When it comes to birth control, we live in an age of options, and you can certainly find one that will meet your needs. Birth control can be hormonal or non-hormonal, and there are even low-maintenance options for women with busy schedules. Whatever your lifestyle may be, you can find something that works for you, and your doctor will be more than happy to discuss your options with you.

The option most people are familiar with is the condom. The condom works as a barrier against sperm, and it is good for women who need a non-hormonal option. Condoms can be low-maintenance in that they are only necessary during sexual intercourse, but a fresh condom is needed with each encounter. Condoms aren’t the only birth control “barriers” available, and some women prefer diaphragms or sponges which also work by blocking sperm. However, condoms tend to be the most inexpensive and widely available of the barrier options, and condoms are also effective in preventing sexually transmitted infections.

You may also be familiar with the birth control pill. The pill works by utilizing hormones to prevent ovulation, and if you are not ovulating, then there is no egg for sperm to fertilize. Birth control pills are generally inexpensive and are great for treating other conditions (like irregular periods or PCOS). However, they must be taken at the same time every day, so they may not be the best option for you if you forget to take your pill regularly. Aside from birth control pills, the patch and the intervaginal ring are other options that utilize hormones to prevent pregnancy, and some women find these options to be a little more low-maintenance. The patch is applied directly to the skin and is changed on a weekly basis. The patch slowly releases hormones throughout the week that are absorbed by the skin. Like the patch, the intervaginal ring doesn’t require daily attention, and the ring is inserted into the vagina and is removed after three weeks.

There are more options that don’t require daily attention, but they do require the help of a doctor. Some women prefer a hormonal shot that is administered by your doctor, and typically a birth control shot can prevent pregnancy for up to three months. Your doctor can also insert a birth control implant into the arm or an IUD (Intrauterine Device) into the uterus. Both options can last for years before needing to be replaced which saves many women the hassle of remembering pills or patches. Furthermore, both devices can be easily removed by your doctor if your plans to have children change.

Such a variety of birth control options are available today, and one of these options is bound to meet your needs. Don’t be afraid to discuss birth control with your doctor so that you can find something that fits your lifestyle. Understanding the options is key to preventing pregnancy and to family planning.