Birth control basics

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're considering using birth control, you have many options — from natural family planning and over-the-counter birth control products to prescription contraceptives or sterilization.

To help determine which birth control method would be best for you, consider your lifestyle, personal preferences and health status. How do you feel about planning for sex? Inserting birth control devices into your body? Taking a pill at the same time every day or tracking your fertile days? Permanently ending the ability to conceive or father a child?

It's also important to make an honest assessment of yourself, your partner and your relationship. You may have different birth control needs if you have sex often or you're not in a monogamous relationship. Ideally, you and your partner will discuss the options and reach a mutually beneficial decision.

Dec. 16, 2014