The Northwest Women’s Center offers a variety of birth control options to help women select the best option for their needs, their lifestyles, and their preferences. Options include birth control pills, IUDs (intrauterine devices), diaphragms and arm implants (NEXPLANON). During the initial consultation visit, women can learn about all these options so they can feel confident in the method they choose.
IUDs are T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus through the cervix (the opening of the uterus) during a simple in-office procedure that takes just a few minutes. The shorter end of the T acts as an anchor to hold the IUD in place. Rarely, an IUD can fall out. The longer end of the T extends into the vaginal canal, and it’s important to check for this tail before having intercourse to ensure the IUD is still in place. During insertion, a speculum is used to widen the vaginal canal so the cervix can be accessed. There may some mild discomfort or cramping when the IUD is inserted. IUDs use copper to create an environment that’s hostile to sperm. Some IUDs also use hormones. IUDs need to be replaced every few years, and removal can be performed in the office using the same technique.
The arm implant is a long, thin tube-like device that’s implanted beneath the skin on the upper arm. The implant releases a steady supply of hormones to help prevent pregnancy. Once in place, it can’t be seen, but it can be felt if pressure is applied to the skin. The implant can be inserted in the office in a simple procedure using a very tiny puncture in the skin. Arm implants need to be replaced every three years.
No, but it takes a little practice to learn how to insert them. During the fitting appointment, patients will be able to practice inserting the diaphragm so they feel confident using it. Diaphragms should be used with spermicide, special gels or creams designed to kill sperm cells.