Rush providers will discuss each birth control method's benefits, side effects and impact to your lifestyle so you can decide your best option.
Birth control, or contraception, is a method for preventing pregnancy. Because you have so many birth control options, contraceptive counseling is key to making the choice that's right for you.
Deciding the Right Birth Control for Me
We understand that choosing the best birth control option can be a difficult decision. Our expert providers will start by listening, making sure to understand your health, lifestyle and personal preferences before counseling you on your choices.
There are many things to consider when choosing birth control:
- How effective is the method?
- Is it permanent or reversible?
- Is it convenient?
- How affordable is it?
- What are its side effects?
- Does it protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?
- Does it impact my mental or physical health?
- Does it offer any additional benefits to my health?
- Is it compatible with my religious or cultural beliefs?
Rush providers recommend that you choose a method that is safe, comfortable and affordable — an option that you can use consistently. Also, keep in mind that your birth control method may change throughout your lifetime based on your health and reproductive needs.
Available Birth Control Methods
Birth control options are grouped into five categories, each with their own benefits.
- Barrier: Used only during sexual intercourse and contains no hormones; condoms and diaphragms are examples
- Short-acting hormones: Hormone medication taken on a daily, weekly or monthly basis; birth control pills, vaginal rings and contraceptive injections are examples
- Long-acting hormones: Hormone devices that last three to 10 years after insertion; copper or hormonal IUD and contraceptive implant are examples
- Fertility awareness: Using basal body temperature or other charting to abstain from sex on days when you are fertile
- Sterilization: Tubal ligation and surgeries and vasectomies are the only permanent forms of birth control
After selecting your preferred method, your Rush provider will continue to monitor how your choice is working for you.
Rush providers will also educate you about emergency contraception — an option if you’ve had unprotected sex or you did not use your birth control properly.
- Morning-after pill: This over-the-counter pill uses a high dose of progestin to prevent pregnancy. It is most effective when taken within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex.
- Copper IUD: Your provider can insert a copper IUD up to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
- Ulipristal acetate: Available by prescription only, this pill is more effective than over-the-counter medication at preventing pregnancy for some patients.
Rush Excellence in Birth Control
- Nationally-ranked for gynecologic care: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical No. 13 in the nation for gynecologic care.
- Specialized care for complex cases: Rush University Medical Center offers family planning specialists to care for patients with more complex medical histories. These OB-GYNs, who completed additional medical training in family planning, provide contraceptive counseling and services to patients who have health conditions, such as diabetes, organ transplants or bariatric surgery, that may make choosing a birth control method more complicated.
- Same-day birth control insertion: Often, during contraceptive counseling appointments, patients may have to book a follow-up appointment if they choose to try a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or implants. At Rush University Medical Center, patients visiting with a family planning specialist can receive their LARC at the same appointment.