Long-Lasting Family Planning Methods

Planning your family means making sure you're ready to have children. Whether you're waiting until you have more money, aren't ready to take a break from your career, or just want more time with your partner, family planning can help you to control when and if you have kids. If you're looking for a long-lasting, no-fuss birth control method, intrauterine devices (or IUDs) are options to consider. Unlike other methods, these allow you to start your family whenever you are ready, without having to wait or go through surgical procedures.

An Option Without Hormones

If you don't like the idea of using hormones as part of your birth control, the copper IUD is hormone-free. It is a small plastic "T" wrapped in copper. Your doctor inserts it into your uterus, where it remains in place for up to 12 years, according to Planned Parenthood. The pros to using this device include:

  • None of the hormonal side effects that come with other birth control methods.
  • You can get pregnant right away after removal.
  • It isn't permanent.
  • Other than making sure that it's in place, there is no maintenance.
  • It can stay in place for a decade or more.
  • It is over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. The copper IUD failure rate under typical use is 0.8 percent, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hormone IUD Options

There are two types of hormone IUD options available in the U.S. These IUDs release low doses of the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. While these are both long-term options, they have shorter use times than the copper IUD. One option can stay in your uterus for up to five years, and the other option can stay for three. The pros to these IUDs include:

  • Shorter, lighter, or no periods after the first few months.
  • The possibility of having reduced or no period cramps.
  • It isn't permanent.
  • You can get pregnant right away after removal.
  • Both have high effective rates. The hormonal IUDs are typically over 99 percent effective.

Whether you think you might want to start your family somewhat soon, or you know that you want to wait years to have a baby, the IUD is a method that comes with options. With high effectiveness ratings, the hormone-free and hormonal IUDs work well at preventing pregnancy when you want them to. That said, only a doctor can help you to decide if and which type is right for you. Before selecting this type of family planning method, talk to your doctor, like at Abortion Care, about all of the benefits and risks involved.