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How a Woman Becomes Pregnant

Each month during ovulation, one of the ovaries releases an egg into the fallopian tube. This typically occurs 12-14 days before the onset of a menstrual period. If the woman engages in sexual intercourse during ovulation, sperm may meet an egg in the fallopian tube and fertilization may occur. A fertilized egg will move down the fallopian tube into the uterus and grow.

 

Various Ways to Prevent Pregnancy

Not all contraceptive methods prevent pregnancy the same way. In order for a contraceptive to be effective, it must do at least one of the following;

  • Block the sperm from reaching the egg;
  • Prevent eggs from being released each month;
  • Kill sperm before it can reach the egg;
  • Change the lining of the uterus so the egg cannot attach to the uterus;
  • Thicken the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from passing through.

One of the most popular methods of birth control, it works by preventing ovulation as well as changing the cervical mucus. The pills contain hormones very similar to those a woman’s body produces naturally.

Birth control pills help protect against certain types of cancer, such as ovarian and endometrial cancers. Experts agree that women with no other risk factors do NOT have an increased risk of developing breast cancer from taking these pills.

Birth control pills also reduce menstrual cramps, menstrual flow and the length of your period, as well as helping to keep your menstrual cycle regular.

  • How Do I Take the Pill? – The birth control pill is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken correctly.
    • Begin taking the first pill in your pill pack on the first day of your menstrual cycle, even if it is not a heavy flow. Occasionally, your provider will instruct you to begin your pill pack on a specific day of the week. If this is the case, follow those directions.
    • When starting the pill for the first time (you did NOT take the pill the previous month),use a back-up method (condoms) or abstain from intercourse for the first 7 days of the pill pack.
    • It is very important to take your pill at the same time every day. Many women set analarm on their cell phone as a reminder. You may choose a time in the morning, or evening. Just be sure to choose a time that will be convenient on a daily basis.
    • If you forget to take your pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, take two pills (the one you forgot, and the one for today). If you miss more than one pill, abstain from intercourse or use a back-up method for the remainder of that pill pack.
  • What Might I Experience While Taking the Pill?
    • Your period should be lighter, shorter, and less painful. If you skip a period completely, please call our office.
    • You may experience mild breast tenderness and mild nausea while taking the pill, especially in the first three months. If these symptoms persist, or become severe, please call our office.
    • It is common to experience “break through bleeding” while taking the pill. If you begin bleeding or spotting between periods, continue to take your pills at your scheduled time. Break through bleeding typically occurs when the pill is not taken at the same time every day. If this continues for more than three cycles, please contact our office.
    • Serious Side Effects- Although the pill is considered very safe, there are certain life threatening side-effects to be aware of. Please contact our office, or go to the nearest emergency room if it is after office hours, if you experience ANY of the following;
      • Pain and/or swelling in the leg;
      • Chest pain;
      • Shortness of breath;
      • Blurry or double vision;
      • New onset of severe headaches;
      • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs;
      • Severe abdominal pain;
      • Heavy vaginal bleeding(soaking more than 1 pad/tampon every hour)

IUD’s are becoming a very popular choice for contraception among women. The IUD is a small, plastic device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The device must be placed by your women’s healthcare provider. Depending on the type of device used, it can be left in place from three to ten years at a time. Women enjoy the freedom of not having to remember to take a daily pill and are comfortable knowing that the IUD is not a form of permanent sterilization. Many women become pregnant within 1-2 months, if desired, following the removal of the IUD.

Following is a description of the types of IUD’s available.

  • Mirena™IUD- The Mirena™ IUD is a hormonal device which releases a small amount of progestin into the uterus. Progestin thickens the cervical mucus, preventing sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes, and also thins the lining of the uterus, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. Most women experience a dramatic decrease in menstrual flow and cramping. Some women do not have a menstrual period at all following an IUD insertion. The Mirena™ IUD can remain in place for up to 5 years.
  • Skyla™ IUD- The Skyla™ IUD is also a hormonal device which releases a small amount of progestin into the uterus. Progestin thickens the cervical mucus, preventing sperm from reaching the fallopian tubes, and also thins the lining of the uterus, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. Most women experience a dramatic decrease in menstrual flow and cramping. Some women do not have a menstrual period at all following an IUD insertion. The Skyla™ IUD can remain in place for up to 3 years.
  • Paragard™ IUD- The Paragrad™ IUD is a copper device that releases small amounts of copper into the uterus. Unlike hormonal devices, this IUD does not affect ovulation or the menstrual cycle. Instead, it causes a reaction inside the uterus and fallopian tubes that prevents the egg from being fertilized or implanting to the wall of the uterus. It also reduces the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. This IUD is typically an option for women who have been advised to avoid hormone therapies due to an underlying medical condition. This IUD can remain in place for up to 10 years.

Another form of hormonal birth control, Depo Provera™, is injected into the upper arm or buttock once every three months and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. You do not have to do anything else to prevent pregnancy while receiving this injection. Each injection contains a high-level of progesterone that prevents the body from releasing an egg for the next three months.

  • What are the Benefits of Depo Provera™ Injections?
    • Many women find that their periods are lighter and less painful, and some women stop having periods altogether.
    • Protection against pregnancy begins 24 hours after the injection.
    • Depo Provera™ does not contain estrogen and can be used by women who are advised not to take birth control pills because of the risk of cardiovascular side effects.
    • It can be used by women who breastfeed after the infant reached six weeks of age.
  • What are the Disadvantages of Depo Provera™ Injections?
    • Although a popular method among teenagers and young women, many complain of spotting/ irregular bleeding between periods.
    • If you decide to get pregnant, it may take several months or longer to conceive following the last injection.
    • This drug may decrease the amount of calcium in your bones, which can increase the risk of broken bones and osteoporosis.
    • This drug does NOT prevent sexually transmitted disease. Condoms should be used if you are concerned of STD transmission.
  • What are the Possible Side Effects?
    • Weight gain;
    • Headaches;
    • Breast tenderness;
    • Fatigue;
    • Acne;
    • Nausea;
    • Decreased sexual desire

Contact our office right away if you experience

  • Pain or swelling in your leg;
  • Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs;
  • Difficulty breathing or tightness in the chest;
  • Any other persistent side effects as listed above.

Nexplanon™ is a hormone-releasing implant that is placed under the skin and is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Inserted by your health care provider, Nexplanon™ can remain in place for up to 3 years.

  • What Might I Experience While Using Nexplanon? – The most common side effect is a change in menstrual bleeding. Your periods may become lighter, heavier, longer, or shorter. Some women stop having periods completely. All women react differently to Nexplanon.
  • What are the Common Side Effects?
    • Mood swings;
    • Weight gain;
    • Headache;
    • Acne;
    • Depressed mood;
    • Breast tenderness/pain;
    • Nausea/dizziness
    • Back pain

Contact our office right away if you experience:

  • Pain or swelling in your leg;
  • Severe chest pain or heaviness;
  • Shortness of breath or coughing blood;
  • Allergic reaction, e.g. swollen face, lips, tongue or throat; difficulty swallowing; or hives and difficulty breathing;
  • Numbness or weakness in arms or legs;
  • Severe abdominal pain;
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding, e.g. soaking a pad or tampon every hour.

Nuvaring™ is a flexible vaginal ring used to prevent pregnancy. Much like the birth control pill, Nuvaring™ contains estrogen and progestin, which work together to prevent pregnancy. Women insert the ring at home, much like they would a tampon. The ring is removed after three weeks, at which time a period will occur. A new ring is then inserted one week later. When used correctly it is 98% effective at preventing pregnancy.

  • What Might I Experience While Using Nuvaring™?
    • Irritation inside your vagina or on the cervix;
    • Headache;
    • Mood changes, including depression;
    • Nausea and vomiting;
    • Vaginal discharge;
    • Weight gain;
    • Breast pain/discomfort;
    • Acne;
    • Abdominal pain;
    • Decreased sexual desire.

Call our office right away if you experience:

  • Pain or swelling in your leg;
  • Severe chest pain or heaviness;
  • Shortness of breath or coughing blood;
  • Allergic reaction, e.g. swollen face, lips, tongue or throat; difficulty swallowing; or hives and difficulty breathing;
  • Numbness or weakness in arms or legs;
  • Severe abdominal pain;
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding, e.g. soaking a pad or tampon every hour;
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyeballs.

Essure™ is the only permanent form of birth control available that is not considered a surgical procedure. The short, ten minute procedure can be performed right in our office.

  • How Does Essure™ Work?
    • In an office or outpatient setting, your physician inserts tiny coils into your fallopian tubes under local anesthesia.
    • The coils work with your body to develop a barrier in your fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
    • You must use a temporary form of birth control following the procedure until your physician confirms that your fallopian tubes are occluded. (Approximately 3 months)
  • What are the Benefits of Essure™ Work?
    • Non-surgical
    • Permanent
    • No downtime to recover
    • Non-hormonal
    • 99% success in complete tubal occlusion
  • What are the possible disadvantages and side effects of Essure™ Work?
    • It is possible that the procedure does not “take” and your tubes will not become completely occluded. At that time you will need to choose another form of birth control.
    • The procedure is permanent and cannot be reversed should you desire to become pregnant in the future.
    • You must undergo a confirmation test at three months to confirm sterilization was successful. This is performed by a radiologist in an outpatient setting.

Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that eliminates the possibility of pregnancy. Your physician will either cut and tie your fallopian tubes, or bend them and attach clips to occlude the tubes. This procedure is performed through a very small abdominal incision and must be performed in an outpatient hospital setting or surgery center.

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