Birth Control Counseling in Greenbelt & Germantown
There are a lot of birth control methods to choose from and deciding which is best for yourself can be difficult. To select the one that is best suited to your needs and those of your partner, you should consult with Drs. Yolande Robertson-Hackney & Leslie Simmons. Our providers offer contraception counseling and birth control consultations at our gynecology office in Greenbelt and Germantown. To learn more about your birth control options, please call 301-513-0200 to schedule your consultation today!
What is Contraceptive Counseling?
A birth control counseling appointment is a consultation to help navigate through the various contraceptive options, discuss personal preferences regarding the methods, and ultimately select the most suitable option based on the patient’s current needs. During these visits we help patients get answers to important questions, discuss short-term and long-term goals, and get personalized advice.
We hold all our contraceptive counseling sessions within a private office setting, and any information patients share with us is safeguarded by patient-provider confidentiality.
Hormonal birth control can often help to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and associated symptoms by stabilizing her hormones. While hormonal contraceptives are particularly common, they are not recommended for each and every female. This decision will be based upon the patient’s health and any prior conditions or risk factors she may have.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills are a form of oral contraception that generally contain two hormones, estrogen and progestin, and are taken daily to prevent a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs. They also help to prevent pregnancy by causing the cervical mucus to thicken, which blocks sperm from fertilizing an egg. Birth control pills are safe, effective, and convenient.
Birth Control Implant
The birth control implant, under the names Nexplanon and Implanon, is a device that is implanted under the skin and releases progestin into the bloodstream. This tiny, thin rod is implanted into your arm, and patients are protected from pregnancy for up to 5 years.
Birth Control Patch
Used correctly, the patch is as effective as birth control pills are in preventing pregnancy. The patch is a form of birth control that a patient wears on the skin and looks like a small bandaid. The hormones it contains (estrogen and progestin) are similar to those used in birth control pills but are absorbed through the skin. The patch works by suppressing the pituitary gland which, in turn, prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also thickens cervical mucus making it more difficult for sperm to reach an egg.
Birth Control Shot
The Depo-Provera shot, or Depo shot, is another very effective method of birth control. This shot must be given once every 3 months by a trained medical professional, typically during a quick appointment at our office locations in Greenbelt and Germantown. Women who receive this shot will typically experience lighter periods, or will stop getting their period all together after several months of consecutive shots. This method is especially beneficial to women who are looking for a flexible and low-maintenance form of birth control that is still highly effective with a success rate of over 99%.
Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)
A vaginal ring is a form of contraception that is soft, flexible, and worn in the vagina. The key benefit of the ring is that a patient does not need to take it daily to get complete monthly protection. In a given one month period, the ring must be inserted into the vagina, removed after 3 weeks, and a new ring inserted no more than 7 days later. The hormones it contains (estrogen and progestin) are similar to those used in birth control pills. However, unlike birth control pills, they are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the vaginal wall, delivering a consistent level of medication improving effectiveness and limiting side effects.
Non-Hormonal Forms of Birth Control in Maryland
Some women can experience adverse side effects from adding more hormones to their body via contraceptives. Non-hormonal options are ideal in these situations, and are also commonly recommended for women who wish to breastfeed while remaining on an effective form of birth control.
Condoms are a barrier form of birth control that physically block the sperm from entering the vagina. They are the only form of protection that can help to stop the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), like HIV, and prevent pregnancy. A condom is a latex or polyurethane sheath that is closed at one end and fits over a man’s penis. Condoms are also available for females and have a flexible ring at either end. One end is closed and inserted into the vagina and the other end is open with the ring remaining outside the vagina. To help assure protection, users should read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
A diaphragm is a thin, rubber, dome-shaped device with a springy and flexible rim. Inserted into the vagina by the patient, it fits over the cervix and is held in place by muscles in the vagina. The diaphragm is designed to hold spermicide in place over the cervix to kill sperm. To maximize the effectiveness of the diaphragm it should be left in place for up to 6 to 8 hours. The effectiveness for birth control ranges from between 86-94%. If one chooses to use a diaphragm, it must be fitted in a clinic. Additionally, weight changes, vaginal surgery, and pregnancy can affect the way a diaphragm fits, requiring that a medical provider check it to make sure it fits properly and to determine if a new size is needed.
Permanent Contraception (Tubal Ligation)
Tubal Ligation is a procedure that seals off a woman’s fallopian tubes that carry an egg from the ovaries to the uterus. By blocking these tubes, where fertilization usually occurs, sperm is unable to reach the egg to fertilize it. The procedure seals the fallopian tubes with thread, bands, clips, an electric current, or small implants. Patients should be aware that the procedure provides permanent birth control and is NOT reversible.
Intrauterine Device (IUD) Options
An IUD is a contraceptive device that is implanted in the uterus and can last for up to 12 years (depending on what kind you get). It is a small, T-shaped, plastic device that is both soft and flexible, and is put into place by a gynecologist during a visit to your OBGYN. An IUD works through several different actions that include thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, inhibiting the sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg, and making the lining of the uterus thin. While they are 99% effective with regards to birth control, a gynecologist can remove the device if a patient is looking to become pregnant immediately.
IUDs are available in both hormonal and non-hormonal forms; the five different brands include:
Having a conversation with your doctor about your choice of birth control is crucial, as they can provide guidance on the most suitable method considering your unique needs and lifestyle.
Schedule Your Birth Control Consultation in Maryland
If you are seeking information about birth control methods, contact Metropolitan Women’s Group to discuss your lifestyle and the determine what will work best for you. To schedule your contraception counseling at our gynecology office in Greenbelt and Germantown, please call 301-513-0200 or request an appointment through our secure online form.