birth control

Topic: A guide to your first birth control appointment and questions to ask your doctor

Before deciding on a birth control method, it’s crucial to have all the information you need to know so you can make the best decision for yourself.

Therefore, you should consider scheduling an appointment with a medical professional to discuss various birth control options and help you narrow down which one meets your needs.

“Patients deserve to have the information they need and the partnership with their clinician to really make these important health decisions,” says Nancy Stanwood, MD, FACOG, FSFP, MPH, section chief of family planning at Yale School of Medicine.

“If, in the end, you feel like the person you were talking to isn’t hearing your concerns, then you should see if you can find another clinician to talk to,” Stanwood says.

Here’s how to get birth control, what to expect at a birth control appointment, the questions you can ask, and the different types of birth control available to you.

What should you research before your appointment?

When choosing birth control, consider the ease of use, availability, side effects, and potential risks.

Hormonal contraceptives, which contain estrogen and progestin hormones to thicken the cervical mucus and prevent ovulation, affect the menstrual cycle and cause varied side effects, so some people prefer non-hormonal contraceptives instead.

It’s necessary to assess and compare the different types of birth control available, such as:

“Some of the options may result in irregular bleeding or no menses. If the person does not expect this, there is a higher risk of them wanting to change their birth control or not be compliant,” says Shefali Pathy, MD, MPH, site director of Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, Women’s Health.

Some people also tend to switch methods due to concerns about contraceptive effectiveness and potential health risks.

“Birth control is not a one-size-fits-all and sometimes people will start a method and feel like it just doesn’t fit … for whatever reason,” says Stanwood. “There are always more options. I wouldn’t want patients to feel like they need to give up.”

Topic Discussed: A guide to your first birth control appointment and questions to ask your doctor

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