Reproductive Health

Contraceptive options

There are many options available for preventing pregnancy, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. If you are sexually active and don’t want to get pregnant, you can explore the range of contraceptive choices available.

You can download our birth control method comparison chart and print out a copy to bring to your healthcare provider, so your provider can help you make the choice that’s best for you.

ASHA’s Sex+Health Podcast

There are about 61 million women of reproductive age in the United States, many of whom will use some type of birth control for several decades. There are lots of options available, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In this episode we’re talking with Dr. Noor Dasouki Abu-Alnadi, known as “Dr. Noor” to her patients, to explore what’s available including several new and exciting options.

How women choose birth control

With the wide range of contraceptive methods available to women, it can be challenging to understand all of the options and make a fully informed choice about which is the best fit. Listen to real women discuss their choices.

More Resources

Protecting Your Fertility

You can begin protecting your fertility well before you are ready to start a family. Nutrition, a healthy lifestyle and decisions about sexual behavior influence a person’s ability to conceive a child and a woman’s ability have a safe delivery. In the ideal situation, you will be able to:

  • Choose if and when you want to conceive a child
  • Biologically conceive a child
  • Deliver a healthy infant

Most people don’t realize that their reproductive health system is the most fragile system in the body. You need to know how to protect your future fertility by preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When STIs go untreated they can cause fertility problems. For example:

  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea: Fifteen percent of all American cisgender women who are infertile can attribute it to tubal damage caused by pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs. It often results from untreated STIs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. PID can lead to serious consequences that affect a woman’s ability to have a baby, her experience during pregnancy and delivery, and the well being of her newborn.
  • Genital herpes: Generally, herpes doesn’t usually have severe health consequences and doesn’t usually interfere with a person’s ability to become pregnant. In rare circumstances, however, herpes infections can affect the well being of the newborn infant. For this reason people who are thinking about becoming pregnant or are already pregnant should talk with their health care provider about protecting their baby.
  • HIV: It is recommended that all pregnant people  get tested before their baby is born. Routine testing for HIV is especially important for expectant mothers—HIV can be passed between a mother and child during labor, and later through breastfeeding. By testing in advance, pregnant people and their health care provoders can create plans to protect the well being of their unborn children. Through medical treatments during delivery and feeding practices thereafter, HIV positive pregnant people can have HIV negative children.

What you can do to protect yourself and your fertility:

  • Use condoms correctly and consistently every time you have sex.
  • Get an annual physical where you request annual chlamydia and gonorrhea screenings (strongly recommended for cisgender women 25 and under).
  • Get tested and ask your sexual partners to get tested (before you start having sex!)
  • Recognize when you are in an abusive relationship and know who to call.

More to explore

February is National Condom Month 

Currently, condoms are the only widely available, proven method for reducing transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during sex. Condoms work.

A couple holding a condom

Talking to a Partner about Condoms

Don’t be shy to talk with your partner about safer sex and condoms: For both of you, this is one of the most important conversations you can have. It’s also one of the smartest!

Birth control options

FDA Approves New Hormone-Free Contraceptive Option

Nearly all women use birth control at some point in their lives, and soon they’ll have one more option available. On May 22, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Phexxi, a non-hormonal contraceptive gel that works by keeping the pH levels in the vagina acidic, and thus inhospitable to sperm.