to prevent infections.
If you are certain that you do not want any more pregnancies, a permanent method of birth control may be the right choice for you. In California you will need to sign the consent for sterilization at least 30 days before the surgery date. You can have the procedure done laparoscopic (via small holes in abdomen and using cameras) or through a laparotomy (small incision suprapubically. Once you are certain that your permanent contraception is required the staff at My Choice Medical Center can guide you throughout the process.
MCMC has been providing exceptional care in a safe, private setting for 18 years. MCMC was founded by Dr. Joseph, an OB/GYN. If you would like to schedule a consult or come for a visit, please call us at (866) 397-3070 – our friendly and compassionate staff are ready to help you access the quality care that you need. All of our services are confidential, and records are only released at your request and with your consent.