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

July 15, 2010

Which Birth Control Is Right for You?

Quit playing reproductive roulette and own your sex life with MC's very own guide to birth control. To compare a list of pills and their effects, check out our Contraceptive Cheat Sheet.


Photo Credit: Liz Von Hoene

Special Offer

As if outsmarting biology weren't tricky enough, the recession is the latest force of nature to hamper our reproductive health. In one survey released last fall, almost a quarter of women polled said paying for contraception was a struggle since the economy imploded. Scarier still, a full 18 percent copped to skimping on the Pill — skipping days, putting off prescriptions, or even going cold turkey — all to save a little cash.

Luckily, there's good news. President Obama has pledged $648 million to a global family-planning campaign, plus another $114 million to fight teen pregnancy in the U.S. The FDA recently approved a new single-dose version of Plan B, the morning-after pill, out this month (no prescription required for women 17 or older). And the number of women buying condoms is inching up, showing we're ready for action — but on our terms.

On the flip side, what if you are ready for baby-making but freaked by the thought of infertility? We got the scoop on the newest reproductive technologies out there from the doctor who performed the first-ever successful ovary transplant. So whether or not you've got babies on the brain, we've got your back.

So, which birth control is right for you?


TRIED AND TRUE: Condom. The female condom never quite found its, um, niche in the U.S. But condom companies now target women with everything from vibrating rings to increasingly lubed-up (male) rubbers. Trojan, whose latest "Ecstasy" line targets women with commercials featuring shag-happy gals, says women now buy 38 percent of condoms, up from 30 percent in 2001. Best of all, they're cheap — about $1 each, and cost less when bought in bulk.

RUNNERS-UP: Diaphragm, sponge, spermicide. Less than 0.2 percent of women use a diaphragm, and the sponge and spermicide are unpopular, too, according to the CDC. Another downer: Some guys report "bumping" into a diaphragm during sex.


TRIED AND TRUE: The Pill. Birth control pills are the most popular contraceptive among American women. And aside from being convenient, the new breed of pills, when prescribed off-label, helps with everything from acne to PMS. The vaginal ring, a newer hormonal contraceptive, works like the Pill and also has off-label benefits.

RUNNERS-UP: Shot, patch, IUD. Just 3.3 percent of women use Depo-Provera, a four-times-a-year shot that stops ovulation. A January 2010 study links the shot to bone loss, and smokers are at elevated risk, so ask your doctor about this option before getting it. While only 1.3 percent of women use IUDs, Mirena, an IUD from Bayer, was recently approved by the FDA to combat heavy menstrual bleeding. (A nonhormonal IUD, made of copper, also exists.)

Connect with Marie Claire:
daily giveaway
One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

One winner will receive a year’s supply of makeup products from Lancôme ($389) and a year’s supply of hair products from Garnier Fructis ($90), as selected by the Sponsors.

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.