Whether you’ve recently become sexually active and want to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancy, or you’re experiencing issues with your skin or period, choosing the right birth control for your situation can be daunting. The world of contraception has evolved over the years and what worked for your mother, older sister or best friend isn’t necessarily going to be the best option for you. Birth control is so personal, and the type of birth control you use can change over time depending on your circumstances. Your doctor will be your best source of information, but to get a head start, here are six questions to ask when choosing birth control.

Does your budget impact your birth control choice?

Taking cost into account is important when it comes to choosing the right birth control. You could have the most effective, easy to use birth control on the planet, but if it’s too expensive, buying it will never become a sustainable habit. Beyond the initial doctor’s consultation, average pricing for birth control in Australia can range from:

– $10 – $35 contraceptive pill (3 months)

– $40 for hormonal IUD, Mirena (5 years)

– $70 – $120 for copper IUD (10 years)

– $37 for contraceptive implant/rod, Implanon (3 years)

Ask yourself how much you’re willing to comfortably pay for birth control, ensuring it aligns with your budget.

Do you want the ability to pause and skip your period?

Some forms of birth control allow you to pause, skip, or stop your period altogether. If you suffer from symptoms of premenstrual syndrome or period pain, the hormonal IUD may be a great option to stop your period altogether. Alternatively, the oral contraceptive pill will allow you to control when you have your period as it suits you.

Are you predisposed to certain side effects?

All forms of hormonal birth control have side effects, and until you’ve tried them, you’re not going to know how each form of contraception will affect your body. Some women are medically predisposed to certain conditions, like heart attacks, stroke, liver disorders, and blood clots. Check in with your parents and if you find out you have a family history of a specific health condition, make sure your doctor is aware prior to prescribing your birth control.

Do you want to conceive in the near future?

Different methods of contraception provide different lengths of protection. If you’re not planning on having a baby any time soon, the implant, hormonal IUD and copper IUD are more permanent birth control options, providing protection from three to six to 12 years, respectively. If baby names have become a topic on conversational rotation with your partner, options like the pill, patch or vaginal ring are better short-term options.

What kind of birth control upkeep fits in with your lifestyle?

The best type of birth control plan is the one you’re going to keep. So, when choosing the right birth control for you, choose an option that is easy to use, convenient, and fits in with your lifestyle. If you are always on the go or work irregular shifts, taking the pill each day may be hard to track and follow. An implant may be a more convenient option for you, lasting up to three years before replacement. On the other hand, if you’re travelling overseas on the reg, it may be hard to travel back home to have an implant removed, especially if it causes nasty side effects.

Are you looking for birth control that offers additional benefits?

One of the great things about hormonal birth control options is that they can also treat other issues you may be experiencing. If you suffer from severe PMS symptoms or heavy periods, hormonal birth control can help to ease cramping and lighten your period. Likewise, if you’re struggling with hormonal acne, the pill can help to relieve your skin. Endometriosis is another condition with symptoms that can be eased via use of the pill, patch, or ring. In fact, many women will commence a course of the pill for acne, PMS, and endometriosis before sex even enters their radar.

This guide is designed to be informative and educational. It is not intended to provide specific medical advice or replace advice from your medical practitioner.