Pros and Cons of Different Birth Control Methods


Deciding which birth control method is right for you can be difficult with the amount of options available today. Creating a list of pros and cons for various methods can be a good practice to help you decide. Here is a brief explanation of some pros and cons of a few of the most common methods used today.

  1. Birth Control Pills

One of the most common birth control methods here in the U.S., birth control pills are about 90% effective with typical use.


  • Very effective against pregnancy if used correctly
  • Can help regulate menstrual cycle
  • Doesn’t interrupt sexual activity


  • Doesn’t protect against STIs
  • Can be expensive depending on insurance or lack thereof
  • Need to remember to take the pill at the same time every day
  • Can sometimes cause side effects like nausea, headache, and increased appetite
  • Prescription is needed to purchase
  1. Male Condoms

Another one of the most common birth control methods right next to birth control pills are male condoms, which are also around 90% effective with typical use.


  • Protects against STI’s
  • Can be bought at most drug/grocery stores and is very affordable
  • Allows men to have an active part in preventing pregnancy


  • May disrupt/interrupt sexual activity
  • Can break
  • Possible (but rare) latex allergies
  1. Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)

Growing in popularity, the IUD is 98 to 99% effective.


  • Very effective against pregnancy
  • Is not felt by male or female
  • Can be left in for up to 7 to 12 years
  • Can be removed at any time by a health care provider


  • Doesn’t protect against STI’s
  • Needs to be inserted by a health care provider
  • Can fall out
  • Can be very expensive depending upon insurance
  • Can have side effects like longer or heavier menstrual periods, cramping, and spotting between periods
  1. Fertility Awareness Based Methods

These are completely natural methods in which women figure out when ovulation happens next month to track fertility. It has about a 76% success rate with typical use.


  • Completely natural
  • Costs no money
  • Woman learns menstrual cycles and gets to know her own body better


  • Doesn’t protect against STIs
  • Need to figure out when ovulation occurs each month, which can be difficult, especially if you have an irregular period like many young women do
  • Can’t have sexual intercourse for one week each month (during ovulation)

While these four options are some of the most popular birth control methods, there are several more available today with varying costs and procedures. Consider some of the pros and cons listed above, and talk to your health care provider about other options that may be a good fit for you.

Author: Renae H.





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