Hormonal birth control methods are some of the most commonly used contraceptives. Hormonal contraceptives may be taken orally, injected, administered via skin patch, or implanted. This type of birth control typically functions by preventing (or reducing the frequency of) ovulation; it may also change the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
- The most common hormonal method of contraception is an oral pill. Birth control pills contain a combination of hormones that keeps ovaries from releasing eggs, thus preventing pregnancy. “The Pill” is taken daily, at the same time each day. When properly used, it is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, you may be advised against using a combination pill if you smoke, have a history of certain cancers, have a history of blood clots, or are over the age of 35.
- Other forms of hormone contraception include a patch you wear on your skin. Ortho Evra is a contraceptive patch you may be familiar with. The patch sticks to the skin (usually placed on the arm) and prevents pregnancy for three weeks.
- Some women prefer to visit their provider once every three months and receive an injection (Depo-Provera). This method is convenient and doesn’t require you to take a daily pill or remember to put on a patch.
- The NuvaRing is a small vaginal ring that is inserted into the vagina. Like the patch, it is kept in place for three weeks, and then taken out for the last week of the month. The vaginal ring steadily releases hormones into the cervix to prevent eggs from leaving the ovaries.