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Birth Control ORANGE COUNTY, CA -
methods and options

An unintended pregnancy can happen any time you have unprotected sex. Birth control works to prevent pregnancy in different ways, depending upon the type of birth control you choose. Some methods of birth control may offer some protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), while most methods do not. Long-acting reversible contraceptives prevent ovaries from releasing eggs and sperm from reaching the egg. Short-acting hormonal methods such as the pill are safe for most women.

What is birth control?

Birth control is a way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control. By learning more about the options, you can decide which method is right for you and your partner. If you are sexually active and don’t want a baby, don’t wait to use birth control. 

An unintended pregnancy can happen any time you have unprotected sex. Birth control methods can be broadly classified into barrier methods (that prevent sperm cells from reaching the egg), methods that prevent ovulation such as the birth control pill, and methods that allow fertilization of the egg but prevent implantation of the fertilized egg inside the uterus (womb) such as the IUD (intrauterine device). 

The decision about what kind of birth control option to use is extremely personal, and there is no single choice that is safest or best for all women or couples. A woman should carefully weigh the risks and benefits, along with the effectiveness of each method before choosing a birth control method. A thorough and open discussion with a health care professional can help in this decision process.

The choice of the birth control method depends on many factors, such as the desire for reversible birth control (preserving future fertility) or permanent birth control methods (surgical sterilization). Some birth control methods, such as barrier methods, may offer some protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), while most methods do not.

Which types of birth control help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

Only two types can protect you from STIs, including HIV: abstinence & condoms.


While condoms are the best way to prevent STIs if you have sex, they are not the most effective type of birth control. If you have sex, the best way to prevent both STIs and pregnancy is to use what is called “dual protection.” Dual protection means you use a condom to prevent STIs each time you have sex, and at the same time, you use a more effective form of birth control, such as an IUD, implant, or shot.

How do birth control methods prevent pregnancy?

Birth control works to prevent pregnancy in different ways, depending upon the type of birth control you choose:

Female or male sterilization surgery prevents the sperm from reaching the egg by cutting or damaging the tubes that carry sperm (in men) or eggs (in women).

Long-acting reversible contraceptives or “LARC” methods (intrauterine devices, hormonal implants) prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs, prevent sperm from getting to the egg, or make implantation of the egg in the uterus (womb) unlikely.

Short-acting hormonal methods, such as the pill, mini-pill, patch, shot, and vaginal ring, prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs or prevent sperm from getting to the egg and thus prevent pregnancy.

Barrier methods, such as condoms, diaphragms, sponge, cervical cap, prevent sperm from getting to the egg.

Natural rhythm methods involve avoiding sex or using other forms of birth control on the days when you are most fertile (most likely to get pregnant).

Are contraceptive pills safe?

Yes, hormonal birth control methods, such as the pill, are safe for most women. Today’s birth control pills have lower doses of hormones than in the past. This has lowered the risk of side effects and serious health problems.

Today’s birth control pills can have health benefits for some women, such as a lower risk of some kinds of cancer.5 Also, different brands and types of birth control pills (and other forms of hormonal birth control) can increase your risk for some health problems and negative effects. Side effects can include weight gain, headaches, irregular bleeding, breast tenderness, and mood changes.

Talk to your doctor about whether hormonal birth control is right for you.

young woman holding pregnancy test

How can I get free or low-cost birth control?

Under the Affordable Care Act (the health care law), most insurance plans cover FDA-approved prescription birth control for women, such as the pill, IUDs, and female sterilization, at no additional cost to you. This also includes birth control counseling.

Health Insurance

If you have insurance, check with your insurance provider to find out what is included in your plan.

If you have Medicaid, your insurance covers birth control. This includes birth control prescriptions and visits to your doctor related to birth control. Programs vary between states, so check with your state’s Medicaid program to learn what your benefits are.

If you don’t have insurance, don’t panic. Family planning (reproductive health) clinics may provide some birth control methods for free or at low cost. Call your local clinic or enter your ZIP code in this clinic finder tool to learn more.

For information about other services covered by the Affordable Care Act, visit

Birth Control | Orange County

Family planning clinic orange county | Family planning services | Birth control methods | Health services | Reproductive health | Health care | Emergency contraception

What is the best form of contraception?

The kinds of birth control that work the best to prevent pregnancy are the implant and IUDs — they’re also the most convenient to use, and the most foolproof. Other methods, like the pill, ring, patch, and shot, are also really good at preventing pregnancy if you use them perfectly.

You can start by finding out about the methods of contraception you can choose from, including how they work, who can use them and possible side effects.

birth control pill

Which options of birth control are available to me?

If you’re thinking about using birth control (contraception), you have a number of options to choose from. These methods are:




  • caps or diaphragms
  • combined pill
  • condoms
  • contraceptive implant
  • contraceptive injection
  • contraceptive patch
  • female condoms
  • IUD (intrauterine device)
  • IUS (intrauterine system or hormonal coil)
  • natural family planning (fertility awareness)
  • progestogen-only pill
  • vaginal ring

Comparing contraceptions & methods

Birth control implant

Birth control pill

Birth Control Shot

Birth control sponge

Birth control patch

Breastfeeding as Birth Control


Cervical cap


Fertility awareness (FAMs)

Internal condom


Outercourse & abstinence

Spermicide & Gel

Sterilization ( Tubal Ligation )

Vaginal ring


Withdrawal ( Pull-Out-Method)

How to Figure Out Which Birth Control Method Is Right for You

Which birth control option is right for you? Where do we start?

Turn on your noodle and grab your journals. It’s time for a little self-reflection. Take some time to think through your answers to the following questions:

  • What failure rate are you willing to accept?
  • Do you want your birth control to reduce STI transmission risk, too?
  • What budget are you working within?
  • Do you want children in the future? How about the near future?
  • Are you trying to solve for other symptoms?
  • Can you realistically use something on a schedule?
  • How do you feel about receiving a pelvic exam?
  • Don’t worry, you don’t have to answer these all by your lonesome! A healthcare provider can help.
  • If you don’t have insurance or are underinsured
  • First, breathe! You do have options.

Many family planning clinics and health centers have programs that can help you subsidize the options, including: community health centers, like your local health department. There are ways to avoid getting pregnant that don’t involve taking, wearing, implanting, sticking, or blocking anything!


The birds and the bees 101 says for pregnancy to take place, a sperm has to meet an egg. But that can’t happen if the sex acts that allow that to happen, don’t happen.


Abstinence means abstaining from sexual intercourse, specifically avoiding vaginal sexual intercourse.


“Outercourse” is definition-wiggly. For some, outercourse means no penetration of any kind, including fingers, sex toys, and anal sex.


But to avoid pregnancy, that means at least no P-in-V penetration. However, pregnancy can happen whenever sperm gets near the vaginal canal, be it oral or digital.

Prevent pregancy

Fertility awareness method

Also known as the rhythm method, fertility awareness involves tracking your menstrual cycle and symptoms in an attempt to avoid intercourse on your most fertile days.


Tracking can be done via:


  • calendar method
  • temperature method
  • cervical mucus method


While cost-free, low-risk, and a great way to learn more about your body, fertility awareness methods (FAM) have a high failure rate.

“Usually, fertility awareness methodsare a far better route if you are actively trying to become pregnant".

Dr. Broad, OB-GYN in Newport Beach, California

Fertility awareness methods are up to 76 to 88 percent effective. This means that about 24 out of every 100 people using FAM methods become pregnant.

Does birth prevention raise my risk for health problems?

It can, depending on your health and the type of birth control you use. Talk to your doctor to find the birth control method that is right for you. Different forms of birth control have different health risks and negative effects. Some birth control methods that increase your risk for health problems include:

  • Hormonal birth control. Combination birth control pills (birth control with both estrogen and progesterone) and some other forms of hormonal birth control, such as the vaginal ring or skin patch, may raise your risk for blood clots and high blood pressure. Blood clots and high blood pressure can cause a heart attack or stroke. A blood clot in the legs can also go to your lungs, causing serious damage or even death. Also, if you have a hormonally sensitive cancer. Birth control can accelerate this health condition. These are serious side effects of hormonal birth control, but they are rare.
  • Spermicides (used alone or with the cervical cap, diaphragm or sponge). Spermicides that have nonoxynol-9 can irritate the vagina. This can raise your risk for getting HIV. Use spermicides with nonoxynol-9 only if you are in a monogamous relationship (you have sex only with each other) with a man you know is HIV-negative. Also, medicines for vaginal yeast infections may make spermicides less effective.
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs). IUDs can slightly raise your risk of an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies happen when a fertilized egg implants somewhere outside of the uterus (womb), usually in one of the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is a serious medical problem that should be treated as soon as possible. IUDs also have a very rare but serious risk of infection or puncture of the uterus.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). U.S. Selected Practice Recommendations for Contraceptive Use, 2016. Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report; 65(RR-4): 1–66.
Curtis, K.M., Tepper, N.K., Jatlaoui, T.C., et al. (2016). U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2016. MMWR Recomm Rep; 65(RR-3):1–104.
Food and Drug Administration. (2016). Birth Control: Medicines to Help You.
Food and Drug Administration. (2013). FC2 Female condom.
National Cancer Institute. (2012). Oral Contraceptives and Cancer Risk.
Wright, K.P., Johnson, J.V. (2008). Evaluation of extended and continuous use oral contraceptives. Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management; 4(5): 905-911.
Fraser, I.S. (2012). Added health benefits of the levonorgestrel contraceptive intrauterine system and other hormonal contraceptive delivery systems.(link is external) Contraception; 87(3): 273-279.

Birth Control Orange County – serving the areas Newport Beach, Irvine, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Long Beach, Laguna Hills