• Give a Gift
  • Customer Service
  • Promotions
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Win
  • Games

July 21, 2011

Your Best Birth Control

Special Offer

Natural Family Planning
What it is: No hormones, no inserting. Track your monthly fertility cycle and abstain accordingly.
How it works: Chart your hormonal ebbs and flows using a basal body thermometer (more sensitive than the conventional kind), a calendar, and your own finger to test your cervical fluids. Slippery mucus indicates fertile days; the sticky kind probably means you're safe.
Caveats: This method requires obsessive record keeping, and if you can't tell sticky from slippery-or are too squeamish to try-forget it.
Failure rate: Between 2 and 9 percent with perfect use; more like 25 percent with typical use.
Cost: None.
How soon you can get pregnant: Immediately after stopping.

What it is: A sock-shaped dong-sheath that acts as a barrier against STDs and pregnancy. Latex or polyurethane are best-lambskin won't do a thing against HIV.
How it works: Unroll it over his erect penis, leave a little room at the tip, and let the condom catch his swimmers.
Caveats: You've got to get him to use one. Unless you're ready to go crib shopping, use a water-based lube; oil-based products break down latex fast.
Failure rate: 2 percent with perfect use; 15 percent with typical use. The biggest mistake couples make: not putting it on early enough.
Cost: About 50 cents each.
How soon you can get pregnant: Immediately after stopping.

What it is: FDA--approved last July, Implanon is a new, improved version of the old-school Norplant, which was yanked off the market several years ago, mainly because its six rods (yikes) were tough to insert and wear on a daily basis. Implanon consists of a single soft, flexible rod implanted under the skin of the upper arm, where it releases progestin.
How it works: The same way Depo-Provera does-though Implanon delivers a lower dose of progestin and can be left in place for three years. Insertion and removal are performed at a doctor's office under a local anesthetic.
Caveats: About 10 percent of women discontinued the rod because of irregular bleeding (the most common side effect). There's an increased risk of clots for smokers, and, as with the Pill, users might see acne, slight weight gain, and mood swings. If you're in that very small percentage, Implanon is a bit of a pain (literally) to remove. Yet doctors expect it to catch on-especially among those who can't use estrogen.
Failure rate: Reported at less than .1 percent; no long-term data yet available.
Cost: Device costs about $525. What you pay? No national average yet.
How soon you can get pregnant: Immediately after removal.

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
Go to the Beach

Go to the Beach

enter now
You Know You Want More
More From Health News and Fitness Trends
The "Angelina Effect" Doubled the Number of Breast-Cancer Gene Tests

A new study finds her BRCA-1 gene mutation inspired others to get tested.

Primary Protection: The History of the Pill

This little gal has gone through quite the journey.

The Rebel Diet

Born to eat wild? Have an on-again, off-again relationship with healthy eating? You'll love the latest weight-loss news.

post a comment

Special Offer
Link Your Marie Claire Account to Facebook

Marie Claire already has an account with this email address. Link your account to use Facebook to sign in to Marie Claire. To insure we protect your account, please fill in your password below.

Forgot Password?

Thanks for Joining

Your information has been saved and an account has been created for you giving you full access to everything marieclaire.com and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your username and/or password or complete your profile, click here.

Your accounts are now linked

You now have full access to everything Marie Claire and Hearst Digital Media Network have to offer. To change your settings or profile, click here.