Pills, condoms, the rhythm method, Billings . . . the list goes on and on. If you find that going through the family planning / birth control labyrinth is like running into a lot of dead ends with the many things to consider and remember, then read on. Neatly packed into this guide are the must-knows about family planning and contraception.

Because when you’re deciding on what contraception method to use, the last thing you want to lose is control. The first thing to remember is that there are two basic classifications of contraception: natural methods and modern or artificial methods. The second thing to remember is that the main difference between the two is that natural methods do not require surgical procedures, insertion of a certain device, or medication.

When choosing the right method for you, Mila Blanco-Plandon, a nurse in the Family Planning Division at the Friendly Care Clinic, suggests consulting a professional health care provider.

“The health care provider will help you make an informed choice. The various methods should be presented to you, the pros and cons of each, and factors to consider given your age and other pre-existing conditions, if any,” she says.

As for when you should consult a health care provider, Blanco-Plandon advises, “As soon as a woman becomes sexually active, she should talk about her family planning [or] birth control options.”

For a little basic info about your options, though, check out the slide show below.

Note: “Ranking” refers to the percentage of women who use this method. Measured in the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) as contraception penetration rate. To learn more about this, download and review this PDF document on the prevalence of contraceptives in the Philippines. “Effectiveness” refers to the average success in preventing pregnancy.

Shy about going for a consult with an OB-GYN, or simply looking for help when it comes to picking a good consultant? Check out FN’s articles on this related topic:

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