More than two

At a group I recently facilitated, the agenda I planned focused on methods of birth control. Before delving into an enthusiastic educational talk about the different options available, I did a quick assessment of my group participants:

“How many birth control methods do you think are out there?” I posed.

“Two” replied one girl. “A pill and condoms” she added.

I scanned the faces of the other participants and observed subtle nodding around the table suggesting reserved agreement.

And we were off to the races. A vibrant discussion ensued as I launched into an interactive talk about the various contraceptive methods that exist and explained the difference between barrier and hormonal methods, varied levels of effectiveness when used correctly, and whether they offer disease protection. We talked about abstinence. We talked about which methods require a medical provider to prescribe, fit, inject, insert, remove.  We talked about reversibility, ease of use, and access.  We ran out of time!

With more than 15 contraceptive methods available today, there was a lot of information to share in a two-hour group meeting and I can say with confidence that I barely scratched the surface.  A single discussion does not allow for a comprehensive lesson of the various birth control options available and the need for this information is obviously great. What a WONDERFUL first step this was in raising awareness about an important, complicated topic. But so much is yet to be addressed; I merely offered the introduction to birth control.  Contraception 101: An Overview.

Now, I urge all readers to explore this further for your own education and for the benefit of others with whom you can share such information.  More contraceptive options exist now than ever before and many that have been around awhile have been modified and improved. Below are a couple of links to get you started. Please read. Please share.

Office on Women’s Health/USHHS/birth control methods

FDA Birth Control Guide