You’ve had a baby (or two or three) and don’t want more kids right away, but you’re not ready to have an irreversible procedure, such as a vasectomy or tubal litigation. So, what are your contraception options?

Dr. Ray Kamali, an OB/GYN at Scripps Chula Vista Medical Center, suggests discussing contraception options with your doctor or midwife at your first postpartum appointment. “It’s important for patients to choose the birth control option that best suits their lifestyle. It also depends on how quickly they want to have their next child, as well as their medical history,” says Kamali.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, here are the most effective temporary contraception options used by families today.

Birth Control Implant

A thin, flexible plastic implant about the size of a cardboard matchstick is inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm. It keeps eggs from leaving the ovaries and increases thickness of cervical mucus, preventing sperm from reaching the eggs.

• 99% effective
• Protection: Up to 3 years

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

A small, “T-shaped” device is inserted by a health care provider into the woman’s uterus. It impacts the way sperm move so they can’t join with the egg. Hormonal IUDs may also prevent eggs from leaving the ovaries.

• 99% effective
• Protection: Up to 12 years


A hormonal injection in the arm that releases progestin into the body. This hormone keeps eggs from leaving the ovaries and increases cervical mucus to prevent sperm from getting to the eggs.

• 94% effective
• Protection: 3 months

Birth Control Pills

Oral medication taken daily by women. Birth control pills contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, or just progestin. These hormones keep eggs from leaving the ovaries and increase cervical mucus to prevent sperm from getting to the eggs.

• 91% effective
• Protection: Monthly, if used correctly


The patch is a thin, beige piece of plastic that sticks to the skin, like a Band-Aid. A new patch is placed on the skin once a week for three weeks, followed by a patch-free week. The ring is a flexible, rubber band-like device a woman inserts into her vagina once a month. It is left in place for three weeks and taken out for the remaining week each month. Similar to the pill, the hormones in the patch and ring contain estrogen and progestin. These hormones prevent eggs from leaving the ovaries and increase cervical mucus to prevent sperm from getting to the eggs.

• 91% effective
• Protection: Monthly, if used correctly


Condoms are made of thin latex or plastic and are worn on the penis during intercourse. They collect sperm and prevent it from entering the vagina. Condoms also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

• 82% effective
• Protection: Applied prior to intercourse, thrown away afterward

For more information, please listen to the New Mommy Media podcast episode, where Dr. Kamali explores the most popular types of temporary and permanent birth control options in San Diego.

Did you know? According to a report from Planned Parenthood, contraceptives have been used in one form or another for thousands of years. Centuries ago, Chinese women drank lead and mercury in an attempt to control their fertility. Egyptians placed rocks and stones inside a woman’s uterus as a barrier method. They also made their own spermicide out of acacia and dates ground with honey.

Sunny Gault is a San Diego mom of four and founder of The New Mommy Media Network, where you’ll find free podcasts for new and expecting parents.

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