Between 2006 and 2008 in the United States, 99 percent of women who have had sex have used a type of birth control, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Birth control can prevent unwanted pregnancies and some types of birth control, such as barrier methods, can protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
Several types of birth control are available to women, which prevent pregnancies through different mechanisms.
For example, barrier methods such as a condom work by a layer of latex, lambskin or polyurethane keeping the sperm ejaculated from entering the vagina. Some types of birth control contain hormones, which interfere in ovulation, thus preventing pregnancy.
The effectiveness of birth control depends on whether or not the woman always takes it as directed.
For example, Planned Parenthood noted that the effectiveness of the birth control pill is over 99 percent when always taken as directed every day. That effectiveness drops to 91 percent if the woman does not always take it as directed.
For women who have trouble remembering to take their pill or do not want to think about taking a birth control pill every day, there are longer-term hormonal birth control options. One choice is an intrauterine device, or IUD, which is implanted in the woman’s uterus.
On January 9, 2013, the FDA approved a new hormonal IUD called Skyla (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system). Skyla contains 13.5 mg of levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin.
“Skyla will provide top tier pregnancy protection, matched only by the other IUDs, the contraceptive implant and sterilization,” explained Anita L. Nelson, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. “Skyla thickens the woman’s cervical mucus to prevent sperm from ascending into the upper genital tract.”