Family Planning + Birth Control Options
Approximately 40% of pregnancies in Canada are unintended. Contraception (or Birth Control) consists of medication or devices used to prevent pregnancy. There are many options to choose from to help you and your partner prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Effective contraception is commonly grouped into "hormonal," "non-hormonal," and "emergency contraception," or "permanent," "long-acting reversible contraception, and "short-acting reversible contraception."
Liberty Women's Health provides counseling to help you decide which option is best for you based on your goals and health history. We provide hormonal and non-hormonal options for long-acting and short-acting reversible contraception.
Before you begin hormonal contraception, we will:
Assess your individual risks and benefits
Counsel you on how to use contraception
Counsel you on how to manage any side effects
Schedule ongoing follow-ups
LONG-ACTING REVERSIBLE CONTRACEPTIVES (LARCs)
Methods need to be replaced every three to ten years. Studies show that people using LARC have fewer unintended pregnancies and are more likely to continue use compared to short-acting reversible contraceptives.
Intrauterine contraceptives (IUCs) are long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods. IUCs are tiny T-shaped devices that are inserted in the uterus by your doctor in the clinic; they are the most effective forms of birth control available and are first-line for preventing pregnancy and regulating periods in of all ages women, including adolescents.
There are two types of IUCs: the non-hormonal options is the Copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD), and the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS), which contains a progestin.
Having an IUC places is simple, does not require anaesthesia, and only takes a few minutes.
HOW IT WORKS:
The LNG-IUS (such as Mirena® or Kyleena®) thins the uterine lining and causes the cervical mucus to becomes thicker, which makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus. This makes periods much lighter and less uncomfortable.
The copper IUD works by changes the way sperm cells move so they can’t swim to an egg. It works immediately after insertion, and is also used as a form or emergency contraception.
Nexplanon® (etonogestrel implant) is a small progestin-releasing, flexible ethylene vinyl-acetate copolymer (plastic) rod placed under the skin of the upper arm by your healthcare provider in a quick office-based procedure. It can remain in place for three years.
HOW IT WORKS: The etonogestrel implant stops the ovaries from releasing an egg, prevents the sperm from meeting an egg by changing the cervical mucus, and also thins out the uterine lining, preventing implantation.
SHORT-ACTING REVERSIBLE CONTRACEPTIVES (SARCs)
Methods need to be remembered between once per day and once every three months.
ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE PILL
Also known as "birth control pills," contraceptive pills are suitable for most women and can be used long-term. There are two forms: combined oral contraceptive (COC), which contains both estrogen and progestin, and the progestin-only contraceptive (POP). They are dispensed at pharmacies, but require a prescription.
HOW IT WORKS: The pill prevents pregnancy preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg, thickening the cervical mucus (making it harder for sperm to reach an egg), by thinning the lining of the uterus, which prevents implantation.
Injectable birth control is a highly effective and reversible method of contraception. The injection contains a progestin, but does not contain estrogen. It is administered by your health care provider every 12-13 weeks, so it may be a good choice for women who have trouble following a daily, weekly, or monthly routine.
HOW IT WORKS: Progestin hormone stops the ovaries from releasing an egg, thickens the cervical mucus (making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg) and changes the lining of the uterus making implantation difficult.
A small, patch that sticks to your skin and continuously delivers estrogen and progestin hormones through your skin into the bloodstream. Each patch is worn on the skin for seven days. One patch is worn each week for 3 weeks, then the fourth week is patch-free, allowing a period to occur.
HOW IT WORKS: The patch prevents pregnancy mostly by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg, but it may also thicken the cervical mucus (making it harder for sperm to get into the uterus) and by thinning the uterine lining.
The vaginal ring is a soft, flexible, clear plastic ring that is inserted into the vagina, where it slowly releases estrogen and progestin, for three weeks at a time (the fourth week is when you have your period).
The ring comes in only one size (54mm in diameter), and does not need to be in a particular position in the vagina to be effective. It is held in place by the walls of the vagina. The woman inserts and removes the ring herself and most women find this easy to do. Women usually cannot feel the ring once inserted.
HOW IT WORKS: The ring prevents pregnancy much like the pill, by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg. It may also thicken the cervical mucus (making it harder for sperm to get into the uterus) and by thinning the uterine lining, preventing implantation.