According to experts, finding the right form of birth control has become an important area of concern for many college students.
The birth control pill is the most popular contraception among college women because it is easy to start and stop, said Sherry Tobia of Planned Parenthood in Lilburn, Ga.
Monique Potter, a health educator with Student Health Services, offers suggestions for the several methods of contraception available today. These include the barrier methods, hormonal methods and intrauterine devices (IUDs).
Barrier methods include condoms, the diaphragm, the cervical cap and the sponge, according to the definition on www.planababy.com.
“One downside of the barrier method is that it can interfere with the spontaneity of lovemaking,” Potter said.
“However, on the positive side, the condom is most effective against STDs and pregnancy and is relatively inexpensive,” she said.
If the barrier method is not optimal, a woman can choose from an array of hormonal methods that include Depo-Provera, birth control pills and the patch. Tobia said these methods are 99 percent effective.
“In the FAMU clinic Depo-Provera is recommended,” said Potter. She said that is because a Depo-Provera injection is effective for three months, as opposed to the pills, which must be taken daily.
Pills may not be good for those who do not remember things well or are very busy, Tobia said.
“I think it is important to use birth control if you are sexually active,” said Patricka Hogue, 21, a senior business administration student from New Orleans.
“A lot of women complain about the possibility of weight gain while using these contraceptives, but think of all the weight you will gain if you get pregnant,” she said.
An IUD is a device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus, according to planababy.com. “It is a very effective, excellent option for those who do not want to have kids,” says Tobia.
However, she said, an IUD is not good for a woman with multiple partners because it provides an avenue for increased risk of STDs.
Birth control pills are the least expensive hormonal method, costing about $16 for a month’s pack. A month’s worth of patches costs about $30.Depo-Provera costs nearly $60 and IUDs cost $500. Protection lasts for five years.
A variety of methods are available. When choosing a contraceptive method, Potter advises female students to examine their value system, obtain education on different methods and look at their family history before choosing a form of contraception.
“The best way is not to have intercourse,” Tobia said. “Nothing other than abstinence is 100 percent.”