Roe v. Wade and birth control: what you need to know about access and options

Women’s health experts consider intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to be one of the most effective forms of birth control, in part because people who use them don’t have to remember to take them or apply them, like a pill or a patch. A doctor inserts one of the T-shaped devices into the uterus, a procedure that usually takes five minutes. Depending on the type, the IUD can remain effective for three to 12 years. .

There are currently two types of IUDs:

Hormonal, which secretes a progestogen. “Very little” of the hormone is absorbed into the bloodstream, compared to oral contraceptive pills, Dr. Rosen said, so patients tend to experience fewer mood-related side effects. People who receive hormonal IUDs may experience abnormal bleeding or spotting in the first three to six months after insertion. Afterwards, the bleeding usually becomes lighter and more regular, or disappears completely.

Copper, which does not contain hormones. However, people with heavy or painful periods may want to avoid copper IUDs, Dr. Rosen said, because they can cause longer periods and heavier flow for some.

Nexplanon is a type of implant that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm and lasts about three years. It also has the lowest failure rate of any birth control method, according to Dr. Nippita.

A doctor or nurse inserts the small rod, which is about the length of a match, and the process only takes a few minutes. No pelvic exam is required.

Side effects can vary from person to person. About a third of patients will experience “daily, abnormal and bothersome spotting”, Dr. Rosen said; another third will not bleed at all; and the other third will simply have lighter, infrequent spots. Some people with the implant also report mood swings, headaches, weight gain, and acne.

Depo-Provera is an injection that contains progestin and protects against pregnancy for three months. A healthcare provider usually administers it, into an arm or the buttocks, every 12 to 14 weeks.

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