Methods of Birth Control – Consider Your Options before Making a Call

There is no one-size-fits-all type of birth control method. There are several options available that are affordable, safe, and effective. And all these options fit different lifestyles, budgets, and situations. 

Before you make a rash decision and consider the medical abortion pill as the only option, you should know what choices you have. When you are aware of the options that you have, you are more likely to make an informed choice.

Before we present to you the options, it is better to clarify the terms of birth control and abortion.

Birth control, in any form, natural, hormonal, or non-hormonal prevent concept. These contraceptive methods are used before you conceive, to prevent that from happening.

Abortion, on the other hand, is a method used to terminate a pregnancy after conception. A lot of women consider abortion as primary birth control but that is not exactly true.

Birth control is a method to prevent conception and abortion is the method to terminate a conception.

Here are some methods of birth control for your consideration:

  1. Hormonal methods like pills, patches, vagina rings. There are progesterone-only pills and injections also.
  2. IUD or intrauterine devices (copper and hormonal) can also be inserted to offer protection from pregnancy for quite many years. In a lot of cases, there is a use of IUD for abortion as well. 
  3. Barrier methods like condoms, diaphragms, spermicides, cervical caps are also known to be effective methods of birth control.
  4. Sterilization methods like tubal litigation and vasectomy are also used by couples who do not wish to have children anytime in the future.  
  5. Some natural methods of birth control are also practiced that include abstinence, the fertility awareness method (FAM), withdrawal, and also the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM).

At Her Smart Choice, we can offer you guidance regarding all the aforementioned methods. 

Other than guidance, if you need emergency contraception or abortion services, then too Her Smart Choice can be your first choice.

Surveys have indicated that unintended pregnancies that interfere with a woman’s education, career, or ability to care for dependents remain the top remains the top cause of abortion.

No matter what your reason be, we will make sure that you get complete care, effective treatment, and you face absolutely no stress or judgment.

At Her Smart Choice, our main aim is to offer you the right options and help you make a smart choice. This smart choice is going to be suitable for your mental and physical health, your current situation, and your financial position.

Other than abortion and birth control, we also offer services related to reproductive health.

We offer several infertility treatments that can help you conceive. Our urogynecology services include treatment for bladder emptying disorders, interstitial cystitis, menopause, pelvic or bladder pain disorders, pelvic organ prolapse, sexual dysfunction, urinary incontinence, detrusor related incontinence, mixed incontinence, or urinary tract infections. We also offer STD tests and treatment.

No matter what your issue is, you can visit us and we will help you make a smart choice.

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Is it safe to take Birth Control Pills and Antidepressants at the same time?

 

With Antidepressant Prescriptions Skyrocketing in United States, it creates a unique debate for women – who to listen to? Their Psychiatrist or OB/GYN?Is it safe to take birth control pills and antidepressants at the same time?

 

The incidence of depression has increased drastically over the past few decades. Women are more prone to develop depression due to several factors that are common as well as completely independent of the causative factors in men. 

 

The mounting job pressure, demands of career and family responsibilities, commuting to workplace, academic failures, loss of near ones, and an unpleasant event in life are the factors that can make men as well as women prone to develop depression.

 

Factors such as postpartum depression and premenstrual syndrome occur specifically in women resulting in mild to severe depression.

With Antidepressant Prescriptions Skyrocketing in United States, it creates a unique debate for women - who to listen to? Their Psychiatrist or OB/GYN?

Since these conditions tend to occur during the reproductive years, it is likely that women would have to use antidepressants prescribed for relieving depression together with birth control pills. 

 

Hence, there is a need to understand how birth control pills and antidepressants interact with each other and whether it is safe to use both these medications at the same time.

 

Why is it important to understand the interactions between birth control pills and antidepressants?

Generally speaking, most antidepressants do not interact with the action of oral contraceptive pills, also called birth control pills. For example; women who are using hormonal contraceptives may be prescribed an antidepressant like Prozac if they suffer from symptoms such as extreme mood changes, lack of interest in daily activities, and so on. 

Is it safe to take birth control pills and antidepressants at the same time?Prozac is a type of antidepressant containing fluoxetine, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).

In this case, Prozac may not interfere with the action of the birth control pills causing pregnancy. However, this doesn’t mean it is safe to use these medications together. Because the combined action of the two may potentially cause drastic changes in the mood. 

Antidepressants like Prozac are known to affect the production and release of hormones in the body. And since birth control pills are comprised of synthetically prepared female reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogens, the risk of interaction between these medicines can not be ignored. 

Similarly, there are a number of antidepressants each having the potential to alter the body’s physiological processes and the hormonal balance. Hence, women in reproductive age who use birth control pills need to be aware of how these antidepressants can affect the action of their contraceptive pills in order to avoid side effects and prevent the reduced effectiveness of both. 

 

Birth control pills and antidepressants

As discussed earlier, women are likely to develop depression due to a number of reasons. Biological, relationships, lifestyle, psychosocial factors, pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding are the factors unique to women and thought to contribute to their higher risk of depression.

The hormonal changes occurring in the body before and during menses can result in a condition called premenstrual syndrome or PMS. The common signs and symptoms of PMS include mood changes, irritability, heaviness in the breasts, abdominal pain, and cramps in legs. 

In some cases, the symptoms are so severe that they prevent the woman from carrying out routine activities. Women who experience severe symptoms of PMS are often advised to use antidepressants. 

However, these drugs may worsen mood swings and irritability and even cause a failure of the contraceptive pills they are using. Also, the continuous use of antidepressants may not be appropriate or necessary in such cases as the symptoms tend to occur only before and during menstrual periods. These factors must be taken into consideration before women start using antidepressants to manage PMS while also using birth control pills. 

Similarly, women may also experience severe postpartum depression following childbirth due to the hormonal changes occurring in the body during this phase as well as the sudden lifestyle changes and challenges posed by motherhood. 

Breastfeeding itself acts as a natural method of contraception during the initial few months after delivery when the mother is breastfeeding the child. However, once the woman stops breastfeeding, she may need to use birth control pills to avoid pregnancy until she feels she is ready for the second child. 

In this case, it is important to be aware of the interactions between the antidepressant she is using and the birth control pills, especially if the symptoms of postpartum depression are severe necessitating long-term use of the antidepressant drug.

Similarly, there are various other situations when women of reproductive age may have to use birth control pills and antidepressants together. This is why; women should take efforts to find out how these drugs affect each other’s actions, alter their effectiveness, or cause side effects. 

 

Use of birth control pills, and antidepressants for PMDD

PMDD or premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a condition similar to PMS. In fact, PMDD is a more intense form of typical premenstrual syndrome. The common signs of this condition are severe anxiety, extreme irritability, and drastic mood swings. 

Women who have a history of postpartum depression or mood disorders are prone to develop premenstrual dysphoric disorder. 

PMDD is often confused with depression as both these conditions cause similar symptoms such as sadness, despair, increased sensitivity to criticism, suicidal thoughts, and so on. The use of antidepressants is common in women with PMDD. However, it should be noted that the symptoms of PMDD are linked to the hormonal changes typically occurring around ovulation and before periods.  

Hence, the use of antidepressants may not be appropriate in such cases, especially if the woman is already using birth control pills and wishes to avoid pregnancy. 

It has been found that most women find remarkable relief in their symptoms of PMDD by simply using birth control pills. The use of oral contraceptives has been found to work more effectively than antidepressants in reducing the symptoms of PMDD as well as in some cases of PMS. Let us have a look at how birth control pills could help to relieve PMDD. 

Most birth control pills contain synthetic versions of female reproductive hormones called estrogens and progesterone. These hormones help to prevent conception by inhibiting the process of ovulation. These pills also provide the body with a steady dose of estrogens without any peaks or drastic fluctuations. This action helps to prevent the release of eggs by the ovaries. 

Later, oral contraceptive pills start delivering a fixed amount of progesterone to stop the growth of the uterine lining called endometrium. Finally, most birth control pills have a 7-day dosage schedule of placebos, which cause the hormonal levels to fall resulting in your periods to start. 

The menstrual flow that begins during the use of placebo pills is a withdrawal bleeding caused as a reaction to the lack of supply of hormones. This is the basic action by which most birth control pills help to prevent pregnancy.

Since these pills deliver estrogens and progesterone in steady doses, they can make the hormone levels in your body more predictable thereby controlling the symptoms caused due to hormonal imbalances.

For example; cramps in the legs and abdomen caused due to PMS or PMDD may be relieved by using oral contraceptives. These pills work by controlling the production of prostaglandin, which is responsible for causing excessive uterine contractions.

Also, mood swings, depression, and anxiety caused due to the fluctuations in the levels of hormones can also be relieved by the steady release of estrogens and progestogen achieved through the use of oral contraceptives. 

This points to the need to avoid or minimize the use of antidepressants and instead, use only birth control pills to relieve PMDD and PMS while preventing conception. This strategy can also allow women to avoid the side effects of antidepressants known to occur due to their prolonged usage.  

This is one of the reasons why the simultaneous use of birth control pills and antidepressants is not recommended. In some cases, it could worsen the side effects of antidepressants; in some cases, it may lessen the effectiveness of birth control pills; and in some cases, it may be unnecessary.

 

Can antidepressants lower the effectiveness of birth control pills?

Antidepressants like SSRIs may interfere with the action of glands that produce hormones in the body. This could alter the levels of estrogens and progesterone in women. Antidepressants can also alter the bioavailability or the amount of circulating hormones in the body. 

The fluctuating levels of estrogens and progesterone due to the use of antidepressants can, thus, change the balance of female reproductive hormones thereby lowering the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills. This can not just result in a few side effects associated with hormonal imbalances but may also lead to an unintended pregnancy.

Some women may also experience increased mood swings and irritability as side effects of the hormonal medications. Hence, if women find exacerbations in their symptoms of depression, PMS, or PMDD, it could be attributed to the interactions between antidepressants and birth control pills. A change in the antidepressant or the birth control pill, in such cases, may alleviate the symptoms. 

However, the way antidepressants alter the action of oral contraceptive spills varies among women. There are differences in the levels of estrogens and progesterone from woman to woman. At the same time, the way the compounds in antidepressant drugs are metabolized in the body can also change depending on the specific health issues or metabolic rate and dysfunctions in different women. 

These factors need to be taken into consideration while determining how the antidepressants can alter the action and effectiveness of oral contraceptives. In some women, the use of antidepressants may cause a bigger drop in the effectiveness of birth control pills while in some, it may not interfere with each other’s actions much. 

The use of anti-seizure medications

Anti-seizure mediations, as the name suggests, are prescribed to women who suffer from seizures or convulsions. However, the use of these drugs is not limited to seizures. 

Most women with depression are also prescribed anti-seizure drugs. It is important to mention that these drugs are known to decrease the effectiveness of oral contraceptive pills. For example, anti-seizure medications like Lamotragene, Tegretol, and Topomax, which are commonly prescribed to treat depression or stabilize bipolar disorder, can affect the hormonal balance in the body resulting in the failure of oral contraceptives. 

Hence, women suffering from depression or seizures should inform the physician about the use of oral contraceptives and their desire to avoid pregnancy so that appropriate medications can be prescribed to them. 

In case anti-seizure drugs must be prescribed to relieve severe depression, it is best to adopt additional measures of contraception such as condoms or diaphragms in combination with oral contraceptive pills to avoid pregnancy. 

 

Can birth control pills trigger depression?

Most women are concerned about mood changes and depression that may occur due to the use of birth control pills. Not just oral contraceptive pills but also the other hormonal birth control methods such as the patches, implants, rings, injections, and IUDs have been reported to have caused depression in some women.

The rising cases of depression associated with the use of these hormonal medications have led to several research studies.

Most of these studies have not shown any definitive association between the use of hormonal methods of contraception and depression. In fact, a critical review of these studies has revealed that the overall percentage of women that can develop depression due to hormonal contraception was very small. 

It has been found that just 2.2% of women who used hormonal contraception developed depression in comparison to 1.7% who did not. These findings suggest that only some women could be susceptible to this side effect. 

Hence, women need not avoid adopting hormonal birth control methods for the fear of developing depression. On the contrary, the hormonal balance achieved through the use of oral contraceptive pills has been associated with relief from the existing symptoms of depression. 

The mood-stabilizing action of birth control pills is so effective that it may help women avoid the use of antidepressants known to cause serious side effects. 

The Bottom Line

Birth control pills and antidepressants have a complicated relationship. The type of antidepressant or oral contraceptive used, the body composition, and stages in the menstrual cycle need to be considered to evaluate the possible interactions between these drugs. 

Women must seek the advice of a gynecologist and psychiatrist and inform them of the medications they are already using and their intentions to avoid conception so that the physicians can recommend appropriate treatments. 

 

To schedule an appointment, please Click Here

 

How Do Women Feel After A Pregnancy Termination?

 

For additional information, please visit hersmartchoice.com. 

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antidepressants, Prozac, postpartum depression, premenstrual syndrome, bi-polar, borderline, seasonal affect disorder, psychiatrist, birth control, obgyn, women’s ealth, pregnancy prevention

 

 With Anti-Depression Prescriptions Skyrocketing in United States, it creates a debate for women – who to listen to? Their Psychiatrist or OB/GYN?

Is it safe to take birth control pills and antidepressants at the same time?

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How To Choose A Birth Control Method That’s Right For You

 

 

Considering A Birth Control Option?

 

Her Smart Choice Women’s Health Center Educational Series Presents
‘How To Choose A Birth Control Method For That’s Right For You’

 

There are so many options available, it can be a difficult decision to make. Let’s learn more about this topic. Birth control or pregnancy prevention is one of the greatest challenges for women of reproductive age from 15 to 44 years old.

 

 

Many research studies have been conducted to look for the best and safest methods of contraception with fewer or lesser inconveniences or side effects. For example Birth Control Pills, IUD’s, or the Nexplanon Implant.

For additional information, please visit www.HerSmartChoice.com or call 323-250-9360.

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Her Smart Choice
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#hersmartchoice #hscmc #birthcontrol #yourdecision #iud #nexplanon #implants #birthcontrol

 

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Why Women Choose an Abortion?

 

Why Do Women Choose an Abortion?

 

Her Smart Choice Woman’s Health Center Educational Series Presents ‘Why Do Women Choose an Abortion?’

 

Did you know, according to the National Center on Health Statistics that almost half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned? And many will get pregnant while using birth control?

For every 100 women who rely on the pill for one year, nine will get pregnant; and for every 100 women who rely on condoms for one year, nearly 20 will get pregnant?

You’re not alone. Given the data, there are many women right now in the very same situation as you are. Today, we’re going to discuss “Why Do Women Choose an Abortion?”

 

 

For additional information, please visit www.HerSmartChoice.com.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel, BLOG or Facebook Page (HerSmartChoice) or follow-us on Twitter (@4hersmartchoice) or Instagram (hersmartchoice) to be notified when our next educational episode is live and to see more videos like this one.

 

To Schedule an Appointment, Click Here

 

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Your Life. Your Decision. Your Smart Choice.

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Alcohol and Birth Control: What Every Woman Needs to Know

Alcohol and Birth ControlBe it a romantic dinner along with wine or a wild party night that ends in a fling, whether it’s good or bad, sex and alcohol often go hand in hand with one another. Fortunately, drinking alcohol doesn’t change the way your method of birth control works. But, if your birth control relies on action or memory; for instance, you have to use a condom while having sex or take a birth control pill at a particular time, then you have to plan ahead when drinking.

If you are drinking alcohol and using the following types of methods of birth control correctly, then the alcohol will not affect them:

  • Oral contraceptive pills (birth control pills)
  • Depo-Provera shots
  • Condoms
  • Morning after pills (emergency contraceptives)
  • IUDs (intrauterine devices)
  • Implants
  • Vaginal rings
  • Patches 

How can alcohol affect birth control?

Though alcohol doesn’t produce an effect on the workings of your contraception method directly, it may indirectly increase the risk of failure of birth control methods. Alcohol can impact your judgment and behavior and this can result in reducing the effectiveness of birth control. In case you become intoxicated by drinking heavily, the chances of forgetting to take the pill on time increases. This becomes more likely if you drink before the time you would normally take the pill. If you typically take the pill in the morning and you drank alcohol the previous night, it is possible that you might sleep through that normal time. It’s important to remember that  the effectiveness of the pill is affected by the time at which you ingest it. 

Drinking alcohol may also make you more prone to get sick. If you fall sick after drinking alcohol and vomit or throw up within one to two hours of consuming the pill, then your body may not absorb it. This situation is the same as not taking a pill and it may increase your chances of ovulation (release of an egg). 

Do birth control methods affect alcohol tolerance?

Women who take oral contraceptives process or metabolize alcohol more slowly in comparison to women who don’t take the pill. This is because their liver has to process both the hormones present in the pill and the alcohol. Furthermore, the hormones present in contraceptives may affect the water distribution in your body and this may change the rate of elimination of the alcohol you consume. Thus, alcohol may remain in your body for a longer duration and its effects may also last longer. 

This can result in higher levels of blood alcohol and may also increase your intoxication level if  you are taking the birth control pill along with drinking alcohol. To put it differently, you can become intoxicated easily and more quickly in comparison to the times when you didn’t take the birth control pill. This makes it more likely to miss a dose or forget to use other kinds of protection while having sex. 

You are also more likely to remain intoxicated due to alcohol for a longer duration during your periods as your body releases a greater amount of hormones during this time. 

Furthermore, when you drink alcohol, it is difficult to correctly use a condom, even if you remember to use one. 

Other risks of drinking alcohol

There are other risks of drinking excessive quantities of alcohol, particularly concerning your sexual behavior. 

Dangerous sexual behavior

After drinking alcohol you may become more careless; thereby, not responsibly using birth control. In a study, it was found that binge drinking or risky drinking in young women almost doubled the chances of contraception becoming ineffective. People who get intoxicated after drinking alcohol are less likely to use condoms and other contraceptives to prevent STIs (sexually transmitted infections) or unwanted pregnancy. There are also chances of regretting your choice of partner to have sex. 

Sexual assault

A link exists between sexual assault and alcohol use. According to a publication by the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) about half of the individuals who have suffered a sexual assault state that they were drunk or under the influence of alcohol during the sexual assault. It is important to note here that, though someone may have been drinking before a person sexually assaulted them, they are not to blame in any way. The perpetrator is always at fault. 

Planning for the future

If you are taking oral contraceptives and know about drinking in advance then you should plan ahead of time. You may:

  • Set an alarm on your phone to remind yourselves to take your medicine on time.
  • Take your pill during the middle of the day, when there are fewer chances of drinking alcohol. This also increases your chances of being awake to take the pill even if you had alcohol the previous night. 
  • Carry backup birth control such as spermicide and condom with you. You must always use a barrier method of birth control (for instance condoms) to protect yourself from STIs unless you and your partner are in a faithful and long-term relationship. 
  • Choose a type of birth control that is low-maintenance, i.e., you get it and then forget it. Some of these are IUD (a tiny device that your healthcare provider places in the uterus and it can effectively provide protection from unwanted pregnancy for three to 10 years) and implant (a small rod, the size of a matchstick, which releases hormones; your healthcare provider inserts it beneath your arm skin and is effective for up to three years). 

 

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Why IUDs Are Considered the Best Birth Control Method

IUDs or intrauterine devices are widely considered the best birth control method for women. IUDs offer several benefits to women for avoiding pregnancy. Unlike most other contraceptive methods, IUDs are safer, easier to use, and are more effective than other birth control methods.

Here is a glimpse into why IUDs are considered the best birth control method and answers to frequently asked questions:IUD

What are IUDs?

An IUD is a tiny device, which is inserted into the uterus to avoid conception in women. It is a simple, small, T-shaped device that sits within the uterus and releases hormones that help in the prevention of pregnancy.

It takes just a few minutes for the insertion of an IUD. It cannot be seen or felt once it is in place.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About IUDS:

What are the types of IUDs?

IUDs are typically categorized as hormonal or non-hormonal. Hormonal IUDs work by releasing a small amount of the hormone called progestin into the uterus.

An IUD releases the hormone slowly and continuously to ensure a longer-lasting contraceptive effect. It helps to prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix, thereby preventing sperm from reaching an egg for fertilization to occur.

Hormonal IUDs also prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, the process of releasing an egg from the uterus. As a result, the next step of fertilization of the egg does not occur, thus preventing conception.

Non-hormonal or copper IUDs, just as the name suggests, are wrapped in copper. This metal is safe for the uterus while being toxic to sperm. It causes destruction of sperm, preventing them from reaching the egg to cause fertilization.

The mechanisms of action of both these types of IUDs are based on the physiological processes involved in fertilization. IUDs are designed to ensure there is no damage to the uterus or endometrium, which is why they are considered the best birth control method.

How effective are IUDs for preventing pregnancy?

One of the reasons why IUDs are so popular is their high level of efficacy. They have a success rate of nearly 99% when it comes to avoiding conception. Once an IUD is inserted, women can feel relaxed and need not worry about an unplanned pregnancy.

How long does an IUD remain effective?

The duration for which an IUD is effective can vary from 3 years to 12 years and varies depending on the brand and the type of IUD.

Most hormonal IUDs work for about 3 to 6 years, while the non-hormonal IUDs have a longer period of action and may last up to 12 years. This is one of the reasons why women choose IUDs as a method of contraception. The longer lasting action of these devices allows them the freedom they often miss out on while taking daily oral contraceptive pills.

Women can also choose to remove the IUD at any time before its expiry date if they want to get pregnant or switch to another method of birth control.

How long does it take to insert the IUD?

Insertion of an IUD takes just a few minutes. The procedure can be performed in the physician’s clinic and needs no hospitalization. It is a non-invasive procedure.

Women can continue with their daily routine immediately after the insertion. Similarly, even the removal of the IUD can be performed within a few minutes. This offers great convenience to women who lead a busy lifestyle.

Does IUD insertion involve pain?

Women may experience a mild pinching sensation when the physician holds the cervix with the help of equipment before inserting the IUD. The pain caused due to the same is mild and only lasts for a few seconds after the cervix is released. Barring this, the procedure should not cause any major discomfort.

How long does it take for an IUD to be effective?

Most hormonal IUDs are effective immediately when they are inserted within the first 7 days of the start of a menstrual period. Otherwise, it may take about 7 days for them to be effective after insertion. The non-hormonal copper IUDs are effective immediately after they are inserted.

Does an IUD interfere with the future fertility of a woman?

No. IUDs can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant only as long as they are within the uterus. Once removed, the woman can conceive within the next one to two months, provided she does not suffer from any other issue linked to infertility.

This offers great convenience to women who would like to avoid pregnancy for a few years. They can get it removed at any time if they wish to start a family.

Are IUDs safe?

Yes. IUDs are extremely safe. Women can choose a hormonal IUD or copper IUD depending on their preferences and the pros and cons of each.

IUDs are safer than most other methods of contraception as they do not cause any serious adverse effects on the normal physiological processes occurring in the body.

In some cases, women may develop side effects like excessive vaginal bleeding, and abdominal pain.

How do you get an IUD?

IUDs may easily be purchased at a local pharmacy. IUDs are also available at many women’s health clinics. Women can visit a gynecologist and discuss the type of IUD suitable for them before choosing one.

IUDs are available at costs varying between $0- $1,300.00. The wide range of prices indicates the differences in them due to the brand name, quality, and effectiveness. However, having said that, it doesn’t mean the IUDs priced in a lower range are less effective or the expensive IUDs can guarantee a 100% success rate for preventing pregnancy.

Women can also get IUDs free of cost or at a discounted rate if they have access to a health insurance plan, a government program, or Medicaid.

Conclusion

IUDs offer a great choice for women who would like to avoid pregnancy for a period ranging from 3 years to more than 10 years. They provide long-term protection against conception and allow women to focus on other priorities.The higher effectiveness, safety, and the reduced risk of side effects from IUDs also can also ease the stress and anxiety of having an unplanned pregnancy. For all of these reasons, IUDs are considered the best birth control method.

Her Smart Choice offers IUDs and family planning services in multiple locations throughout the greater Los Angeles, CA area. 

For more information or to schedule an appointment today, please visit: https://hersmartchoice.com/services/iuds/ 

 

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