Family Planning

Ask Sofia: When should I update my birth control method?

Birth control will never be a one-size-fits-all prescription and with the many options available today, you might try various forms of birth control across the years.

There are obvious reasons for making a change—you want to start a family or you feel like your family is complete, for instance—as well as many other valid reasons for switching up your birth control situation.

It might be time to update your birth control method if:

  • The side effects are debilitating. Some side effects are completely normal, especially in the early months, but if you are experiencing regular nausea, emotional swings or heavy periods every month, you might want to try something different.
  • You want something shorter- or longer-term. Considering starting or expanding your family in the near future? You might want to transition from longer-term options like implants and IUDs to the pill or condoms. On the other hand, if you want something that you don’t have to think about for the long term, you might talk with your doctor about the patch or implant.
  • You’re worried about protection. Simply put, some birth control methods are more effective than others. If you are constantly anxious about whether you are truly protected, talk with your doctor about your current method and other options that might bring greater peace of mind.
  • You forget to take the pill. The pill is very effective—when taken consistently. If you find that you are regularly missing a pill (or two), you might want to consider an implant, patch, ring or barrier methods, such as condoms, cervical caps or the diaphragm.

If you do decide to switch methods, it is important to go directly from one birth control to the next to reduce your chances of unplanned pregnancy. In some cases, you may overlap methods. It is normal to have changes in your period and different side effects upon switching, but talk with your doctor if they persist.

“Fortunately, women have a variety of options today when it comes to birth control, and we’d be happy to help you find the best method for you, your lifestyle, and your current and future plans,” said Dr. Erin Stevens.


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