birth control in pocket

Birth Control

Many factors come into play when choosing a method of birth control: effectiveness, cost, ease of use, side effects. We provide information to help you make a choice that works for you. The clinic also sells birth control pills, the Evra patch, the Nuva ring, Depo-Provera, Plan B and the Liberte IUD at a low cost to our clients.

For more detailed information, check out Sex & U which offers a questionnaire on choosing the right birth control method, advice on how to talk to your partner, as well as games, tools and apps. The site was developed by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada.

Hormonal Methods

The Pill

Most birth control pills are combinations of two hormones: estrogen and progestin.

They work by stopping ovulation (the release of an egg) and if taken every day are close to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Pills come in two packaging formats: 21 and 28 days. With the 21 day pack, you take a pill every day for 21 days, then have a 7 day break, during which time a period comes. With the 28 day pack, during the 7 day hormonal break you take placebos (sugar pills). If started on the first day of a period, the pill is immediately effective. Otherwise, use a back-up method like a condom for a week. First-timers on the pill are more likely to forget pills, so continuing to use a condom for the first month or more might be a good idea.

A prescription from a health care provider is necessary to get the pill. The clinic provides prescriptions by appointment and sells most brands of birth control pills at a reduced cost, cash only.

The Evra Patch

The patch is a birth control method that is placed on the skin weekly for 3 weeks, followed by a one week hormonal break, during which time a period comes. The patch allows estrogen and progestin to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream. The hormones stop ovulation (the release of an egg) and if used correctly the patch is close to 99% effective. If started on the first day of a period, the patch is immediately effective. Otherwise, use a back-up method like a condom for a week. The Evra patch may be less effective in preventing pregnancy in women at or above 198 lbs (90 kg).

A prescription from a health care provider is necessary to get the patch. The clinic provides prescriptions by appointment and sells the Evra patch at a reduced cost, cash only.

The Nuva Ring

The Nuva ring is a flexible circle which contains the hormones estrogen and progestin and is placed inside the vagina for 3 weeks, followed by a one week hormone break during which time a period comes. The hormones are absorbed into the body and prevent ovulation (the release of an egg). If used correctly, the ring is close to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. If started on the first day of a period, the Nuva ring is immediately effective. Otherwise, use a back-up method like a condom for a week

A prescription from a health care provider is necessary to get the Nuva ring. The clinic provides prescriptions by appointment and sells the ring at a reduced cost, cash only.

Depo Provera

Depo-Provera is an injection of the hormone progestin, given every 12 weeks, which stops ovulation (the release of an egg). The needle is close to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. If injected within the first 5 days of a period, Depo Provera is effective immediately.

A prescription from a health care provider is necessary to get Depo-Provera. The clinic provides prescriptions, and administers the injection, by appointment, at a reduced cost, cash only.

The ECP – Plan B

The ECP (emergency contraceptive pill) is a tablet taken within 3 days after having sex, which reduces the chance of pregnancy by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg). The sooner you take plan B, the more effective it is. It can prevent pregnancy if taken within 72 hours and preferably within 12 hours of unprotected sex. If you take it within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it is 95% effective. If you take it between 48 and 72 hours of unprotected sex, the efficacy rate is 61%.

Plan B is less effective in women weighing 165 lbs (75 kg) or more and not effective in women weighing more than 176 lbs (80 kg).

The clinic provides Plan B at a reduced cost, cash only.

IUD & IUS

The IUD and IUS (Hormonal IUD)

The IUD is a T-shaped plastic device with copper around the stem. It is inserted into the uterus and stops a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus. The copper may also decrease sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. It is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and lasts for five years.

At this clinic we sell the Liberte IUD at a reduced cost, cash only, and insert it.

The IUS is like an IUD but it contains the hormone progestin, which prevents ovulation (the release of an egg). The IUS is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and lasts for 3 years (Jaydess) -5 years (Mirena).

At this clinic we give prescriptions for the IUS and insert it by appointment.

Barrier Methods

The Condom

The external (male) condom is a thin latex or non-latex sheath worn over the penis to prevent sperm from being released into the vagina. It is over 85% effective in preventing pregnancy.
The internal (female) condom is a non-latex pouch which is placed inside the vagina to prevent the entry of sperm. It is over 79% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Both kinds of condoms are available at drugstores. The clinic provides condoms for free. An additional advantage to using condoms is protection from STIs (sexually transmitted infections)

Diaphragm and Cervical Cap

The Caya Diaphragm and Cervical FemCap are devices placed inside the vagina, with contraceptive gel, to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

When used with contraceptive gel the Diaphragm and Cervical Cap are 84% - 94% effective in preventing pregnancy. They are available from natural health practitioners and online.

Spermicides

Spermicides are chemicals which kill sperm. They come in different forms. Spermicidal foam and jelly are inserted into the vagina using an applicator. The sponge is a foam device and the VCF is a piece of film with spermicide in it.

Effectiveness rates in preventing pregnancy range from 68% to 82%, depending on the type of spermicide method. Using a condom together with spermicide will make the method close to 99% effective.

Natural Methods

Fertility Awareness

Fertility Awareness is a system of preventing pregnancy by keeping a record of menstrual cycles and using body cues to determine which days are highest risk for pregnancy.
Depending on the system used, fertility awareness may be over 75% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Sexual Health Clinics can offer guidance on determining fertile times. There also apps available which can be helpful.

Withdrawl (Pulling Out)

This method involves removing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation to prevent sperm from entering the vagina.
Withdrawal can be over 75% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Surgical

Sterilization

Sterilization is permanent birth control. For a man the procedure is called a vasectomy and involves cutting or block the vas deferens which is the tube that carries sperm to the penis. For a woman, the procedure is called a tubal ligation and involves cutting or blocking the fallopian tubes which carry the egg to the uterus.

Both methods of sterilization are over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. A referral to a specialist is necessary.