Your Birth Control Options:

Birth Control Methods

Perhaps the most common life circumstance that brings a woman to seek an abortion is one in which she has taken what she thought was reasonable measures to avoid pregnancy only to find that method has failed. The sad truth is, every method of birth control is fallible. Even absolute abstinence does not provide one hundred percent safety from unwanted pregnancy because non-consensual sex is all too common.

Whether you are currently seeking an abortion, trying to reach a decision or just looking for information, now is a good time to discuss birth control options with our staff. To help you find what is right for you, we have provided some information on several options. We are not providing all the information on every type of birth control. We simply want to help you decide what will work for you and encourage you to consider the right option.  Click on the method for more information.  Use the Available? column to determine if the method is available in our office.

Many of the birth control options discussed below DO NOT provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).  Our staff are prepared to discuss this issue with you in our office.

 Method

 USE

 Available?

 Birth Control Pills  30+%  YES
 Tubal Sterilization  28%  REF
 Condom (male)  18%  OTC
 Vasectomy  10%  REF
 Injections  5%  YES
 Withdrawal  4-5%  NO
 IUD  2%  YES
 Abstinence  2%  NO
 All Others    NO

* YES = in or office   OTC = over the counter   REF = by referral

The abortion procedure used at West End Women's Medical Group is the simplest and most modern method of pregnancy termination.

Birth Control Pills

“The Pill” in its various forms, falls into the category of hormonal contraceptives. It has been a popular method of birth control since the 1960s and it offers a highly effective, yet temporary pregnancy prevention alternative. Hormonal methods of birth control prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, by altering cervical mucus, which decreases sperm mobility, and by impairing embryo implantation in the uterus. Besides preventing pregnancy, hormonal contraceptives may have beneficial effects, including a lower incidence of some cancers and regular, shorter and less painful menstrual periods.
If you follow the directions carefully and never miss any pill days, the effectiveness rate of the pill should be 99 percent. However, overall statistics show that the effectiveness rate is 92 percent, meaning that eight out of 100 women taking it for one year will become pregnant.

Side effects may include headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, vomiting, bloating, decreased sex drive (libido) and depression. The most serious potential complication is a slightly increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and blood clots.
There are women who should not take the combination estrogen and progestin pills if they meet the following:
 Age 35 or older and currently smoke
 A history of cardiovascular disease
 A history of breast, uterine or liver cancer
 A history of blood clots in the legs or lungs Back

Tubal Sterilization

Tubal sterilization in women is accomplished through a surgical procedure known as Tubal Ligation. It is commonly referred to as, “getting you tubes tied.” It is generally permanent, although it can be reversed with varying reliability. Tubal Ligation prevents pregnancy by preventing the egg from entering the uterus and by blocking the passage of sperm up the fallopian tube to the egg.
Tubal Ligation is highly effective with success rates ranging from greater than 99 percent in the first year to 98 percent over time. This means that less than one woman out of 100 is likely to become pregnant in the first year after the procedure
Most of the side effects of Tubal Ligation surgery are those typical to any surgery with a few unique to the specific procedure. Among the possible side effects are short term fatigue, abdominal pain, dizziness, nausea, gassiness and shoulder pain. Rare complications from the surgery include a reaction to the drugs that cause anesthesia, pelvic infection, bowel or bladder injury, and injury to blood vessels in the abdomen. Back

Male Condoms

Condoms, commonly called rubbers, are worn by men and designed to provide protection from both pregnancy and disease. The condom is a thin covering made of latex, plastic (polyurethane) or animal membrane that is unrolled over an erect penis before sex. The covering prevents semen from entering a woman's vagina.
The effectiveness of condoms when used alone is around 85 percent. This means if 100 couples use condoms for one year, 15 of the women will become pregnant. When used in combination with a vaginal spermicide, the effectiveness rate rises to 95 percent, meaning 5 of the women per 100 couples would become pregnant. Male condoms can fail due to improper use, nonuse, breakage or slippage. Using the condom with vaginal spermicide is considerably more effective.
There are few side effects due to condom use, but some people do experience a reaction to latex condoms. Back

Vasectomy

A vasectomy in men avoids pregnancy by preventing the transport of sperm out of the testes. It is a generally permanent procedure that can be reversed with varying reliability. Vasectomy is effective approximately 99 percent of the time. Some data indicate that as few as two men out of 1,000 who have had vasectomy will father a child. Following the procedure, a man will remain fertile (have a sperm count) for up to three months. A semen specimen should be observed to determine that the man is completely free of sperm before you can rely on a vasectomy for birth control. Serious side effects with a vasectomy are extremely rare, although swelling and bruising of the scrotum occasionally occur. One rare complication is an infection, which is characterized by a fever, blood or pus oozing from the incision site, and excessive pain, swelling or both. An infection is treatable with antibiotics. The surgery doesn't affect a man's ability to achieve an erection, to have an orgasm or otherwise participate in the sexual experience. There both traditional surgical and newer techniques for accomplishing vasectomy that should be discussed with your doctor. Back

Injections (Depo-Provera™)

Depo-Provera™™ is the only injectable contraceptive available in the United States. It contains the hormone progesterone, which prevents pregnancy for up to three months after a single injection.
Depo-Provera™ is highly effective. It works to prevent pregnancy even when injected a few days late in the regimen. It eliminates the need to take a daily pill and the typical effectiveness rate throughout the U.S. is 97 percent, meaning that three out of 100 women using the injection for one year will become pregnant.  Our experience with Depo Provera™, when injections begin at the time of an abortion, indicate an effectiveness rate of 99.9%.  Most women who continue Depo Provera™ stop having menstrual periods.

If you receive injections of Depo Provera™ at the West End Women's Medical Group and subsequently (during the effective period following the injection) have an unwanted pregnancy, it is our practice to offer an early (less than 12 weeks) pregnancy termination at no charge.  No charge means we typically pay for all the the costs you would normally incur in our office.

Depo-Provera™ has potential side effects for some women that should be discussed with your physician.  We would be happy to discuss all of the benefits and risks of Depo-Provera™ with you during an appointment.
Back

Withdrawal

Withdrawal is not actually a contraceptive method. It describes the process of the man removing his penis from a woman's vagina and away from her external genitalia before ejaculating. This method theoretically prevents sperm from entering a woman's vagina and avoids pregnancy. Withdrawal, however, has only slightly better than a 70 percent effectiveness rate, meaning that about 25 percent of the women relying on this method will become pregnant.
A big part of the problem with this method is that sperm is often released before ejaculation. It can also be emotionally difficult to practice over a long period of time. Withdrawal cannot reasonably be considered a reliable means of birth control. Back

IUDs

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are commonly used and very safe contraceptive devices. They lost popularity in the United States in the 1980s, when pelvic infections were observed in women using an IUD called the Dalkon Shield™.
While there were identified problems with the Dalkon Shield™, other IUDs remain safe to use and are effective. There have been many years of successful use and extensive research has proven them safe.
Two IUDs are available in the United States:
 Copper (ParaGard™)
 Hormonal (Mirena™) Back

Abstinence

Abstinence is, by definition, the most effective birth control option. If sperm is not introduced to a fertile egg, pregnancy will not occur. Birth control failures attributed to sexual abstinence are not failures of the process. Such failures are human failures, often resulting from good intentions (to practice abstinence) having gone wrong. If you are not currently sexually active, but you have any doubts about becoming sexually active, you should consider finding out what birth control option is right for you.
A special caution: Sexual abstinence and alcohol don't mix! Back

All Others

There are many other methods of birth control including spermicides, sponges, patches, vaginal rings, cervical caps, diaphragms and family planning methods such as, monitoring body temperature, calendar days and other methods. There are proponents of each of these methods and they provide varying degrees of effectiveness. Most are not adequately effective to be considered by us a reliable method of birth control. Back

We are proud to say that the West End Women's Medical Group is the ONLY Medical Office in Reno Certified by the National Abortion Federation.

How to find us:

Map:

pic You'll find our office is out of the way, yet easy to find.  If you are coming to our office for a medical appointment, you may enter through the gate in front and drive to the main entrance which is not visible from the street.  Entry is not allowed for any other reason than a legitimate medical appointment.  Our patients' privacy and security is too important to us to allow any exceptions.

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