Mayo Clinic: My husband and I are both in our early 20s and
would like to wait about five years to begin our family. What
type of birth control would you recommend? Does using birth
control for a long time make it harder to conceive down the
wide variety of safe, effective birth control options are
available, and sometimes it can be tough to decide which one
is the right choice. For someone in your situation — who
wants to get pregnant in a few years — long-acting
reversible forms of birth control (also called contraception)
are likely the best option. There are several to choose from,
and none affect your ability to conceive once you decide you’d
like to become pregnant.
reversible contraceptives give you consistent, reliable birth
control without needing to think about it regularly, as is
necessary for some other options, such as birth control pills,
condoms, natural family planning or contraceptive sponges.
There are three basic types of long-acting reversible
contraceptives: intrauterine devices or IUDs, implants and
injections. All require a prescription from your health care
is a small device placed in the uterus by a health care
professional during an office visit. There is a hormone-free
IUD that works by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg.
There also are IUDs that contain the hormone progesterone.
They work by thinning the uterine lining, thickening cervical
mucus, and preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg.
on the type you choose, IUDs can be left in place for three,
five or 10 years. For typical use, IUDs have a failure rate of
less than one pregnancy in 100 women per year. As soon as the
IUD is removed, your natural fertility is restored.
contraceptive implant is placed just beneath the skin on the
inside of your upper arm. It’s a flexible plastic rod that
is about the size of a matchstick. The implant releases a low,
steady dose of a hormone that prevents pregnancy by
suppressing ovulation, thinning the uterine lining and
thickening cervical mucus. The implant can prevent pregnancy
for up to three years. After that, it needs to be removed and
are as effective as IUDs, with protection against pregnancy
higher than 99 percent. An implant must be removed by a health
care provider. You can have it taken out at any time. You
return to your natural level of fertility as soon as the
implant is removed.
contraceptive injection is birth control you receive in the
form of a shot once every three months. The injection, which
contains the hormone progestin, prevents pregnancy in a manner
similar to the contraceptive implant — by suppressing
ovulation to keep your ovaries from releasing an egg, as well
as thickening cervical mucus to keep sperm from reaching the
always get your injections on schedule, every 12 weeks, the
reliability of this birth control method is as high as an IUD
or implant. If you wait longer than 13 weeks between
injections, its effectiveness goes down significantly. So if
you choose the injection, you must be willing to visit your
health care provider every three months. You can continue
receiving the injections for as long as you’d like. When you
decide to stop getting the injections, there can be a short
delay in the return of your fertility and ovulation. However,
eventually your fertility will return to normal.
these long-acting reversible forms of birth control has
specific risks and benefits, and they aren’t all appropriate
for every woman. Your family health history, personal medical
background and individual preferences must be considered. Talk
to your health care provider about the pros and cons of each,
based on your situation, to help decide what’s right for