Birth Control Options for When You Know You’re Done
We know that you love your little ones. You love them so much, in fact, that you want to give them the best of you. And when you know that the best of you means having no more babies, you may be wondering what birth control options are available for you and your partner.
Most of us are aware of vasectomies, but there are a lot of considerations with that procedure. The cost, for one, or how a man might feel about it (although most moms would argue that giving birth and going through pregnancy is definitely way more than their fair share in the family rearing!), religious considerations, or all of those stories of babies born after vasectomies might deter a couple from choosing a vasectomy.
Or maybe you're just curious about what other kinds, if any, of birth control options exist for you and your partner after you have made the decision that your family is complete. Here are all of the birth control options that might be right for you.
There are a few types of birth control options you can practice when you're done having kids: there are options for women, options for men, and temporary and permanent options.
Vasectomy. For men, the only permanent option for birth control is a vasectomy. Vasectomies aren't typically covered by insurance and according to a 2007 report by CNN, cost an average of around $700. The price can go much higher, however, and can vary. The procedure is considered to be very effective, permanent, and is relatively simple and painless. A vasectomy is done in a doctor's office, without anesthesia, and only takes a few minutes. Couples do have to be careful to use condoms or abstain until the man has tested and been cleared, as it can take a few months for the vasectomy to work. In some cases, if you change your mind or change partners, a vasectomy can be reversed or IVF can be used to retrieve a man's sperm to achieve a pregnancy.
Condoms. Condoms are also an option for continuing birth control even when you know you are done having kids. When used correctly, studies have proven that condoms do have a high efficacy rate (meaning, they are effective in preventing pregnancy.)
There are two types of permanent birth control options for women. One, the most well-known type of procedure, is the tubal ligation (TL), which is performed in a hospital or surgical setting. The fallopian tubes are occluded by clips or cauterized. The procedure is considered to be highly effective and without any major risk or complications.
The other option is fallopian tube occlusion, a procedure that can be done in a doctor's office without anesthesia. One of the popular brand names for this procedure is the product called Essure, although there are different types on the market, too. This type of procedure creates scar tissue that blocks the opening of the fallopian tubes, which prevents a fertilized egg from entering. Although this type of procedure is ideal because it can be done in an office, it's also a newer procedure, so doctors aren't 100% sure on the long-term effects of having it done. This type of procedure also requires at least three months of backup contraception before it is considered effective, much like a male vasectomy. There is a small risk of uterine perforation, as the device does extend back into the uterus.
Both options for permanent birth control do not affect a woman's hormonal cycle, so you will continue ovulating and having cycles as normal.
If you want a birth control option that you don't have to think about, but aren't quite ready to take the permanent leap, you might want to explore long-acting reversible contraception. These are usually an injectable birth control or a device that goes inside your body, like your arm or directly into the uterus. Your doctor should have the most up-to-date types that are available to you and she or he might be able to recommend something that works best for you and your insurance.
If you're not interested in having a procedure or using hormones or condoms, you could learn a fertility awareness method to prevent pregnancy. There are many devices on the market, such as the Daysy or fertility tracking apps, that can help you, but the key to a method like this is fully understanding signs of fertility in your own body, discipline, and consistency. The ACOG recommends that if you choose a fertility awareness method, you should take a class on the method you chose from a qualified teacher who can provide you support and feedback as you learn. Fertility awareness methods, when used correctly, are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, but human error definitely can occur.
When you and your partner decide you are done having babies, either from that “feeling” you get or for other reasons, such as medical risk to yourself or financial considerations, there are many options you can choose from. Research is always being done on family planning options too, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what method might be right for you.
Are you done having babies? What method are you considering?