There are plenty of birth control options available to suit a wide variety of needs and preferences. The most effective birth control plan includes planning ahead and understanding exactly how your birth control of choice works. This is especially true for birth control options like condoms or birth control pills, which require the patient to manage their care day-to-day. To be most successful with these options, here are nine tips for using birth control.
1. Be prepared.
Your birth control needs to be easy for you to use. Before you start using a new form of birth control, make sure you completely understand how and when to use it and that you are prepared with the prescriptions or supplies that you need.
2. Check expiration dates.
Don’t forget that most types of birth control expire, meaning after that date they are less effective or not effective at all. Latex and plastic forms of birth control (including condoms) break down over time, increasing the likelihood that they might fail. Pills can also be less effective if they are past their expiration dates. Before using any type of birth control, check to make sure that it isn’t past its expiration date.
3. Store birth control correctly.
Light and heat are two of the most important considerations for storing birth control, as they can each damage condoms and other forms of birth control. Never use a condom that’s been in a car’s glove compartment for a while or crammed in a wallet.
4. Follow directions.
In the heat of the moment, you’re not going to stop to read the instructions in the box. Instead, plan ahead and read the directions in advance.
5. Be careful when opening condom wrappers.
Don’t open condoms with scissors or your teeth, as this can cause them to rip or tear. Condom wrappers should be easy to open just by gently pulling.
6. Use the right size.
A condom that’s too small or big may not work. Don’t forget to check the size before you purchase condoms.
7. Put condoms on correctly.
When using condoms, it’s important that they are put on correctly in order to be most effective. Make sure you unroll it in the right direction. As you put it on, hold the tip to prevent an air bubble from forming. Air can make a break more likely.
8. Use lubrication.
Lubrication is important because it lowers the risk of condom tears. Only use water-based lubricants. Don’t use any that are oil-based, like baby oil or petroleum jelly, as these can break down the condom. For better protection, use a lubricant that includes spermicide.
9. Have emergency contraception on hand.
Even if you’re careful, things happen. If a condom breaks, you may want to use emergency birth control just in case. You can plan ahead and save time and a trip to the pharmacy by having emergency contraception on hand in case you need it.
Schedule an Appointment
To discuss your birth control options and learn more about what will work best for you, schedule an appointment with a qualified OB/GYN at Carnegie Women’s Health in New York City. Call our office at (315) 628-7063 or request your appointment online.