10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Birth Control

by Allison Bush Editor

When choosing birth control methods, it’s wise to factor in your age, health, family history, relationship status, convenience, and costs. Ultimately, you want to make an informed decision that works best with your lifestyle.

Birth control methods.

What are the different methods for birth control?

Ask your doctor about different kinds of birth control. Female condoms, implantable hormone methods, and a birth control method that can temporarily terminate your menstrual cycle are new options available besides the pill, which has been available to women for decades.

Woman looking at contraceptives.

How effective is the birth control?

Every birth control method is rated based on its ability to effectively prevent pregnancy. The pill is about 99 percent effective, if taken on schedule. IUDs are more than 99 percent effective.

Doctor with IUD.

How reversible is the birth control method?

If you are sexually active with no intention of having children any time soon, then you want a solid birth control method that is highly effective like an IUD. If you want to start a family in the near future, then you may want to choose a contraceptive that will allow you to get pregnant relatively quickly after discontinuing use.

Woman at pharmacy.

How costly is the birth control method?

The cost of birth control varies. Emergency contraceptives are more expensive, and costs could run around $50 for one use. With insurance, the pill costs around $25 a month.

Woman questioning her birth control method.

Is it convenient?

You may have a very busy schedule and want a birth control method that requires few, if any, follow up visits to the doctor. If you're forgetful, taking birth control daily may not fit your lifestyle.

Medical health records.

Does the birth control fit my health profile and family history?

Some birth control should not be given to women with certain conditions. For example, there are increased risks if you smoke, have a history of blood clots, or are over the age of 35. Other choices may not be optimal if there is a family history of breast cancer or other hormone mediated cancers.


Does the birth control protect me from STDs?

The pill doesn't protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Condoms are the best way to protect against STDs.

Woman with PMS symptoms.

Is there birth control that addresses other health issues?

Birth control can treat other medical conditions. Oral contraceptives like the pill can help with acne and ease PMS symptoms.

Woman with nausea from ulcerative colitis leans over the sink holding her mouth.

What are the possible side effects of birth control?

Be aware of all possible side effects before choosing a birth control option. There may be short-term and long-term side effects. Common side effects for hormone-based contraception include nausea, head ache, decreased sex drive, and weight gain.

Woman holding morning after pill.

Is there an emergency method if my birth control fails?

Be sure to discuss birth control alternatives if your birth control fails with your doctor. For example, emergency contraceptive pills are available, if a condom breaks.

Allison Bush
Meet Our Writer
Allison Bush

Allison Bush is a former HealthCentral editor who covered a wide range of health topics.